Sunday, September 6, 2009

We Have a Dream

Over one hundred kilometers of road. Six runners. Running from sun up to sundown. Through rainforest and along sandy beaches. Traversing potholes and jagged rocks. Evading vicious village dogs and other assorted equally vicious animals ( heck have you checked out a Samoan pig lately?!) Assailing the imposing Le Mafa Pass. Negotiating winding deserted roads and then dodging maniacal Samoan drivers on the crowded coastal road from Saoluafata to town. Through sun, rain, gnats, mozzies,dust - not to mention jeering onlookers eager to witness your suffering.... Are you interested?!

In two weeks I will be one of a team of six women who will take on the Samoa Perimeter Relay that starts from Sinalei Resort, follows the coast past Aleipata, over the inland mountain range and then to the coast again from Piula to Apia with a grand finale finish line in front of the government building. Each runner will run four legs of the course. Each leg is about 5k ( three miles or twelve laps of the track.) A van will transport the team, following the runner until the passing of the baton. There are 12 teams doing the relay altogether. Teams have a staggered start depending on how long you estimate it will take your team to complete the event. Our team wil begin the relay at 3am because it will take us approx 13 hours to complete. If all goes according to plan ( and prayers and hopes and wishful thinking) we will roll into town at 5pm.

We've called ourseves the Dream Team...because we're a bunch of dreamers ( who are obviously slightly unhinged) rather than a team of elite runners. All of us are mothers with a combined total of twenty six children among us and several grandchidren. The oldest Dream Teamer is in her fifties, the youngest is 30. One of us is still 'providing nourishment' to an infant...her husband has been drafted to follow behind the team van with the aforementioned infant so she can be fed regularly during the 13 hour trek. Only one of us can be called an 'athlete' - she won gold at the recent South Pacific Games for Archery. The rest of us are newcomers to running ( or staggering depending on the duration of a training session!) Kristen is the powerhouse of the team. She runs her own preschool - so you know she's loaded with energy and positivity - and we're relying on her to drive us to the finish with sheer will power! Unfortunately, shes also slightly injured, struggling with a bad case of plantar fascitis. However, shes promised to take all manner of illicit drugs to make sure she can handle the journey. ( tons of diet coke will be consumed i assume) She does make the best brownies so we're counting on those to also power us to the end.

Pualele is the Fast and the Furious. Just call her Usane Bolt. She can run like the wind...forever, clocking a 26 minute 5k on a good day. Unlike the rest of us, she can only train once a week and still run circles around us...and around us...and around us. We are confident that should any of us get injured on the day, Pualele can take over and run EVERYBODYS leg ( and then we'd prob clock a team time twice as fast)

Manu is the Mega Mother of the team. Baby has her up at 3am? No problem. Manu's still there at a 5am training session. Shes strong and determined - one of the most comitted to daily training. Shes cut a wicked five minutes off her time since we started preparations several months ago.

Pat has several years of experience over the rest of us - giving her that edge on the running track. She can take on no less than TWO consecutive 5ks every morning, running with a golf stick to deter dogs. Shes been visiting her grandchildren in the USA over the last 3 weeks - so she's been getting in some awesome 'high altitude' training.

Runner number five is still undecided between two equally amazing women...Leaving me at runner number six. Im the slowest. And the un-fittest. ( is there such a word) Which makes me the craziest OR the most courageous of the team ( depending on your perspective lol) I am not and never have been, a runner in any size, shape or form. Eight months ago, i couldnt power walk five minutes without hyper ventilating. But now i can shuffle-run five miles without stopping. I have my ipod ready with all the motivating sounds i need. I have sexy adidas running shorts and several bold red team uniform shirts ( thereby guaranteeing that at least I'll look good while im dying out there) Ive stolen darrens adidas running sunglasses - perfect for the sun, wind and gnats problem. The Fabulous Five continue to encourage me in my daily training efforts..."Mum, if you eat any more of those cinnamon rolls you'll throw up when you go running today - dont u think thats enough?" and "Dont worry mum, we'll come to the finish line to cheer for you - even if its after midnight - we'll be there." What more could i ask for?!

So ...come what may, the Dream Team is ready for the experience of a lifetime.

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