It was the most exhilarating feeling I've felt in a long time. The last mile of the 100-mile Wonderland Trail, as we had been warned, proved the longest. We were practically running, pressing our blistered feet and tired knees up and down hill, dusty and sweaty backpacks bouncing. It was September 12, 2008. We finally made it back to civilization after 10 days in the wild. It was, by far, the most physically arduous thing I've done in life. We hiked through snow, forest, mud, dessert, meadows; drank the freshest ice-cold water from rivers; slept under the stars; swam in lakes. Life was simple: we went to bed when sun set, wake up at sunrise. Biggest worry of the day included a nice spot to filter water, a flat ground to pitch tent, a bear pole to hang up our food. The first day proved the hardest for me physically, while mentally I was freaked out the last day - Mugg had a fever and almost didn't make it out. Thanks goodness he gathered enough will power to finish the trail. We hugged each other tight at the finish line. The trail has made us true companions.
The best spill-over effect of all, the hike has launched my body into a thirst of activities. Once getting used to hiking an average of 10 miles a day with a 45-lb load, my muscles screamed and itched in New York for something more rigorous than samba dancing classes. Before I knew it, I signed up for a half marathon and started running 4 times a week at 6am. At Mugg's dismay, I soon became a morning person and even sooner discovered my addiction to running. The half marathon is tomorrow in Staten Island, so I really should be going to sleep right about now.
I'm incredibly grateful for this twist of attitude, that I've somehow managed to become athletic which I always aspired but feared to be. I hope to complete the half marathon in 2 hours injury-free (much thanks of course to Yuko my running buddy).
2 more things to note:
1. My samba class is marching in the New York Halloween Parade, accompanied by the live band Samba Manhattan (www.manhattansamba.org). So come check us out on Halloween if you are in New York! The parade will start at 7pm-ish on Spring Street and 6th Avenue. We'll be having weekly rehearsal Thurs night out on the Westside Highway around 8pm - just follow the beat of drums and come join us on some hot samba steps!
2. I'm contemplating signing for a full marathon in Jan or Feb 2009 - leaving 3-4 months for training. Possibly the ING Miami Marathon in late Jan. My dream: to run a marathon on the Great Wall in China one day (http://www.great-wall-marathon.com/) - maybe this May?
I'd like to dedicate this first long run to the Alchemist and what it has taught me:
"If you want something bad enough, the universe conspires to help you";
"You must understand that love never keep a man from pursuing his destiny. If he does, it's because it wasn't true love."