Thursday, February 28, 2013

Challenge your limits


That is how many hours James' recent run challenge lasted. And no, that is not a typo - Twenty. Four. Hours. of running... Why, you ask?... Why? I ask! Often.

I don't think there is an actual answer, but I will start at the beginning and maybe it can make some kind of sense. Maybe.

In February of 2012 James and I, together, ran a half marathon in Rome. After the tough but fun trek, we were so excited about it that we thought it would be a great idea to run the Rome full marathon three weeks later in March. Well, I ended up training too hard too fast and hurt my foot days before the run, so James stuck it out with me, walking about half of the course. It was miserable! I would have quit without him! Anyway, after that race (and after my recovery) we continued to train at a more normal pace with the intent of marathon revenge. That was my intent anyway. I would say my training was going pretty normal, James, on the other hand would train with Juan, who had a year of running on us, so James was on a little bit of an accelerated program. In May, Juan ran a 100k (that's a little over 62 miles! Yes, people pay to run that distance.), so James went on training runs with him prior to the race (one was a 50k - that's more than a marathon!) and then at the actual 100K race, James ran the equivalent of a marathon with him, just to keep Juan from going insane. Although, I think he was already when he signed up for the race, but I guess that's all perception...
At 60K of the 100K
Anyways, James got better and better, then decided to actually sign up for a race, not just run for fun or as company, so he and Juan signed up for and ran a 50K (32 miles) in June.
Just when you thought they ran enough ultra marathons, they present the idea of a 24 hour race.

Brillant! Why didn't I think of that?

Fast forward to October 6 AND 7... and...  we were off to Fano, ITALY!

I tease James and Juan about running all the time because I kind of think they're crazy. I can't imagine putting myself through that pain and pushing past those walls (mostly mental walls...). I really don't have a desire. But it's actually very inspiring. I look up to them for this. It takes a level of self discipline that I just don't understand. When I don't even think twice before blurting out "no thanks" for myself to participate in a ridiculously long race, James always seems to see the race as a new challenge that he knows he can push himself towards the finish if given the opportunity (or the ok from me). I read a quote that I think sums up the way he sees running - "Don't limit your challenges, challenge your limits."

As much of a sacrifice as it can be (I mean seriously, this 24 hour race fell over a sacred "96" weekend!), I am indescribably proud of James (and Juan, when I'm not hating on him for giving James the running bug, hah!).

But this is about the race, so let's have a look:

Loosening up before the start
Dustin won the bike raffle!

Juan getting pumped!

The only three from our running club who accepted the challenge.

23 hours and 59 minutes to go!

Kiss good luck!

Lookin good!
Juan and Viviana have two kids, so Viviana and I took them out for the day, then returned later that evening. It had been about eight hours in by the time we returned, so the guys took a short break with us.

A few hours later...
Penut butter break.

Well, Yzabelle and I were still feeling good...

Midnight snack
Over night, the wives and kids slept in the car and the men pushed on... the next morning we were right back out there, so excited for the finish and happy the guys were still standing!


I think they were a little happy it was over...

Slightly impressive final distances:

James:100K, Juan: 127.198 K.
...completely kidding. Those distances are beyond impressive!!! 

With Angela, who we see at so many races in Italy!

Free massages for the runners! Well deserved!
Lots of post run Coca Cola. Also well deserved!
My high class Coca Cola drinker.

Coca Cola Crash.
The days before the race we spent exploring Fano and the nearby country San Marino (another country but located with in Italy). I have no idea where those pics are- it was a really cute area! But, the weekend was really about the run and our Men - who, by the way, were surprisingly normal (after a nap) after the race. No awkward or slow walking or super tight sleeping. The body is an amazing thing... As is James!

As of this race, James has ran more Ultra marathons than marathons! 
That's hard to even grasp sometimes!

Well, that's all for this "96!"

Wish you were here!

Weekend Getaway

I was getting antsy and in need of a getaway, so we planned a quick weekend trip with the Rivera's, and we were off to Umbria!

Umbria is a region much like Tuscany (in my opinion) with all its hill towns and we heard great things, so we thought, why not make a weekend trip out of it.

The first stop in our two night Umbria adventure was Orvieto!

It was about a five hour drive from where we live, it's a city on top of a hill, and it's known for it's cathedral, Classico wine and ceramics.
Long hallways under the city - working our way to the top!
Cool Armour...

Enjoying the views around the wall

Really cool well

There was one way down and another way up, so once you started you had to go all the way down and then work your way back up, there was no changing your mind once you got started....

Bridge on the bottom.

Orvieto Duomo
I am often impressed by the fancy cathedrals, and this one did not disappoint! My favorite thing about the buildings is all the detail when they show the Bible stories. This wall is possibly one of my favorite pieces of all the cathedrals I have seen (and I've seen more than my share!).
It is a bunch of stories from the Old Testament.

God borrowing a rib from Adam
Eve sharing the forbidden fruit.

Cain killing Abel
Love it!

That was all for the cute little city of Orvieto. The next day we went to the nearby city of Civita (Di Bagnoreggio). Previously there was only a Donkey Bridge that crossed from the neighboring city to this one, but it was bombed in WWII and replaced in 1966 by a foot bridge. The bridge is the only way in and out of the city.
Admiring the city from afar.

About to cross the bridge.

This city had a ridiculous amount of cats!
Here we are in front of the wall to the old Palace. This is all that remains - just a wall. Over time the outsides of the city (including the palace) have fallen off and into the valley.
After the 1695 earthquake most of the residence of the city started moving out because they worried their homes (and entire city) would eventually fall into the valley. Within the past decade, all of the remaining property owners moved out, but apparently the younger generations are trying to revitalize the city.

Fun, quick, cheap weekend getaway. No complaints from this girl!

As always...

Wish you were here!