Monday, March 27, 2006

Great Success Story!

The World Championship 24 Hour race ? Taiwan   Here is my account of the hardest race I have ever run!  It all started on the eve of Monday the 20th of February.  My husband, Ben and I boarded the plane for the long haul to Taipei, Taiwan. After over 24 hours in and out of airports and flying we were so glad to be landing!  I don?t mind flying but staying in a confined area for so long is tough for me. It is Wednesday morning and we are welcomed by the 85 degree weather ? we had just left below 30 degree weather, cold/snowy so this was a big change.  One that would come to haunt me in the upcoming race!
We checked into our hotel, took a walk and then went on a sight seeing tour that afternoon/evening.  We did not want to sleep because we wanted to make sure we slept that night!  On Thursday we went to see the course and we rested most of the afternoon.  I think the 13-hour time difference finally hit us ? we were exhausted!  On Friday, met up with some of my teammates and one of my dearest friends, Sue Olsen.  We (the whole team) met at the city government building.  We had the introduction of the teams and we went on the bus to the course.  On the way over to the racecourse our bus was in an accident ? no one hurt but it was time consuming. We went back to our hotel, had dinner and went to sleep.  For Ben and I, the last night in a bed until we got home Monday. Home for us is in Virginia.   The big day had finally arrived!  Race day ? for me it was going to be the fourth time I went to the world championship starting line. It is such a wonderful feeling in the heart to be representing the USA and I thought this race was going to be no different and boy was I wrong!  I was going into this race probably in the best fitness shape I had even been and was excited again about the challenge and wanting to place in the top 10 again.  I talked with Lisa before and she as always gave me great advice!  Run your race do your best and the race will take care of itself.  So, the gun went off and I settled in for the next 24 hours and ready to set the world on fire or so I thought!  Ben has everything ready each and every lap ? he never misses a beat!  He is my lifeline and I say we are a team ?without him at my races I would not be where I am today! The course was just a little over a half-mile loop and mostly all concrete and some marble.  It had 9 right angle turns and had a hill.  To me the hill became a mountain at about hour 20. So needless to say this was tough course  - but we all faced the same challenge.  The weather was hot/humid and the last 12 hours it rained not the best conditions.  The first hour or so I ran fine or so I thought ? then I noticed that I was sweating a lot more than usual. I just thought that was due to the fact that I was not acclimated to the weather but I know that was not the only reason.  Over the next few hours I started swelling (hands) and I knew something was not like all my other races.  I could not even pee and that really bothered me.  I told Ben to talk with Dr. Andy, US team doctor.  He advised me what to do and gave me a pill to take and monitored me the next several hours.  Around hour 10-11 I went to the bathroom.  RELIEF!!!!! Things started to improve and I felt better so back to my race!! Throughout all of this I passed Pam Reed a few times and she was running at a good pace.  She went out really fast and I knew that I could not go that fast  - I had to run my own race and that is what I did! After a while I came up beside Pam and she was in trouble.  She said she had wanted to stop but I know having run with Pam, that  she was not a quitter!  So, I said just keep running and we could help each other as we had a lot of time left!  So, Pam and I ran together the rest of the race. We shared many stories about our lives, family and running ventures.  We really helped each other in tough times.  I kept Pam going and she made me believe in myself more than I could ever know! We sure had our ups and downs but we made the 24 hours! Another race finished and we were ready to sit down and just let our minds rest that this race was over!  For me, I struggled more than I have ever struggled and now I know that I have to be realistic about what can happen to my body and me.  I just know that I also found our what the real meaning of teamwork meant!  That is why we go as a team!  Some may say why didn?t you just go on and run your own race but that was not supposed to be the case this race.  Lisa and I had talked before I left and we knew what I needed to do and overcome.  I just remember her telling me you can do it ? be strong!  I did that and I found out that I have a whole lot more in my heart/soul than I ever thought I could ever have.  So, as this race fades into the past I can only look into the future and know that I have a lot more to give and achieve.  Together, Lisa and I will work and more success will come. Even being half way around the world, all of my family, friends and Lisa were praying for me and God certainly answered their prays! I returned home winner in so many ways!  Love to all who read this and know you to can find something inside yourself you never thought possible when it comes down to it!  I did and am so grateful!
God Bless, Sandy Powell
Happy Feet!
Lisa Smith-Batchen

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