One woman. Running over 104km of scorching road…over jagged mountains and through expansive rainforest…can she endure? Can she summon the strength and will to battle onward? (cue kickbutt powerful theme music here)
Can you see it? Can you hear it? Wouldn’t it be awesome?!
Last weekend, I went to support a friend of ours as he dared the impossible and ran 104km from one side of the main island in Samoa, to the other. Usually, the Samoa Perimeter Relay involves a team effort of six runners who pass a baton and take turns to traverse the full distance, each running 5k, four times. I’ve done the relay twice in my life and each time, as I have hobbled and staggered up Le Mafa Pass and been chased by rabid dogs, I have cursed the idiot who organized our team and conned five other women into thinking, “Wouldn’t this be soooo much fun?!” (That idiots name is Lani. Stupid woman…)
So I know how loooong that distance can be and how hot the Samoan sun can get when you’ve been on the road for far too long. Which is why I was in awe of Aunese Cureen (Setefano Mika) as he ran the entire distance solo. It took him 14 hours. At the finish line, he was greeted by 60+ year old Mark Moors who had succeeded in doing the same feat a year previously. It was an awe-inspiring sight to see these two warriors together.
Which got me thinking…WOULDNT IT BE SOOOO COOL IF A SAMOAN WOMAN DID THE 104KM SOLO? Like, super so cool? And like…(you just know where I’m going with this, don’t you?!)
Wouldn’t it be extra super so cool if that woman was ME? And heck, maybe I could even con persuade some fabulous woman warriors to do the entire distance with me? And it could be this this amazingly fabulous Woman Warrior thang?
I’m not stupid though, I didn’t think I would RUN the whole thing. No, I was much more sensible and imagined I would WALK the whole thing. Based on my estimations, it would take me a hairs-breadth under 24 hours to do it. I would walk from sun-down to the next day’s sun-down. What a glorious adventure it would be!
It was an exhilarating vision. I could hear the thundering theme music playing to a crescendo. (Maybe Chariots of Fire? Or the Star Wars theme song?) I could see me nobly traversing the isolated road…all trim and toned with rippling sweaty musculature ( because of course, I would train heaps beforehand and transform into this stunning athletic vision of fitness) I would listen to audio books on my iPod as I power walked…nothing trashy like paranormal romance set in Samoa, heck no. I would intone recitals of Shakespearean rhapsody. And Homer’s Illiad. In Latin. (Or Greek. Whatever the damn Iliad is written in.) When I reached the highest point of Le Mafa Pass, I would pause to survey the vista of wild beauty before me, I would be at one with nature. And the universe. And the stars. I am the road, the air, the earth…and the earth is me.
Oh yes, it was a stirring, awe-inspiring vision indeed.
And then I told my family.
The Hot Man loved me enough to make encouraging noises. “Ummm…anything is possible. Umm…I’m sure if you train hard enough, you can do it.”
But Big Son said, “Are you crazy? You’re going to die.”
And Big Daughter said, “But mum, you don’t even walk to the grocery store up the road, how are you supposed to walk for 104km?”
Then the Hot Man changed his tune. He called on his vast athlete experience to suggest that I try for ‘something less impossible…something more in your reach.”
“Do a 5k fun-run,” they said.
“But I don’t want to do itsy-bitsy things that every body does!” I whined. “I want to do the IMPOSSIBLE. With the Star Wars soundtrack. A pathetic little 5k is only worthy of a Wiggles song.”
The family didn’t share my resounding vision of earth-shattering achievement. No, they just kept going, killing my dreams. Ripping them to shreds. “You sit at your desk allll day and only walk to the fridge for food. You cant just up and decide you want to run 104km. Or even walk 104km…You’re going to collapse and die out there. We’re not going to support this. You’re our mum and we don’t want you to DIE on the road in a sweaty, convulsing heap…That’s the stupidest thing we’ve ever heard, it’s like a person who’s never even climbed 30min hike to RLS grave before, but you want to start your climbing career by going up Mt Everest. So stupid!!!”
It didn’t matter that I was being sensible and only wanted to WALK 104km. It didn’t matter that I have one year to prepare. Or that I was going to find some other brave, Star Wars theme music warrior women to do it with me. Nope. My children remained unconvinced.
I can’t believe I gave these people LIFE and here they are stabbing and killing my dreams like this…
Horrible hateful dream-killer children.
So this is me – reporting that I will NOT be attempting to do the 104km next year. No. I am now going to walk to the fridge and get me some chocolate pudding to drown my sorrows in.