Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fuego Y Agua- preparing (not) for the adventure of a lifetime (part 1 of a couple)

“love the life you live.
live the life you love.”
― Bob Marley
When I signed up for the 2013 Fuego Y Agua Survival Run I had no expectations. No expectations of the event or what the race organizer, Josue Stephens would throw at us. No expectations of how I would fare in the February heat in Central America. No expectations of myself. I had never attempted to train for a race in what I would consider the "off season" and had no clue how to go about preparing for such an event in the subzero temperatures of Maine. Regardless of what any common sense would tell me, the allure of being part of the first annual Fuego Y Agua Survival jungle run was too much to walk away from. After only two conversations, my training partner Lani and I decided we couldn't turn down the opportunity to be a part of what would prove to be the adventure of a lifetime.

Our adventure began about 7 weeks before the start of this event. Normally, I train for about 12 weeks to prepare for a big competition. For the World's Toughest Mudder in 2011, Lani and I dedicated nearly 16 weeks to training. With only 7 weeks to go, we hoped that relying on base fitness would substitute real training in many regards. Further derailed by a nasty flu that Lani picked up and chronic plantar fasciitis in my right foot, our efforts to get out for long training runs were relatively abysmal. We resolved to mostly strength training in an effort to prevent further injury to my foot, including some pretty grueling sauna double sessions to prepare for the heat. Normally, an utter lack of preparation like this would unnerve me. I suppose to some extent, it did. I hate thinking there is a chance I could fail to give it my best. But this time it didn't matter. The prospect of traveling to an exotic place to join a group of amazing, talented, crazy and fun people into the unknown kept our spirits high and our sense of adventure alive.

Before we knew it, bags were packed, families were kissed goodbye, and Lani and I boarded our flight to Nicaragua to see what Josue had in store for us. But before any race surprises, we decided to check out the island that would host our international adventure- Ometepe. 

Tourists? How better to explore the island than by scooter?
A little prerace coconut and R & R at Ojo De Aqua

Lani making friends while their brother fixes the chain I broke on my rental bicycle...

After 2 days of visiting the island and meeting new friends, we headed down to the docks to pick up our packets. Turns out, the packets were on a small rowboat maybe 1/4 mile off shore. We were told to get our packets we needed to swim out and grab our bibs and return within 20 minutes. Unprepared for this, Lani and I stripped down to our skivvies and headed out into the shark infested unknown. And so our great adventure began...

Of course I am unprepared and already in my bra and underwear in the first 30 seconds of the survival run (right at the back of the group and forgetting to take off my little brown hat, naturally).
3:30 am on Saturday, ready to rock and roll...

Enjoying scones and coffee, oblivious to the chicken traveling companions we are about to receive to start the Fuego Y Agua Survival race....


  1. Nice blog! I look forward to reading more about your adventure. Thanks for posting the link on FB!

  2. Great blog, Shelley. I want to hear more about the chickens. Mom