Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kope Keine Means Fast Girls

Kope Keine Means Fast Girls

My knee hurts when you put pressure on it from where I chipped my bone, and Thursday night to Friday, I was sick as a dog. I was trying to show my parents the beauty of Upolu, but during most of our drive I had my head out the window being sick, while my parents were amazing with being patient with me, and keeping me well hydrated.
We hurried back to Apia, faster than originally planned, because I wanted to see the PCMO medical officer to get medicine to get this bug out of me. I told her my symptoms, and my intentions for the next day, and the recommendation was not to run. The thought of all of my months in preparation for this day being a waste seemed ridiculous and unheard of. She thankfully put me on different antibiotics than planned, since there was a possibility of me running.
I saw my team that evening, “We need you,” they told me. That added to the fuel. I was going to run whether my body liked it or not. I rested for a bit, then met our team for our sleepover/team dinner.
The US Embassy’s office is amazing, because not only did they sponsor the event, they played a huge part in making sure both Peace Corps teams were healthy and as prepared as possible. A big part of why our team would be mentally prepared is the country’s wonderful Charges ‘de Affairs. She offered the girls team so much, with her car, and her willingness to drive us the entire day. And, to make her an even more amazing person, she offered to host us for the evening, to make sure we had a proper runners meal, and a good night’s rest. My body needed some fuel for the following day, and thankfully my body was able to hold down the amazing pasta dinner we shared.
After dinner, we all tried to go to sleep early, but our nerves were present to make it difficult for us, and before we knew it, it was 2:30 and time to wake up. We put our race clothes on, a team shirt that a few people took the time to paint and make us look like a proper team, and I added my I’e since that is the only way I know to run island style through villages. (It was my one with fast colors from the 10k race in May. We added ice to the coolers. The Charges ‘de Affairs had provided us with sandwiches, cookies, chips, fruit, water, a power sports drink, and much more to make sure we were truly ready. We loaded the car, and we were off on our adventure of a lifetime, knowing that this challenge was going to be bigger than we realized.
Our team name is Kope Keine. At the awards celebration later that day they mentioned that kope keine means fast girls. It is really bad because I was a part of this relay experience and I always thought that the word kope means hurry up, and keine, or teine means girls. I feel bad being a part of this team and not knowing that our team name means two different things. We were hoping we wouldn’t have to shout out, kope, meaning hurry up, to our team, and we would do amazing. But we will still unsure of our abilities, and that is how we got our name.
We drove across the island to the start of the race. The Australian volunteers team was getting ready to start their journey. We wished them all luck, especially the few on the team that we knew, and their kickoff member, Aussie Andrew, got them started off properly.
We went to the bathroom, not sure when the next church with an open bathroom would be.
Before we knew it, it was our start time. Kaelin lit up our baton/glowstick, put on her reflective vest, and off she went.
Kaelin started off so fast, it was truly impressive. I think it gave us the boost we needed for the day, because next in the line up was Dana and I could not believe how fast her legs went.
While Dana was running, we headed to Erin’s village where we took our first of many bathroom breaks. We didn’t have time to relax because before we knew it Dana was back, and Erin was off.
I began to get my first sign of nerves knowing I was next. My first run was 4.3 km, and it said it was going to have some hills. They were right when they said that., but less than half an hour later, I was a quarter of the way done with my portion of the race. Rachel followed me, with Corina being our closer.
The race was long, and after a few hours we began to catch up to some teams, which really excited us. About an hour later, teams began to catch us, but we didn’t let it bother us. We were having a blast.
Along the way, we had a few falavelaves. For starters, the markers on the road were not written well and we had trouble seeing them. So much trouble that in one spot, we accidently made Corina run extra because we could not find the spot. She did it like a champ. It was amazing.
Later on we had our next problem, Rachel’s knee began giving her problems. In between runs we made sure there was plenty of ice on her knee and it was kept elevated at all times. By the time it was her last run, it completely gave out, and thankfully the rest of our team stepped in to help her finish her run.
As for my runs, the first one was hilly, but fine (They called it variable.). The second was mostly flat and was the easiest of my day. My third was the one everyone was nervous about. It had a hill that went straight up for a long time. I knew this was the hill that Erin had run the previous year and was the reason why her team did so well. I did not want to let my team down, and I ran my heart out for the hill. My teammates saw the hill, and were worried about me. They wanted to make sure that I was feeling okay and tried to meet me at the top to provide me with water, since it was already really hot for the morning. But I surprised them. By the time that they reached me, I only had a short run down. My last run, was another “variable” and the heat made it unbearable. I tried running, but had to do a few short walks to give my body time for rest. I kept jockyig for position with a female on one of the others girls’ teams. I didn’t let it bother me if I were to be passed, because I knew we started the race well after her, and were still beating her team on time. I was so thrilled when I finally saw the church to show that my part was ending.
To be continued…

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