Wednesday, April 4, 2012

International Adventures!

I entered into my Himalaya trek as a naïve person; chasing dreams of greatness, new challenges and heights. I came into this adventure thinking "how hard can this be, I have climbed mountains before. The Colorado 14ers are challenging and this is not that much higher up, I got this in the bag".

I wanted to push myself to my limits. I have climbed mountains before, yes the Colorado 14ers, in the summer time. The only winter experience I came to this trek with was one winter attempt at Yale and some snowshoeing. Since I only had a limited length of time, I was going to get
exactly what I wanted, something new and something challenging.

The first day we spent just hanging out, talking, and relaxing trying to get used to the altitude. The following day we went on out first hike – only one word, incredible. Leh sits at about 12,000ft above sea level so our first hike took us to around 13,000ft. I could not believe I was actually there; I was one of the lucky people I got to live my dreams.

We followed this hike with a series of other acclimating hikes and spent time in various villages along the way. The hospitality and the amazing people I was fortunate enough to have met I will never forget.

One of my favorite villages was the one we stayed at the day before we left for what I call "the big hike". The kids in this village were amazing; they gave me a tour of the village, showing me all the baby animals in the village.

The day of the big hike, we trekked in and stayed overnight in a tent at roughly 16,500ft. The next morning we began the climb at 2am, we finished the hike at 20,000ft around 9am! Climbing in the dark is a challenge but climbing in the dark at altitude in the winter adds an even bigger challenge to the equation.

The mountains are so majestic; the beauty and power they hold is unbelievable. They sit tall and proud, lining the sky at various heights, some blanketed with snow and others showing their bare bones.

The Himalaya adventure was just the first of the two adventures I want to talk about in this post. The next adventure was the Jerusalem marathon I completed:

As I walked to the start of this race, it began to rain slightly. I was nervous as I walked through the cold, I could feel my heart pounding as my stomach began to flutter. By the time I got to the start, it was raining heavily and my excitement began to build. It continued raining off and on for the duration of the race. I would lean down to shield my eyes from the rain as I continued through the course going up and down the hills of the holy land, I was running through history.

About halfway through I felt my energy drop as I ran by Mount Scopus, I turned up my music, grabbed an energy gel and thought I am really doing this, I am running my first full marathon, I was pumped!

I continued running, I past people standing in the rain, cheering as I ran by. Once I got down to having only 5k left I got a burst of excitement, I could not believe I had done it, I really was about to finish an entire 42k. I finish my run cheering and thinking about my friends and family.

Once I reached the last few feet before the finish, I saw my friends waiting along the final stretch cheering for me. Next thing I know they break through the gate and run with me through the finish as I slid into home. I could not have asked for a better first marathon. It began with excitement, continued with joy, and ended with love!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Will there ever be enough rice?

I was out the other night handing out food on the streets and as I am passing food out to the first people that come to along this one strip, I realize I did not have enough for everyone. This was one of the saddest moments I have come across here, in India. I never thought as I set out to do this project that I would encounter such a situation. I should have known I suppose, by the many nights in the auto driving past entire communities living on the streets, lined up neatly in a row along the sidewalk in any given area of town. It was this night that I questioned if there would ever be enough rice to go around. I am only one person, can I even make a difference? I do not have the capacity to possibly feed everyone that is in need. I want to challenge everyone to do a little in their own communities, grab some rice and help feed the hungry in your town, on your streets. I may not be able to take on the world myself, but I help a few people get a meal for one night. I want to challenge everyone to do the same and maybe if we all do just a little, there will be enough rice for everyone.