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RacingThePlanet: Sri Lanka 2016 Blogs

Parting Words via my speech at the awards banquet
25-Feb-2016 01:54:44 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

As a finale post for the journey in Sri Lanka, I leave you with my speech at the awards banquet. I will move all of these blogs over to my website so that as the year goes along folks can follow the entire journey of all 5 deserts in one place. Please enjoy the journey by following on my instagram and Facebook pages as well. And lastly, please take a moment to visit my fundraising page on the Lymelight foundation. We will be raising funds the entire year. I cannot wait to help a child/ young adult with the medical grant they need to heal from Lyme and provide the ability for him/her to get back outdoors. Cheers and be well!

So my husband said something to me in a note for day two:

"A river cuts through rock, not because of its, power but because of its preservearance." I would have to say, all of us flowed like a river this past week. Whatever the outcome was, we pushed through.
These past 7 days have tested every part of our physical and mental beings. We have had to dig deeper into our levels of strength, tenacity, determination, and mental grit than any of us ever knew was possible.
A race like this allows us to approach life struggles and skip the panic and sort to the solutions. A great life lesson to acquire.

It teaches us to bond to another human without judgement and allow our full self to come forth.

It also teaches you that the impossible, is in fact possible. For me, as soon as day one, stage one, in race one as I had already experienced equipment failure, a fall tweaking my knee and was lying down on the trail vomiting I experienced a moment of fear of success to complete the grand slam plus. Mind over matter and I was back on my feet finishing the stage as second female.

What we experience with our team mates here at camp is often more intimate than experiences we might have with our best friends at home.

To Sandy, thank you for your comradely. To Carlos, thank you for lifting me up when I began to fall yesterday. To Ralph, thanks for getting me through the home stretch. To the medical staff, thank you for your countless efforts through my bodies struggles to keep up. To Mary and the entire RTP staff thank you for creating an event for us to experience the ultimate level of human strength and tenacity. To the volunteers, thank you for your countless efforts supporting us. To Olivia and many other individuals thank you for your love, compassion and support. To the entire Sri Lankan community, thank you for the escorts, special excursions and beyond. And to my husband, friends, family, sponsors, thank you for overwhelming support from afar.

And lastly to tent Kandy, I love you all! Thank you for your friendship, love and support. We are a tight family and I cannot wait to cross paths many times in our future adventures.

Please take a moment in the next few days to visit the Lymelight foundation that gives medical grants to children and young adults suffering from Lyme.

I leave you with a quote my husband gave me to take along with me for the challenge to become the first female ever to complete the grand slam plus: "Courage and preserverance are a magical wand, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into thin air."

To all of you I wish you the best on whatever journey is next for you. God bless and namaste."
 

Stage 7 and the journey back home
24-Feb-2016 01:29:18 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Hey there folks!

After 61 hours of travel back from Sri Lanka I am stoked to settle my thoughts for a finale post on the epic journey at Sri Lanka. It is a wonderful moment when you find yourself sitting back in your office chair at home at 2am, jetlagged, and you turn on your computer and wonder if that all just really happened or was it a big dream. But then you dip into your social media pages and see the overwhelming support that took place while you were away, peek at event photos from the website, see donations that occurred during the journey for the Lymelight foundation and realize it was not a dream.

My body really went through an epic feat through the jungle, heat, humidity and terrain of Sri Lanka. Those epic moments of highs and lows really happened and all of the love and support from new and old friends out on the course helped carry you through to the finish line.

The last 1.5k for myself and my tent mates was enjoyed in a team walk/jog to the finish. Joining together as a "tent family" we crossed the finish line to what has become a beautiful week as friends and a group of 8 that looked out for each other.

When you reflect back on another 7 days moving your body through rough, rugged, terrain, with everything on your back, you find yourself moving back to the "real world" with a different perspective. Something as little as a "real" toilet vs a hole in the ground with a tarp around it becomes an extreme luxury. It also makes you realize how little you really need to survive and to be content and happy in life. Thus, it also gives you a perspective on consumerism and sheds light to how much one really needs to buy to survive. Lastly, it gives you a perspective of how important and unique your friendships are with your friends and family that have been in your life at various times and new ones made along the running journey. You build a deep appreciation for your relationships near and far.

Looking back at the journey in Sri Lanka it was a huge success for the first step in 5 races this year to become the first female ever to complete the grand slam plus in honor of the Lymelight Foundation and all while scoring 2nd female overall and 9th overall when presented this time with a vast amount of adversity during my journey. It was awesome to hear stories along the way from competitors that have been affected by Lyme in one way of another and sharing how the foundation can help. Reflecting on the last 7 days is one that is a tall tale of stories that include many highs and many lows. The journey becoming one where you almost forget how often you thought on the fly to problem solve to revert your focus to a positive effort to succeed. As if you did not do so, you would fail.

There are many moments along the way that make one realize how large of a feat the Grand Slam Plus really is. It is a meticulous dance with your mind, body and spirit to have your body stay in 100% shape, injury free, strong and healthy for each race over the 10 months. Then within each race it is a process to ensure that each day you push only so hard as to make sure that you can get through the next stages in that race and the next stages all year long. It is a total of 35 race days that need to end across the finish line each time. And of course, I hope to land on the podium each time as icing on the cake. There will be highs and there will be lows as it is naturally expected to be. As those highs and lows come, it is a process to be strong and mighty and ensure that you are successful. Large measures can take place that can remove you from the game such as a big injury or fall, or your body giving up in the climate or terrain. And then the small and unexpected items can happen such as a dog bite, falling in a bathroom hole (sorry that is gross but it was a constant fear out there), eating something bad, a random accident at camp and the list goes on. Furthermore, between races it is additionally a dance to ensure your body stays strong, training is met to stay fit and fast and your mind stays in it.

And most importantly through the whole journey there is the passion and desire to inspire others to get outside and explore as a means to prevent disease and to share my passion to create awareness and raise funds for the Lyme community.

I will leave you with a quote that Nate wrote to me at Zeal Optics while on the course, "There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it." Hold fast and Explore More!

Go get ‘em folks! And enjoy the journey.

Stage 6 – to the beach in Yala!
19-Feb-2016 09:37:07 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Hey there,

 

We are sitting in the cyber tent enjoying a beach breeze at our tents are pitched right next to the ocean. Today was long, humid, hot and undulating but we made it through with success. I am happy to finish the final stage as first female today. It was the icing on the cake to handling so much adversity and making one last push. Just thinking about the adversity on this race and pushing through just makes a tear drop down my face. The last 1.5 miles were very hard and hot and it has been tough running alone most of the week. I dug deep and decided to think of someone special in my life every tenth of a mile. 15 special people thinking of our relationship and how much I love and appreciate him or her. One was for my grandma Rose too who I felt was with me today. During this time I also ran past a huge Buddha statue around 20 feet high. It was magical.

 

After the clock stopped today at 30k, we continued in groups of 8-10 through the national park for another 13.5 miles. They allowed a special circumstance for us to have an escorted walk/run through the park. I hoped to see an elephant but we didn’t end up seeing anything. Our group was the top 8 of the day and we pressed on the brakes and enjoyed the time. Not to say that moments were very hot, and had struggle but we pushed through and around 2:45pm we finished 52.4k for the day and were greeted by the beach. I am grateful for Ralph that kept m company to the end. Yay!

 

It’s all I  the bag now. Tomorrow our tent decided to run the last 4k as a group to the finish line. We are stoked. Family run. And from there food and celebration and a stinky 5 hour bus ride back to Kandy to a shower!! Yay! We will celebrate tomorrow evening at the banquet together.

 

My ankle is in one piece. Swollen but all good. I am not sure how I just blocked it out and carried on. Last night I could not take the compression bandage anymore and cut it off. Today it survived just fine but there is another blister and more heat rash. Ack! The day started at 99% humidity and not sure how hot it got but it was hot and sunny.

 

So now we sit back as the beach breeze blows and congratulate each other on finishing a seriously epic feat this week. It has been a very hard race and my heart and thoughts go to any that had to drop out.

 

To the finish line tomorrow!

 

With love and light

Jax

Stage 5 -2
18-Feb-2016 01:58:01 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Howwwwwwdy,

Just like that stage 5 is in the books. We have arrived at the town of Yala and everyone is looking forward to the last 55k tomorrow that will take us to the beach at the Indian ocean. We cannot wait. So excited.

Today was smooth sailing with stage 3 being a bit hot. Other than that it rained a ton which was very refreshing. We travelled over a hanging bridge which was cool. The scenery is so beautiful and the terrain is so plush.  I decided to cut a hole in my shoes today due to my foot swelling from my ankle and a gnarly blister underneath from being squished. Worked like a charm. There are so many moments out here where you must problem solve in a snap to stay successful. It is a good life lesson when the issue arses to skip the panic and just go into solution mode.

I am stoked to keep solidifying my position as 2nd lady as well. Not too shabby off of ski training and minimal running.

Our night was very long with non-stop rain at our camp site. It makes things like even going to the bathroom a wet struggle and everyone started today wearing wet clothes but with a smile. It all just adds to the experience to make you tough. Our tent banded together like family to get through. Our tent rocks.

We are having slight moments of rain here at our new camp but mostly sunshine and everything is drying. It is a good reminder that everything shall pass.

Until tomorrow, at the beach!!

Stage 5 -1
18-Feb-2016 01:54:06 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

I just want to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone for the emails and blog comments. I appreciate you all so much. I cannot even begin to let you know how much it means to me.

With love and light,

Jax

Stage 4 – peace and presence
17-Feb-2016 03:26:40 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Today was a day full of peace. The course meandered through sugar cane fields, a dirt path with butterflies, a stream crossing to my waist and passing through small villages and ending at camp with a short walk to two gorgeous Buddha statues. Today I took a lot of time as I ran alone thinking about appreciating the terrain, people, animals, and my body pushing through each mile. I ran with solitude and peace.

My ankle held up well. Tender but the compression bandage plus cep compression sock did the trick. I took it slow and easy today to be good to myself and knowing it would be very hot and humid again and it was 28.89 miles. I finished 2nd again today which I am totally happy with. With 5 races this year I knew coming in mid ski season that I would in a sense be racing into shape. Jackson Wyoming literally is full of snow and ice.

I do want to share a bit about the lymelight foundation who I am running in honour of. Their mission is to provide medical grants to children and young adults so that they can heal from Lyme disease. It is the fastest growing disease and insurance companies do not provide aid. My mission is to try to raise funds to be able to give grants on behalf of them to help them heal so they can get back outside to explore. Please join me in this effort at my donation link in my first blog post here. We created fun ways to donate per km run or any amount.

That’s it for now. Time to rest, eat and elevate.

Cheers
Jax

Stage 3
16-Feb-2016 01:56:53 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Holy moly folks, today was a day of adversity and mental muscle but I prevailed.

We had two segments today in the jungle. The first was moody and epic being on watch to not run into an elephant. Epic eh! The next jungle phase was more terrain that was beyond technical. Unfortunately it served up a rolled ankle and my day went from leading lady to perseverance. I was able to trot in to the finish with a minor sprain. We will tape it tonight and it should be good to go and just a bit sore.

I also struggled a bit with the humidity. Coming from a climate of teens and twenties t 6.5k feet and ice and snow on the ground my adjustment has been hit or miss. Today involved getting a bit dizzy and very hungry. I ate into rations coming up but still can adjust around to be fine.

It is a science sometimes out here. Run, eat, take care of your body, stretch, recover, eat, sleep.

Speaking of sleeping, last night our 10x10 tent flew away in the wind. It was an epic 2am moment. We ended up enjoying the night under the stars. It was magical really in the end.

Well as lance said in his message to me today, love your body and appreciate it. Feel appreciative for what it can do and the places it can take you. Today was a perfect example as we exited the jungle into a massive wall with Buddha carvings.

Time to eat freeze dried mac and cheese, tape my ankle and hang with my tent mates. We are one big family out here. Looking out for each other.

Cheers,
Jax

River perseveres – stage 2
15-Feb-2016 02:52:48 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Day two was Great! I ended up 1st female today and 4th overall. This will move me to 2nd overall and making up half the time on the leader. Strong ladies out here which is epic. The stomach bug is gone! Phew! That aside, I attest today mostly to my husband lance. Today’s note from him was the following…

“A river cut through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence. Be water today baby! Flow around obstacles without effort. Be mindful and positive when confronting challenge. Negativity is wasteful. When you meet and object that you can’t flow around…you will be strong like the water and ware it down. You are powerful. You cannot be stopped. Move swiftly today sweetie. Move with purpose. Loki and I wait for you and cheer you on!”

Everything was smooth, steady, and nutrition and hydration was perfect. Quads will be sore from the down but it’s all good.

The course today was a lot of down and also up ending down at camp. Passing through villages and we saw an epic waterfall.

Need to keep this short to share cyber tent time.

With love and light,

Jax

 

Stage 1 - 2
14-Feb-2016 02:03:43 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Hey folks

Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope it was full of love and light! LOVE you LANCE!

Gonna cut to the chase here. Today was rough. Every last bit. Not going to sugar coat it. The day began quickly arriving in a jungle. It was Legit. Radical stuff. Loose footing, trees and roots to climb over, and many omg moments. To shed lightly the staff loosely cut a path out in the jungle for the race.

Once out, we traversed through tea plantations, and then a slew of us went the wrong way for 3k. This lead to a turn around and running into other team mates. Placed lightly this lead to a drop from female leader to 2nd. The next portion was to hike up a rocky path and all of the sudden my energy took a plummet. A bonk of some sorts occurred with nausea and I could barely move. I kept trying followed by long moments of breathing and feeling fainty. Moments later I had to run in a bush for a bathroom moment (not the good kind). Moments later I met the medics and I kept having to stop and sit down. All of this in the first 12k. ugh! From equipment malfunctions, getting dizzy and sick and then resting I struggled to mentally turn my situation around.

At the checkpoint I had a Zofran, got fuel and then slowly treaded to checkpoint 2. Another Zofran later at checkpoint 2 and the only item I could imagine consuming was nuts. This section was back in the jungle. It was as epic as the first time. Unimaginable terrain and many low moments seeking strength and tenacity.

Checkpoint 3-4 was the best of the worst. Dizzy but moving faster up a hill for 5k then down for 2.5 to camp. I wanted so badly to get to camp to the reset button. Eat, rest, hydrate and stretch.

So 3 litres later and 3 hours later I finally may be on the upswing folks. So we gain strength back, and my positivity ad sense of humour re-collect and push on.

Unsure if it was the heat and humidity plus the altitude resting  around 1,780 meters or eating something bad. Poaitive thinking it is the turning point eh!

On a fun note, I luckily did not have any leeches stick to me and although my feet were on fire for half of the day I did not get a blister…phew!

Hoping for a turn of events tomorrow and I can make up lost time. Time for a big serving of freeze dried mac and cheese.

As always, please take a moment to check out the LymeLight foundation. A donation link is in my post yesterday.

With love and light,

JAX

DAY 0
13-Feb-2016 05:45:03 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

It is here folks, day 0! Tomorrow will be the start of the Grand Slam Plus journey in honor of the LymeLight Foundation. To see my fundraising page click here.

After 38 hours of travel I arrived at the host hotel (Mahaaweli Reach Hotel) last night around 10:30pm. That shower never felt so good. So did this morning's knowing that I will not have another one for a full week.

Athelte check in went eazy breezy and we are packing up to head out for a 4 hour drive to base camp. I have chocolate, honey stinger, freeze dried spaghetti and meatballs and drip drop.

The training leading up to the race has gone like a charm. Many more pack runs this time to get used to the weight. As well as training in 2,000 (6.5k feet) meters since December. The skimo training will help make any climbs feel seemless for sure. From jungle'ish terrain, hot heat, humidity and wildlife sightings it should be an amazing course.

And last but not least, my pack is around 17.5 pounds (7.9 kilos) instead of 28.8 9 (12.9 kilos) this round for day one! Yea!

Cheers folks. Stoked to have you along cheering.

Jax

 

Pre Race Stoke
11-Feb-2016 12:59:57 PM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Hey Hey!

T minus technically 3 days and 2 hours until we are all iat the starting line in Sri Lanka making magic happen for each and every one of our many reasons we have decided to tow the line. For me, it will be the beginning of a year long journey to attempt to become the first female ever to complete the Grand Slam Plus. I am very excited to do this in honor of the LymeLight Foundation. Check out my donation page here.

It's 17:29 in the states on Feb 10th, and one of many legs to get to Sri Lanka is complete. My husband Lance, dog Loki and I have traveled from our ski condo in Jackson WY to Park City Utah. We will visit here with friends as well as Scott Bedford who is the Co-Founder and chariman of the Chairman Of The Board for the LymeLight Foundation to send me off on my way through the airport. Travel plans include SLC -> JFK -> Dubai -> Colombo and then a 3 hour car ride to Kandy.

Arrival with the 4 Deserts staff and racers will be around 9:30 on Friday night. I cannot wait to see Ritta, Samantha and Mary. Quickly, you become a family here. It is something special.

And from there the fun begins. Here we go across the globe folks!

Be sure to follow along the journey on instagram, facebook and twitter too. My husaband will post live updates as I am off the grid making magic happen. #biggoals

Cheers!

JAX MARIASH KOUDELE
RacingThePlanet: Sri Lanka 2016

Hometown
Wilson, Wyoming

Profession
Professional ultra runner and entrepreneur of Stoked Roasters + Mariash Marketing

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JAX MARIASH KOUDELE
RacingThePlanet: Sri Lanka 2016 competitor

Bio

Hometown
Wilson, Wyoming

Profession
Professional ultra runner and entrepreneur of
Stoked Roasters + Mariash Marketing

Why are you competing?
To raise awareness for the LymeLight Foundation
and to try to become the first female in the world
to complete the Grand Slam Plus

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