Monday, March 15, 2010
Patagonian Expedition Race Part 1: "Pregnancy, Patagonia and Perspective"
Team Member Chelsey Reporting:
Exactly a month ago today, my teammates and I were standing on a beach in Tierra De Fuego. We were lined up with 52 other athletes, all of whom had gone through much to be there, at the start of the Patagonian Adventure Race. I looked around, still shocked that we’d made it here as well. As the YogaSlackers, we’ve been known to forget passports before international travel, of having our gear “lost” in transit, but getting to this particular race had topped them all.
The Patagonian Expedition Race is known as one of the world’s hardest and most remote adventure races. I’d been physically and mentally gearing up for it since the minute I was given the opportunity to join Team GearJunkie – six months before. Two days before I was due to catch a plane to South America, I found myself in the emergency room crying as a doctor told me that I could kiss Patagonia goodbye. In the span of two minutes I learned the following:
My I.U.D. had failed.
I was 16 weeks pregnant.
I was having a miscarriage.
My insurance had been canceled.
As my body was racked with the searing pains of contractions, my mind was numb.
Jason (my boyfriend and teammate) and I had had no idea. For the past 4 months I’d done 3 races and taught 2 advanced AcroYoga Immersions without even knowing. I’d felt off at times – heavy, naseaous, sluggish and moody – but I always attributed these symptoms to other causes. I’d spent most of Christmas holidays treating myself for an ulcer as I experienced what I now know was morning sickness.
The next morning, the worst had passed, and I had a new doctor. She’d take the time to visit our website, read through our blogs and had a better idea of what my life was about. “I can’t recommend that you do this,” she said “but after reading what you are capable of, I won’t say that it isn’t possible.”
In that moment I was torn. I knew that it was a long shot that I’d be ready physically or emotionally, but having my doctor and nurse tell me that they were inspired by my strength and energy was profound. Their comments left me relieved yet torn, because now it was my decision.
In the two days leading up to the race, I was going back and forth between competing and not competing. My body still had significant healing to go through and my emotions were all over the place. I felt weak, and scared and very much alone.
It wasn’t until we had dinner with a local woman who was a possible sub for me that a switch went off in my head. In some primal way, I think the subconscious competition gave my will a kickstart. Wait a second, this girl is going to compete with my team? Shes gonna be dirty and exhausted, huddled up in a tiny tent with my boyfriend? And I am going to be sitting in a hotel room, missing out on something I love?
The next morning, after passing our remaining skill tests, the guys on the team asked what my decision was. “We’re going to race!” I said, smiling for the first time in over a week.