Happy Trails!


“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
― Terry Pratchett

 

We are off island for a grand journey to Cuba, Mexico, and then the United States. It has been a busy week. I won’t be posting from Cuba, but when we get settled in Mexico, prepare for a hundred shots of the old cars of Cuba. On my first date with my husband, he picked me up in a 1950 Chevy! And it got better…on our second date, he picked me up in a 1956 limo. We are old car lovers.

Here is a review of our past week.

Robinson opened his Island Cafe restaurant. It used to be the American Cafe and Hotel. We wanted Robinson to name it Robinson’s Crusoe, but he felt more comfortable calling it the Island Cafe and Hotel.

What a change paint makes! The restaurant used to be off white with red plastic chairs and blue plastic tables. Now, it is so chic!  Continue reading

Fuego y Agua Survival Run 2016


“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
― John Bingham, No Need for Speed: A Beginner’s Guide to the Joy of Running 

Ron and I volunteer every year for the Fuego y Agua Survival Run and Trail Races. The first week in February is my favorite time of the year because I witness dedication, perseverance, strength, endurance, stamina, courage and GUTSINESS all in one amazing week. 

This year’s Survival Run was BRUTAL. Racers contended with 90+ degree heat, carried 30 lbs. of plantains up and down a 5,500 ft. volcano, ran for two hours holding a live chicken, maneuvered through the cloud forest at night carrying 20-ft bamboo poles, caught fish, and climbed trees…all within a span of 25 hours.

When we arrived at the pre-race events Friday morning, 60 survival runners from around the world gathered to compete. They divided into teams for the pre-race events and organized their team members into those who dug holes with their bare hands, those who made rafts, and those who searched for puzzle pieces in a giant plantain field.

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Part Two: Service Learning and the La Paloma Library


“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” ~Sir James M. Berry

Sunshine they indeed brought…in the form of painting our library, the smiles and laughter of the children, and their service to others. In August, a group from Go for Hope completed a service learning project at our La Paloma Library.

I am sorry this post is so old, but I wanted to spread the word about our new donations.
Fuego y Agua Ultra Marathons will be held on Ometepe Island the first week in February. We volunteer to run the aid stations every year and it is so exciting.

IMG_0157This year, the Fuego y Agua is going to give all the proceeds from their annual Beer Run held on Friday, February 5th to our La Paloma Elementary School.
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Survival of the Fittest: February 2015


“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” ― Charles Darwin

 

The Fuego y Agua Survival Run is over until next February. Every year, we volunteer to help at the aid stations for the races. 45 Survival runners line up to register for the race. How many will finish? Their motto is:

“Hold up your right hand and repeat after me: “if I get hurt, lost or die, it is my own damn fault.”

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The Fuego y Agua Ultramarathon and Survival Run


It’s that time of the year again. The Fuego y Agua Ultramarathon and Survival Run starts this week. Ron and I are volunteering at the aid stations like we do every year.

Enjoy this little preview of last year’s Survival Run.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement


The Weekly Photo Challenge is achievement.

We are preparing for the 4th Annual Fuego y Agua Survival Run on Ometepe Island. Every February, we follow the runners up and down both volcanoes and through jungles. It is a grueling race and most do not finish. However, for those who do survive and finish the race, it is an incredible achievement.

Last February’s course for the Survival Run.
survival run course map copyThroughout the course, the runners have to complete many obstacles to receive 4 metals.
I did not failJohnson, our local runner, is hard to beat. He won the Survivor Run two years in a row.

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On the Other Side of Fear


“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” ― Jack Canfield

If there is one thing I’ve learned about the Survival runners in the Fuego y Agua, it is that they live beyond fear. I marvel at their fortitude, their strength, and their…well…craziness! This year, the survival runners ran about 60 miles, up and down both volcanoes, stopping to complete obstacle challenges that included 20 ft. bamboo poles, climbing trees, diving into the lake to get a bracelet attached to a rock, sleeping on top of Maderas volcano, carrying 50 lbs. of firewood on their backs, and other unimaginable challenges that tested them to their limits.

The Fuego y Agua Survival Run Course
survival run course map copy

Are you afraid yet? There’s more!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie: The Devil Made Me Do It.


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Selfie. For this challenge, snap a selfie with your cameraphone or camera. Feel free to get creative and clever, and if you don’t want to share a photo of yourself, think of a way to approach this challenge in a different way.”

I don’t do selfies. But, I have a creative selfie that is very meaningful to me. Our very good friend, Johnson, was the Fuego y Agua Survival Runner champion on Ometepe Island last year. He gave us his trophy mask, which we have hanging on our Mask of Fame wall, along with other metals Johnson received. This year Johnson placed third in the Fuego y Agua Survival Run, and he gave us his trophy devil mask.

Johnson wears his trophy devil mask at the annual Fuego y Agua Survival Run, February 5, 2014.
Johnson and the devilMy selfie: The devil made me do it.
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Johnson Cruz Races for Funds


If you haven’t read my post about Johnson Cruz, please read it here. Johnson: A Nicaraguan Giver.

With your help, Johnson, an endurance athlete and ultramarathon champion, will have a chance to make a name for himself training and competing among the most élite athletes in the USA.

Johnson and Pac with their chickens at the start of the Fuego y Agua Survivor Run.

chickens at starting line copyPlease consider donating to this incredible young man.

Johnson Cruz Races for Funds

Thank you for your support. I am so proud of Johnson and his remarkable talents. With your help we can make his dreams come true.

Johnson: A Nicaraguan Giver


“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

 

I can think of no better way to describe Johnson than through Winston Churchill’s quote. My mother always said there are two types of people in this world: givers and takers. Nicaraguan takers may eat more than gallo pinto, but Nicaraguan givers sleep peacefully through the crowing roosters. Johnson, an incredibly talented athlete, embodies my definition of a Nicaraguan giver.

We met Johnson many years ago on Ometepe Island. I knew the minute I laid eyes on him, that he was special. This humble, gracious young man strives to be the very best in everything that he does. From working in the plantain fields with his father to training for an ultramarathon, to learning English, Johnson strives for perfection.

In February 2013, Johnson won his first grueling Survivor Run in the Fuego y Agua Race. For over 16 hours, he raced up and down volcanoes, dug holes, swam with a raw egg strapped to his head, carried a 20 ft. bamboo pole up Maderas volcano, climbed coconut trees, carried a live chicken, and hauled 50 pounds of firewood on his back. After the race, I asked Johnson, “Are you tired?” He replied, “A little bit,” with a sheepish grin on his face.

That’s Johnson..remarkably cool, calm, and humble after competing with world-class athletes. Johnson never had any formal training. He just likes to run. So, with the help of several sponsors, he has now entered a new realm…a new world…much bigger than his tiny tropical island home. He is training and practicing in the U.S. for six months with a goal to return to Nicaragua and compete for a spot in the 1216 Olympics.

I am so outrageously proud of Johnson! I know he’s a little homesick and it will take a while for him to adjust to such a different world beyond Ometepe Island. He told me he learned how to make gallo pinto, but not like his mother’s! I told him that was a good skill to learn because his body is craving the life force of Nicaragua. I have no doubt that Johnson will return a winner. He has been given an opportunity of a lifetime and I have faith that he’ll return to proudly represent Nicaragua in the 2016 Olympics.

Wish him luck! He’s competing in his first race this weekend: The Spartan Race in Texas! Go Johnson!

Read more about Johnson, here: La Prenza