To the Mother City we go!

Its almost here. Tomorrow night, I am picking my friend Emily up from the airport and we are leaving on our grand adventure the following afternoon!  Life has been slightly crazy as I’ve been working long hours most days and trying to stay on top of getting ready for the trip.  I keep reminding myself it’s only a month–its not like we’re moving overseas again…but none-the-less I go into crazed lady mode.

I’ve noticed some major tightness in my neck and shoulders and my body has felt pretty tried on runs lately.  The race is a week from Saturday so the name of the game is staying healthy, getting as much rest as possible (ha–not so easy to do when you’ve got a 30 hour journey!!!), and keeping calm.

While in South Africa, I’m going to be working on several projects, running, and enjoying my friends that I’ve missed so much these past 2 years! While living in South Africa, there were a few friends that really became like family to me.  So, my heart is ready to explode from the anticipation of hugging them for the first time in a couple years!  I just may squeeze the air right out of them!

As for packing, I’m pretty much done.  Here’s a general list of what I’m brining (other than some cute-as-pie summer clothes for relaxing):


They have amazing food in Cape Town but there area  few things I won’t be able to get there.

  • Vega Powder–to replace the smoothie mix I usually make home–saves me having to bring like 8 different things and ensures I get all the nutrients I need!
  • Emergen-C:  Like steroids for my immune system while traveling
  • Yerba Mate tea:  for race day AM and to get a bit of caffeine during the race
  • Vegan Chocolate Chips (to help celebrate Easter)
  • Chia seeds
  • nutritional yeast (to sprinkle on my food for vitamin B12)


  • Two pairs of running shoes (just in case)
  • several pairs of running shorts
  • two pairs of yoga tights that can double as running tights if need be
  • a handful of sleeveless running tops (Hell yeah!  It’s warm in Cape Town!)
  • 1 light weight long sleeve running top
  • fuel belt
  • 4 10 oz fuel belt bottles
  • A few of my favorite gels for race day to supplement homemade goodness
  • watch

Other things in my bag:

  • yoga mat
  • mini-foam roller
  • gifts galore (including a few Washington wines)
  • cycling shoes–just incase I find someone willing to loan me a road bike for a day or two
  • The China Study (I’m working my way through it–its pretty profound)
  • ipod for plane–memorizing South Africa anthem so I can sing it on race morning
  • audio recorder for interviews
  • My research project from 2010 to review!

We are flying Emirates to Dubai, where we get to relax in a complementary hotel room for a chunk of the night before heading back to the airport at 2 AM for our flight to Cape Town. Josh and I did this last time we flew Emirates to Cape Town.  It’s wonderful to have a shower and a place to rest (although it was so air conditioned in our room we spend the night huddled together in a single bed to stay warm. I’m planning on trying to sleep as much as possible, drinking loads of water, and getting to Cape Town feeling as rested as possible (ha–I never arrive in Cape Town feeling rested, but she’s worth it!).

Thursday we’ll go to the race Expo (YEAH!) where we will be treated like VIP because we are awesome…or because we’re international participants.  Good Friday, Emily and I will run in the International Friendship 5k in the city with the rest of the international kids.  Saturday, Emily will run her first ever half marathon in the most beautiful place on earth while I work it in the Ultra–known as the “World’s Most Beautiful Marathon.”  Its not just the gorgeous scenery that makes it so beautiful but the people who participate are some of the coolest, kindest, and genuine people I’ve ever met!

I am not taking a computer on the trip but will have access to one so I will do my best to write while I’m there.  I will also try to write at MJ and a Sea of Stories!

Send us restful and healthy travel thoughts!






The Swamp Land of the Soul

Saturday, I was supposed to do a 21 mile training run.  It began with me trying to find some dry running clothes–its been a wet week and all my warm running clothes were WET.  Sigh, I slipped on some cropped running tights, layered up a few lightweight long sleeve tops and set off in the wet muckiness.  Within 2 miles, snow began to mix with the rain.  By mile 5, my hands HURT like CRAZY.

In 2004, I climbed Mt. Rainier with a group of people from my university.  We had to stop for longer than intended to switch up the rope teams as some people decided to turn back down to camp.  We sat there for a good 40 minutes and by the time we were ready to move out, I was sick to my stomach because my hands were so cold.   As I tackled the first hill at Point Defiance Park, I felt that same sick feeling coming over me.  I felt a lump growing in my throat–I was fighting back tears.  I thought, “Surely I am going to die!”  For the next 4 miles I went back and forth, “Come on, be tough and finish the 21 miles.” and then, “Melissa, you don’t have to prove anything!  16 is sufficient!”  and then, “You can work out inside this afternoon!” and then “What the hell is wrong with you!  16 miles! You don’t need to work out again this afternoon!” Sigh, and so it went over and over again.
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World Peace Inside You.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about injustice, human rights, and peace.  The Kony2012 campaign sparked it toward the beginning of the week.  Here’s a really brief overview of the ordeal if you aren’t aware– there’s guy named Joseph Kony in Central Africa that has been leading the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) for the past 2.5 decades.  The LRA is responsible for kidnapping  children and forcing them to be child soldiers and sex slaves.  They drug these children and have them do incredibly horrendous things–mutilate, rape,  and kill their own families.  It is difficult to imagine the horror.
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What I take on my long runs (both in my fuel belt and in my heart/mind)

Photo by Steve

It was a strange week.  After I got hit with that cold, I thought I would have to reschedule my 4:20 long run for the next weekend and keep it real with an easy 15 miler this weekend. But the tables turned, I was feeling better and really wanted to get my last super long run done so I can start a nice little taper for 2Oceans.

I made the descision yesterday afternoon.  It usually takes me a little longer than 15 hours to prepare myself mentally for a run of that length but I think having less time to think about it might have actually been a good thing.  Here’s how I prepared and executed, both physically and mentally:
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