Caren Ware's Blog

April 29, 2013

The seas were man, the weather was woman. The DRAKE PASSAGE.

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,Marathon Running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 10:19 pm

IMG_0766IMG_0772We were ushered to the boat where they took our passports….hmmm, wonder why?  But they quickly assigned bunks, and allowed us to ‘move on and move in’.  IMG_1404To my delight, it wasn’t a rusty, old Russian cargo ship. The Akademik VAVILOU was a white, well-built vessel suited for scientific research.  A Russian captain and his crew sailed the ship.  One Ocean Expeditions ,www.oneoceanexpeditions.com, operates the ship, and One Ocean crew enlightened us through lectures and film, tending the bar, bridge, and reception. They would be the faithful leaders on kayak and Zodiac excursions for the 100 marathoners. 41 Russian crew members lived in the belly of this ship, manning the engines, unlashing the moorings, hoisting the gang way, and serving in the galley. To my other delight, we were given cuisine meals by meticulous chefs and attentive servers despite the weather.  It was almost routine to hear glass breaking when hit by a rogue wave, but atmospheric to the care they were giving to cruise in style despite the demanding elements beating against the ship’s thick metal sides. In due time, we would pit our legs, lungs, and determination against those elements. But for now, we were learning to make ship life cozy.  The life vest drill on deck and seeing that the life boats were covered craft were reminders of where we were going and that it and the temperatures were to be respected. But we felt safe nestled in our solid, cozy, floating cocoon.IMG_0791

Runners and expedition crew from all walks of life and ages engaged in sharing; snatching nuggets of what the whole world is in need of… acceptance, allowance of immerging personalities, human love, mutual respect, and pure fun and friendship. Within days we were family.  We were the ship. And THIS became the priceless point of the journey.  The expedition company One Ocean Expeditions sums it.  It’s all one ocean.  Even the human race.  The journey would be about the people. It would be about the place and the animal life and the weathers.  And the sunsets, and the hues, and the sometimes angry seas, but other times moody, and at times sexy.  The seas seemed man, but the weather seemed woman.  We were out of the bay and into the DRAKE PASSAGE.IMG_0798

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How to explore Patagonia in two hours…seriously

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 12:15 am

I have ALWAYS, ALWAYS wanted to explore Patagonia.  It is the Southern Hemisphere’s equivalent to Alaska and seems to me to be even more untouched and worthy of exploration.  So to be chasing the hours and minutes away before this boat would voyage to Antarctica from Ushuia was grippingly disappointing.  We would land at the southern most tip of South America only hours prior to having to board the ship.  Ferret mode was activated and I literally RAN past town and up a hill to get pictures of the glaciated mountains that backdrop this quaint town of so many trucks with so little place to go. I than sprinted back into town, eyeballed king crab restaurants, bought goodies from a bakery, picked out a tiny stuffed penguin christening  him with the name of Tux so I’d have a photo shoot buddy, bought and mailed postcards, met people who would be on our boat, took pictures at the end of the world sign…”fin Del Mundo”, and got on the boat with my bikini still underneath my running sweats. “Hi, all you new people I have never met!IMG_0722IMG_0746IMG_0729IMG_0739IMG_0742IMG_0755 IMG_0760IMG_0757IMG_0745  Hope my luggage made it cause this bikini is not going to cut it where we are about to go!”

I took a picture of a little yellow flower, actually a weed poking through the pavement.  It would be the LAST living plant we would see for a long time.

A pod of girls that were reunioning days they had met while in the army made sure they brought an army load of wine and spirits aboard, and with them a great spirit of adventure, teasing, enjoying, and girlish fun.  Also among them was a beautiful gal whose email read ‘fitbrit’. There would be South Africans with their almost national  athletic, boyish spirit and a guy named Martin that would tell me ( the one with the blond hair that already confuses everyone’s names anyway) everyone’s wrong names.  Daves became Steves, and Bobs were Johns and it took me the sail across the Drake to rearrange them right.

And, I think I never did get them all rigth, but names aside, I got their personalities.

April 19, 2013

A PRICELESS JOURNEY

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 9:29 pm

The email and txt read, “URGENT TRAVEL ALERT. POSTPONED”. I was zipping up the suitcase and about to head to LAX.   The 2013 Antarctica Marathon was put on hold?  What?!!  Most of us had been on a waiting list for three to four years. No regard, our ship had hit an iceberg requiring it be  towed back to Russia for repairs.  We would have to wait until the end of the fully booked excursion season.  We would be one of the last boats out there before winter.  We would have to all totally rearrange out lives, rebook flights, and stayed trained, which we all seemed to know to do.

When Antarctica got postponed advice had been to bail…except for the two I knew whom already accomplished a marathon distance on Antarctica.  I heard a hallo sound in their voice as they both separately said, “Priceless.  There  is no price tag on the experience.  We cannot begin to describe to anyone what you can only fathom from being there in person. “  So I listened and looked like a desperate fool trying to change all those tickets and get events covered. BUT they would be right.  Antarctica did become that EPIC JOURNEY almost too deep for words.

Follow me as I try and take you where most never go.IMG_0785IMG_0779

April 12, 2013

A straight line from Maui to the tip of South America?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 8:47 am

Every time I have the privilege to time a race in Maui, I ALWAYS intend to take a few extra days and enjoy the heck out of the island…and never get to.  Something important always comes up.  In this case, the rescheduled Antarctica expedition to run the marathon.  So Maui was left to be enjoyed by my staff Nick and Laurel.  I raced from the race to the airport, landed in San Diego at 1pm on a delayed flight.  Pedal to the metal, I drove to Orange County where I left my truck full of supplies for the Rabbit Run…easter eggs, bunny suit, registration materials.  My son met me on his only day off and drove me to LAX via grabbing my camera equipment from my brother.  Than I was off to Lima, Peru.  Landed past midnight.  I KNOW that the looming Andes are out there, but I miss them in the dark.  I land in Santiago, Chile in the middle of the night.  Hi, Chile.  Never been here before.   The connecting flight bounces wildly over the high Andes Mountains heading across to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Remember ALIVE… I land in Buenos Aires in the morning and have just a day to be in Argentina.  So…I learn to TANGO!  And I learn that IMAG0422IMAG0433IMAG0435IMAG0436Buenos Aires has a LOT of traffic.  So I took to the double decker bus and toured the city for a few hours.  I had this great family adopt me for the bus ride.  They were  from a vineyard town I think is called Mendoza in Argentina .  Thank you for letting me be a part of your fun and have my few hours in Argentina convince me that really nice people live here.  IMAG0444IMAG0451

April 8, 2013

Taking a poll…rate the sunglasses contest

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 12:16 pm

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April 1, 2013

Now this is talking English

Filed under: A Runner's Story,Marathon Running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 9:07 pm

It took 8 straight hours on the phone to get South American Lan airlines and Expedia to respond to changing airline tickets and it still did not happen.  Round and round I went in the system that sent me to India to talk to someone in trained English, but not trained to change my situation.  I’d appeal and get transferred to the same non comprehending, accented voice.  Until, finally, I got a gal in the Philippines.  For some horrible reason as I was trying this trying experience, Sprint decided to have a bout with dropped calls.  I would get hours into the process than get dropped on my cell phone.  If I did not change these flights by midnight I would have to eat the cost of the entire South American tickets and buy a new one at, now, twice the cost.  Ouch.

So minutes before midnight, I get this sweet voice. I gave her my cell number first up in case we got dropped.  She said she would freeze the ticket to not lose it since we only had two minutes before it expired.  She got all my anguish on what I needed to do…and then a recording by Sprint service came on to apologize for the technical difficulties they were experiencing and the sweet voice and my ticket were gone. I do not give up easy.  I had not given up.  I just ran out of time trying to resolve it.  I crawled onto the couch and pulled a blanket over my head.  Now, what was I going to do.  At 2pm, my cell phone rang. “ I wrote your number down and WE decided to help you,” said the sweet voice. I heard a bunch of giggling in the background. “ We are phone workers in the Philipines and I knew if I did not hold your ticket you would lose it.  I had to wait until we were off our shift.  We are calling on our cell phone.  I set up new flights for you.  Write these confirmation numbers down.”  Wow.  Thank you, sweet voice. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated her going that needed extra step for some unknown person who hadn’t been the most patient with accents that day.  After done with the confirmations, she asked in a giggle.  “Can you tell me and my friends what Hollywood is like.  You are from Los Angeles?”  And, so I did…all about the vast juggle it is.  They were thrilled to get to have an extended conversation with a real person about a real place.  She giggled, “now, this is talking English.”

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