Of the hundreds running the Cayman half-marathon next week, Agueda Blake has pushed herself through the pain barrier in preparing for the 13.1 mile event.
Although at times it has been challenging, with a knee and back injury, Blake is determined to prepare as best as possible for it.
Walking sedately around the course is not an option for the multi-sport competitor who also plays flag football, touch rugby and is a bodybuilder.
“Physically, I feel great and it only bothers me when I overdo it,” Blake said. “As they say, ‘no pain, no gain’ and I’ll keep running until my doctor says to stop.”
Blake averages 35 miles each week running, as well as competing in other sports and regular gym workouts.
Her running routes vary. Some mornings it’s in South Sound and she also runs on the beach occasionally. She’s participated in a few 5K and 10K runs in the build up. “I am a morning person and that’s when I find myself having the most energy for my runs.”
There is no regular training partner, however, Blake sometimes runs with work colleague Paul Njogu who has also entered in the half-marathon on Dec. 6.
“Once a week, I run with Maria Leonce and Lily Bodden who are also running the half-marathon. There are a few others I know entered for the half-marathon, however everyone seems to have their own training schedule.
“It would be nice to train with a buddy, yet it would be difficult for me to coordinate with my already busy schedule.”
For Blake, the easiest aspect of preparing for the run is the mental side. “I’m naturally self-motivated, so once I’ve made the decision to do something, there is no turning back.
“I’ve done this before so I know what is expected of me, how I need to prepare myself, the food requirements, hydration and so on.
“I have to make sure there is adequate sodium and potassium intake to avoid cramping.”
What she finds most difficult is the physical aspect. “Our bodies constantly change so I need to find new ways to train and condition myself. I train hard and find it difficult to slow down but lately I have been trying to cope with my knee in order to prevent and minimize further injury.”
Blake feels fortunate to have great support from friends and colleagues.
“It’s nice when they ask how my training is coming along and then offer encouragement. My family is my greatest blessing, who always supported me in my various sporting events and throughout life.
“My husband, Jarard, is my biggest fan and the one there to nurse me back to health. It would truly be difficult if I didn’t have his support and I’m lucky to have him cheering me on.”
She did not look into running for a charity this time, although many entrants do so for various good causes. “It would have been great to raise funds and awareness for a worthy cause,” said Blake. “When I do, it will be for the many survivors who have had life-altering health challenges, especially two of my darling sisters who have survived breast cancer.”
Blake has witnessed the great support charities offer during difficult times, both emotionally and financially.
“I appeal to everyone to donate to a charity of their choice, as many hands make light work. It could truly make a difference in someone’s life.”
She has never been a long-distance runner, as her years in track and field were mostly sprints. But she does relish the idea of pushing herself to the limits by stepping out of her comfort zone, and participating in this run is one of those events that push her beyond her usual sporting activities.
“I encourage others to do the same. Do things that you may not be comfortable doing.
“Go out there and try new things, a new sport, a different meal – healthy of course, volunteer, donate to a charity.
“It doesn’t really matter what, the idea is to be adventurous, have fun, live life to its fullest and be spontaneous.”
“Some of the best moments in life are not planned,” she insisted.