Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 31, 2013

I Am About to Give Birth

Preparing for the 2013 Texas Water Safari

I feel as though I am about to give birth — in a manner of speaking. For almost nine months, Doyle and I have been training to compete (perhaps “participate” is a better word) in the Texas Water Safari. Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that this 260-mile ultra-marathon race is billed as the world’s toughest canoe race. Doyle and I certainly feel as though we have toughened up quite a bit over the past several months of paddling. That’s a good thing because we’ll certainly need every ounce of both physical and mental toughness in order to paddle the estimated quarter-of-a-million strokes between the start and finish of the race.

TWS Nutrition
Doyle and I spent some time today buying our nutrition for the race — along with an assortment of batteries for our GPS, SpotTracker, bow light, and two head-lamps. We have been most concerned about our nutrition because replenishing calories is essential to having the strength to do the race. According to my calorie counter and exercise smart-phone app, we are likely to burn more than 35,000 calories over the course of four days on the river. So, we have an assortment of calorie-rich snacks and bars and drink mixes and have developed a plan for taking our nutrition along the way to ensure that we keep up our strength. My daughter Niki, our team captain, is determined to hold us accountable for sticking to our nutrition plan.

In these final days before the race, the race has become all that we think about and talk about when not doing our daily work. The moment there is any lull in our daily routine, thoughts of the race rush in. And at night, I can hardly sleep because my mind is racing, no pun intended. I find myself tossing and turning and thinking about portages and distances between checkpoints and the heat and sleep deprivation and how tired I will get of eating all of that stuff we have spent so much money on and whether or not I will see the Chic-fil-A cows again in the middle of the night while paddling down the infamous Hallucination Alley.

Could all of this be the contractions signaling that the birth is near? I think so. And as hard as the contractions are, the labor and delivery will be even tougher. I know that from having finished this race last year. When my wife asked me at the finish line if I thought I would do the race again next year, I told her that I felt as though I had just given birth and did not want to even think about having another baby. But, wouldn’t you know it, as soon as the pain subsided and faded into my memory, I signed up to do the race again! So, here I am, anxiously awaiting Saturday, June 8, when the real labor begins.

Thanks for following our journey. I will post our SpotTracker link on my blog and on our Facebook page at Lone Star Pastors next Friday for those of you who would like to follow our progress in near real-time. The link will become active at the start of the race at 9:00 AM on Saturday, June 8. My daughter Niki will also post video updates to our Facebook page from the checkpoints along the race course.


  1. Funny blog today, Omar. Interestingly, I have that same feeling and experience as a counselor at youth camp…especially the hallucinations.

    • Thanks, Jeff. I think doing the Texas Water Safari may actually be easier than serving as a camp counselor! You are a brave man 🙂

  2. When I hit the first checkpoint of the MR340 I was scared and already hurting after only 50 miles. My wife said I was meaner than a snake – don’t talk to me, don’t touch me! She later compared the whole thing to giving birth and that first fifty miles to being in transition. Good luck to you both.


    • Thanks, Ned. We are determined to make it from checkpoint to checkpoint and to paddle through the pain. Thanks for following our journey.

  3. What is the name if the Facebook page we can follow you on during the trip? I looked up Nikki Garcia, but there were numerous ones. Thanks! Sue Ann

    • The name of the Facebook page is Lone Star Pastors.

  4. Praying for all, all week! Geaux Lone Star Pastors!

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