You've just finished a grueling 420-mile race that sent you over towering mountains, across burning deserts and down roaring rivers in a foreign country more than 6,000 miles away.
But now comes the reality check: You have to go back to Chatsworth to teach second grade at Sierra Canyon School.
It may sound impossible, but that's the situation in which second-grade teacher Louise Lovelace found herself in early February when she and her Team Endeavour USA took second place in an adventure racing competition called Raid Gauloises, held this year in Lesotho and South Africa.
Adventure racing features long-distance overland team travel that includes biking, mountain climbing, horseback riding and canoeing. Lovelace has participated in local and international racing events since 1983.
Friday morning, more than 400 first- through fifth-grade Sierra Canyon students gathered to welcome the 43-year-old teacher back to California and hear stories about her adventures.
"I enjoy participating in these events because I love adventure," Lovelace told the assembled students. "It's a new form of competition for me."
Finishing the event demands mental discipline and team cooperation, said Lovelace, who competed with a five-man, two-woman team from New Zealand. Although the team won $20,000 for its second-place finish, Lovelace said that completing the race was more important than money.
Being able to depend on teammates and learning new skills were also important, Lovelace emphasized to her students. "I learned how to not only pull my own weight within the group, but to overcome my fears as well," she said.