(Stage 4) – 84km – 19:04:32
Well my whole 4 deserts challenge was very, very close to finishing before it even began!
Just imagine 84km’s in 40 degrees – to give you an idea it felt like running up-hill in the pit of a volcano with a warm hair dryer blowing on your face with a heavy pack rubbing against my raw skin on my lower back.
ABSOLUTELY SHATTERED… By far the toughest day of my life, to date. 18 hours out of course … about 8 of these hours spent crying my eyes out.
From the start,
I actually felt really great and was off to an awesome start – we took off at 8am and I ran really well with Sandy, (the other Aussie female) for the first 40km’s we only walked a few parts and were the leading runners of our group. I then charged on ahead as she started to feel sick and needed to take a rest. I ran on at a solid pace to checkpoint number 6 – 50km mark – about 8 hours in running.
From here things went down hill…
Sounds simple in concept – only 34km’s to go, but my body was failing me hard-core – I got a really bad heat rash on my legs so they were swelling and making me feel very sick. I covered 12km’s to the next checkpoint which took me about 4 hours. During this section I began to be passed by some other competitors – one guy Mike saw me struggling and I had already begun crying at this point – Mike said to reset and have some food. I pulled out a dry meal of mac and cheese – mmm cold water with this was gross! Crunchy pasta haha, I was desperate.
Checkpoint 7 I made it to here somehow… I had been envisaging digging my own grave for few hours by now!
At this checkpoint I decided not to rest or take any pain medication and kept going, heading another 10km’s to checkpoint 8…
So now the sun had set and I had been walking/crawling alone for a solid 5+ hours and crying more than I ever had before – the heat, pain, sickness and sheer exhaustion was just too much.
Anyone who passed by me was super concerned, by this point I was taking a few small steps forward, one to the side and then would almost fall over – I was almost completely non-coherent. The first part of the race I was covering about 10km’s in 1.5hrs – now I was lucky to cover 2/3kms in 1.5 hours – crazy slow!
I thought I would have to pull out for sure – I honestly thought I was going to passout!
A roving car pulled up beside me and one of the medics and another videographer walked with me for almost 2 hours to the final checkpoint number 8 – I was in terrible shape – they gave me different medications and tried to figure out what food I could eat to keep down.
We got to checkpoint 8 after them witnessing me crying (definitely some whaling in there haha), lots of swearing and much struggle. As soon as we got there I got into my sleeping bag and passed out for a while before somehow getting up and finishing of the final 8km’s, it was a pretty horrid sight – I was in a very bad way, the medics were feeding me and helping me change socks etc.
I left at 8am and got in after 2am… brutal.
But to put this in perspective the last competitors got in at 10am this morning and 3 competitors have had to pull out so far.
I climbed into my tent and passed out – today is luckily a day off – I woke up and for the first hour of today, whenever someone even spoke to me I honestly would just cry, over tired and super emotional I guess.
Anyway, I have to psych myself up because tomorrow is a super tough 38km’s of sand dunes and my feet are now covered in blisters, about 4 toe nails are one kick of a rock away from coming off and I am almost out of food.
I CANNOT WAIT TO FINISH THIS DAM THING haha … so excited to jump straight into the hotel swimming pool when we get back.
Thanks for all the kind messages again, honestly feeling super deflated today and just really rough.
What is harder than running a marathon in a desert?… WALKING ONE – walking is definitely the long game and is a skill in itself – it’s a real grind!
Day 6 – (Stage 5) – 38km’s – 7:53:14 – (unsure of my placing anymore, that sadly went out the window after the long march) – Sand dunes
Pretty disappointed in the fact that for 175km’s of this event I ran super well but then things didn’t go quite as planned, I guess the Desert had other plans for me! … lucky I have 3 more deserts to go… ha ?
Anyway, the first 20km’s today I mentally wrote this blog about 10 times over in a very negative way, I was just in so much pain from my Achilles, it was consuming me but decided to suck it up, perk up and enjoy the rest of the run/hobble and event and get on with things because really I am in the Namibian desert in Africa! So lets hope my inner negative nancy doesn’t come through too much in this haha.
8am start today – Began off jogging the first 6km’s, I felt really good – Well I have the standard shocking blisters, toe nails falling off situation but otherwise not too sore!
Today I had to wear my buff so it covered my lips the whole run because of how burnt and blistered they are, the doctors were a bit concerned about them getting infected. Anyway, so after 6km’s my Achilles, (ouch) I realised how bad they are again and it was like there was a switch to my cry button from the pain in my Achilles, so I quickly learnt that one wrong step or too much plantar flexion and it would be HELLLA PAINFUL!
I had to swallow my pride and just realise that this wasn’t the race where I was going to take out a place and just needed to finish and enjoy it.
So the sand dunes were coming up at the 20k mark so I teamed up with Jeremy (another competitor) and we power walked the rest of the way in – even snuck in a 7km run in the last leg wooo! He shared his jelly beans with me over the course of a few hours that we were together so it was a good day ha – All about those little wins – He even took some great pictures and videos! Also what got me through was at checkpoint 2 someone had thrown out one of their poles – I scooped it up and put tape around it so it was as good as new – This third leg (pole) helped me take much needed weight off my Achilles.
The views along the sand dunes were the most beautiful views I have seen, truly spectacular and running along the beach to the finish was amazing.
It was a pretty long day out on the course but when I arrived into camp it was such a good feeling to know that we are pretty much done!
At this camp we have even been treated to a swim in the beach and showers!! Felt sooo good to shower… haha some competitors decided they have gone the whole week without this luxury so whats one more night… I was in the shower for AGES!
Tomorrow is just 10km’s and we are DONE!! The food and beer at the finish line is calling my name…. well, I don’t drink beer but I am thinking after this my first ever beer is necessary haha. We will then be bused 4 hours back to the hotel for an awesome dinner and final evening before flying home on Sunday!
I have seriously loved getting all of the messages from so many of you.
Thank you so much Rowanne for your adorable year 5’s all writing such lovely words of encouragement that has made my day.
Thanks Lulu gals – Sam, KJ and Bethy ! such kind words
Last night camping out tonight before getting back to reality!