Finally it is race day, I was up at 4am packing strapping my feet and packing and sorting my gear for the day. Yes we get given lists on what to take and all but its very hard to know how cold you are going to be and what layers you want to be wearing etc. Breakfast was at 5am and then we all began heading to King George Island on the zodiacs.
Ohhhhhh before the zodiacs I got my TITANTIC MOMENT at the front of the ship.
It was freezing in the zodiac across and I didn’t have my gloves on whoops so my fingers were going to drop off. When we arrived to shore we placed our food on the big arp for the day which is pretty much chocolate protein bars into a clear container (not allowed any wrappers left on anything). This also has our drop bag of backup stuff which we can only touch at the end of the day or for an emergency.
715am and we were off, the layout for the day was a 7.5k loop on one side and then a 7k loop the other side so approx. 14k loop in total. After just 3.5k I was layering down which was an effort and a half as I had to stop and change in the middle of the course.
Now is for the highlight of the day… 11k in I was jogging through some soft snow and next minute my whole body was chest depth in FREEZING water. Yep I fell through the ice sheet under the soft snow and it was like quick sand, I tried to use my poles to get out but id just sink down even more. Half of my pack was soaked and most of my body. I was in the water for about 1-2 minutes before a Korean guy was able to pull me out with my poles. The medic was close by and saw some comotion so was there just after I got out. The course was cut short about 200metres on that sixs then so it didn’t happen to anyone else. I was absolutely freezing!! I had my first tears of the week at this moment… I was freaking out because I was literally in freezing ice water. Back in race one I definitely would have had massive sook about it but this time I pretty much must sucked it up and kept going. I was allowed to access my drop bag and change clothes but it was just too difficult and my shoes were drenched still anyway. So I continued on for the next 10 hours soaking wet.
I had a really solid day 1 considering this, I finished up 3rd for females, and 12th overall tying with about 8 other guys. At 42k I stopped and had my 2minute noodles from my thermos which warmed me up a little but I pretty much tried to keep moving as all my base layers were still very wet and I was getting a pretty nasty cough… mind you a lot of competitors have coughs by now aswell.
So on what I though was my last lap I was told I would fit in another 7.5k loop … I wasn’t keen on this at all but luckily Ann and I decided to both be the last ones to sneak in an extra loop. By now my left knee was jarred up and aching so bad and my plantar fascia was pretty horrble aswell. Even the top male runner Ho Chung said in passing to me during the day how tough he was finding it and this guy is bloody invinsible. The terrain was just so hard, the soft snow was torture, a lot of steps would result in you being knee deep in snow.
So as the race looped around it was nice how competitors would encourage each other as they passed by, all the other desert races you can find yourself alone for hours but here you’d get a little pick me up from others.
My friend Bruno skipped the high fiving and instead would see who could push the other one over first as we passed each other haha and a few times he somehow had the energy to make a snow ball and try and get me with it. This kept things interesting.
In the last 3kms Ann and I were literally in the craziest winds!! It was hectic so we were both heads down and just had to trek it to the finish. Then with 200m’s to go we saw 2 of the cutest penguins only a few metres away from us and they got closer and closer. They were running around flapping their little wings, it was so cute!!
Back on the boat by 7pm, dinner at 730pm, I had a quick stretch and I was in bed by 9. I slept pretty poorly as I had a ridiculous fever from being in my wet clothes all day so I kept walking up very unwell and sweating like crazy.
Today we are still traveling to our next destination so we will begin running at 12pm for maybe 4-6 hours…not as bad as yesterdays almost 12 hours.
Anyway I am off, thanks for all the emails!
Clearly my unintentional swim yesterday wasn’t enough…I said YES to do the Polar Plunge this evening.
So today started off pretty cruisey, it was breakfast followed by stretching, triggering and more stretching. It was then lunch time… Some delish pasta which was a nice little or shall I say large carb up before the afternoon run. It was the most spectacular course this afternoon, the spot we are in right now is breath taking – Danco Island.
Today has been a lot of BUCKET LIST moments!!
– Saw a humpback whale and it’s blow hole
– Got a selfie with a penguin and ran 1m behind it for a few minutes
– Saw a lot of ice bergs
– Saw a massive seal
– Went swimming in Antarctica (this was solo cold and very painful).
The run today was only 3-4 hours covering about 18km’s I think which was 9 loops. It was a 1km vertical upwards run then 1km down as the loop and we just did this over and over. I cruised in 3rd spot again today and teamed up with Annistina who is in 4th spot. The camaraderie today was awesome, Annistina and I kept swapping who lead each lap. We had a great afternoon chit chatting most of the way and we stopped and had a snack break for 5-10 min to enjoy the most unreal scenery I have ever seen. When I say chitchat I mean we chatted and ran most of the afternoon, apparently everyone could just hear my voice for 4 hours (haha) sorrrry…
Today was definitely the day to just soak it all up. So post run it was about 7pm and yep it was already FREEZING but I couldn’t say no to the polar plunge… I stripped down to my sports bra and tights and in I went… What was it like??… PAINFUL… WOW SOOOO MUCH OUCH!! That was a once in a lifetime experience because I won’t be doing that again in a hurry! Then I had to strip off my wet clothes and get warm again before getting onto the zodiac boat, this was a challenge in itself because I couldn’t feel any part of my body, every limb was numb so I was pretty much stark naked standing on some rocks trying to get warm whilst about 4 photographers were getting pictures of penguins which were only a metre away from me playing in the water. Pretty surreal day ?
Anyway, Just under 80km’s down now and tomorrow is a big 12 hour day coming up… probably about a 2km loop for the whole 12 hours… mental battle coming up!!
On paper we may seem like we aren’t going at super speedy paces but I have been kicking along pretty consistently and feeling strong in my pace but the conditions don’t allow for any record breaking times.
Having the most unreal time and I can’t wait for everyone to see my time here from the epic footage Colin is capturing.
He has been working so hard and is a bloody social butterfly with everyone on the ship.
10pm here so I am signing off and heading to bed.
Thanks for all the emails I really enjoy reading them.
Day 3… Imagine a massive sand dune… Now picture running 600metres up it and 600metres down it… over and over and over for 10 hours… yep that was my day yesterday.
Mentally it was such a grind.
The first part I smashed out with Bruno; the unspoken condition of running with Bruno is to be quiet so I was pretty much silent for the first 2 hours… some competitors were asking the race officials if I was okay because usually everyone on the course can hear me jibber jabbering away.
Bruno lost his groove and wasn’t feeling very motivated and I was the same, it is very hard to stay motivated running for so long. I felt like a hamster in a bloody wheel. So after a number of mini siestas as I was calling them where I would lay around for about 2-5 minutes the race directors would be like commmeeeee on Jacqui and I’d feel guilty and get back into it. I also was still aware of my positioning in third haha I didn’t want to mess that up.
At one point I had a little sit down at the top in the snow with other young competitor Jason who told me we are both going to redo the grand slam when we are 83 to be the oldest to do it… I said I dont think so haha, once of this is enough. Anyway I got it together after a few more tantrums and finished off with 42km’s of pretty much up a big zig zag and down again in super super soft snow. Thank gosh for the spikes I have been wearing to help keep some grip.
We were then told at dinner that another 12 hour day was coming up again. Unfortunately I have been sleeping terribly due to something in my neck or back compressing a nerve which is making my whole right arm and hand numb. I had this in 2 of the other races as well but not this bad. I am barely sleeping as it is agony during the night even aftee triggering it heaps. so todays 430am wakeup was hard. The weather was poor though so the race start time was pushed back. Unfortunately we have had 2 shorter days due to weather now which makes clocking up the kilometres more challenging.
So today Day 4
This was originally 12 hours… It was cut down to 8 hours so I think I got just under 40km’s done. The short loops we have been doing in the snow have been the biggest challenge, on paper it really doesn’t sound that bad but it it has been so hard.
Anyway, its been such a long day and its already 10pm here.
Bit tired to type much more but I am having the best time and all the people are all legends. Such a great trip. Stoked I am sitting in third spot for the women still.
Thanks for all the emails haha Brilee your story cracked me up and Ally welcome back, thanks Amos!
That’s it after 4 very long days, the final desert has come to a close.
The male winner Wong Ho Chung was the only competitor to hit 250km’s which was very impressive!! The poor weather conditions stopped us from being able to run another big day.
The final day on Mikkelsen Harbor where we are rewarded with our medals of finishing the last race
This was such an amazing feeling of relief and excitement!
Thanks to everyone for following me on this epic journey. I have well and truely caught the running bug so have decided to continue on with my ultra running. With 4 out of 7 continents completed I have decided to finish off the final 3!
I look forward to you following on with my journey.