Friday 20 April 2012

Stage 3: 35km (21 3/4 miles)

Pretty happy chappy here

The nerves at the start line have been replaced by mild excitement and mild dread in equal doses. The days are starting to fall into a bit of a routine now.

All you think about is the next checkpoint. Do anything else and you will die. Your head cannot stray further than the next checkpoint, the next step even. Thinking too far ahead will mess with your mind. I refused to think about the dreaded day 4.

Most days start at 8:30am which gives enough time to jog up to the first checkpoint, before it gets too hot. It then turns into a fast march/hobble the rest of the way, with the sparse flat, not too hot sections jogged.

This morning's description in the roadbook was a "false, flat ascent". In other words: uphill.

Started jogging. Turned into a powerwalk as started overheating. I thought I'd be quite good in the heat as I generally operate about two degrees cooler than other people. I also did some sweaty yoga in London. Seems laughable here. Though I have heard it does help! I'm not really sure what else UK bods can do to acclimatize other than get a fair few heat chamber sessions in or go live in Morocco.

I was also increasingly worried about the effects of the heat as one of our tentmates had unfortunately been pulled from the race. We found him on the eve of day 2, grey with pulsing calf muscles. He was delirious. Seven drips later he returned and tried stage 1 of today's race, but dehydrated again and had to have another drip. Game over.

So with that thought, I carried steadily, boringly slowly on.

Stage 3, in the end, was really rather enjoyable. Stunning views. Bit of banter with fellow shufflers. Shuffled through a herd of camels who looked on mildly in confusion. More panic over ever-increasing blisters. (Annoyingly the better half got one blister the whole race. ONE. That's it! And on his little toe. It's embarrassing. All that prep for blister taping and nada!).

The best part was the last few kilometres where we managed to actually RUN. The temperature must have cooled slightly and it was nice and flat, so we gunned it. It felt like we were Usain Bolt, though I expect in reality we were going at 12 min mile pace.

No matter, it was great fun and captured the essence of what I wanted from this. Freedom, satisfaction, joy and relief.

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