Saturday, 28 April 2012

Stage 5: 42.2km (26.2 miles)

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The beauty of the desert. Today was a good day

Slightly apprehensive now about this stage, given the state of my rapidly-ballooning painful leg. Nothing to do though except shuffle off. Luckily the odds are in my favour today as the course terrain is pretty forgiving and I end the day completely, completely exhausted but strangely satisfied by my new-found ability to keep calm and carry on.

The day's environment varied widely from stony ground, to sandy, to dunes, to valley beds. I strangely found it easier to shuffle very slowly rather than walk, so the better half and I played a game of catch up. I would shuffle off. Then he would run to catch up with me and go back to a fast march. I would then catch up, overtake and repeat.

I also treated myself to some tunes today which made a world of difference. Nothing like a bit of Michael Jackson!

Today was quite an emotional day, but this time for a good reason - I was fairly staggered by how beautiful the dunes were. How lucky was I to be doing this and having this experience. I knew I wouldn't remember the pain of my leg once it was over, but I would remember the good parts.

The environment. The banter with other people about feet. Laughing out loud with the better half over some funny joke. The relief of crossing the finish line each day and being welcomed in with a clap, a smile and a cup of steaming hot mint tea. Even the freeze-dried food.

In a way what I found most refreshing was the race empties your mind of anything other than a) when was the last time you drank b) when was the last time you had a salt tablet c) when was the last time you ate (with a little bit of foot anxiety in between). Worries about daily life, work, or relationships disappear. It is a bit like finally being able to meditate, but in a non-happy clappy way.

Regardless of enjoying today's race, my body is starting to moan. At the finish I collapse completely and utterly exhausted. I can't move. I can't eat. I can't talk. My body is beginning to give up on me. It doesn't want anything in it though I force down a few dates, some salt tablets and another litre of water as I'm quite dehydrated.

I fall into a dark dreamless sleep, apprehensive and eager for tomorrow to come and go.

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