Thursday, May 21, 2009

Namibia Day 4-5 The Long Day

What a long day yesterday was, the dreaded 100 kilometre was even worse that We imagined. After been awakened at 2am then got on a bus to move us to a different location in Namibia we started the race at 8:20am and It was already hot, the course hand book called for a moderate course with 9 check points every 10k or so before arriving at camp springbox. The course description was long plains with sandy ascents to hilltops and some inense dunes, fantastic views from hilltops, past the famous Koichab Depression of subterrean fossil water over 1 million years old.

Because the most important thing for me is to finish so from the begining I took It easy eating and hydrating as much as I could, temperatures reached around 42C in the first few hours so by kilometre 20 people started dropping out, as I came upon check point I was sad to see that Canadian Ultrarunner Sandy McCallum was one of them, overcame the extreme heat. I was beeing paced by Isadoro Azanar and Fernando Guardola both from Spain and my tent mates, I had given myself 20 hours to finish or even longer if necessary depending on how I felt at the mid point camp at kilometre 60 where we where given the option of sleeping if We didn't want to run all the way though.

By kilometre 30 I had lost one of my pacers, Fernando was not looking well so I told him to slow down and rest at check points if he wanted to finish so Isadoro and I press on, him barking orders at me to go through check points quicker, as we started to count them down, we started to pass a lot of people, the heat was really taking a toll, as well as sand in the shoes, imagine blisters being scrubbed by the sand hour after hours. I hadn't anticipated this much sand so I brought regular gaiter to cover my shoes, to protect my feet for rocks and such, but the sand just kept pouring in my shoes but luckily It didn't havouck my feet.

So what exactly happen when You are out there for 22 hours, well you get to know yourself and others very well. As people ahead of us started to slowdown we started to run with other people, sometimes it will be 5 of us and sometimes just a couple. I started to try to look forward to small things along the way to motivate myself to go steady, like in the next check point I can get the sand out of my shoes, on the next check point I can finally have my dinner, the hardest part are always the beginning when you have a monumental task ahead, and also the last 3 checkpoints when you have already pass the option of stopping to sleep so you have to keep pressiong on but you still have a long way to go. It was around kilometre 70 that I started to wonder why didn't I decided to take crotcheting instead to relieve stress. By this time Isadoro and I where around 60th place but he could not mantain that speed any longer so I left him with a pack of people we came along so He wasn't alone and then speed the pace and run hard. It was around 3am so it was nice and cool, I was hydrated and fed so it was no risk of me not finishing at this point.

I arrived to camp around 6:17am, a lot longer than I though it would ever take me, to my surprise, camp was quiet, I was around the 46th place, shocking considering I keep a pretty conservative pace until the last 30k, I felt great and if a bit sore from the distance and the sand dunes.

It's around noon and camp is a bit more alive, of the 200 plus participants only 108 have come thougth, the rest have until 6pm today to finish or risking being disqualified. In my tent two of the members have dropped out, on an average bu now most tents have casualties.

Today I rest while we wait for the rest of the people to come, then tomorrow at 8am we do it all over again, ironically yesterday was rated moderate and tomorrow is suppose to be hard so I am very intimidated but by now my mantra has been to take it slow and one kilometer at a time.

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Anonymous said...

Keep on trucking Norma! You can do it. Did you see the Dead Terrorist out there? "Silent, or I kill ya!" :-)

Pam said...

Norma you are doing great - I love your blog and the 'play by play' description of your adventure. I wish I was there to cheer you on in person.