Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Marathon des Sables 28 March - 7 April 2008

Welcome to our dream ..

Where to begin?

I feel an age has passed since I last dropped a thought on this blog ..

An age in the desert.

A dusty, sweaty, salt encrusted, blistered, joyful, laughing, happy age.

I feel different. I feel full up.

I am truly thankful and grateful for this enormous life experience.

This wondrous time - with my boy; with friends old and new; with myself.

Thank you.

But I miss Tent 82! I miss Team Go!

I want to go back. Can we soon?

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Isk N'Brahim - Tazzarine 5 April 2008

Race Day 7 - Running for the bus!
Distance: 17.5 km
Time :  2 hr 21
Water : 4.5 litres
Temperature : Who cares?

Our last day is a sprint for the bus!

 Gavie has his Aus flag waving on his Leki ready for our finish even as we start.

 We take 115, 116, 117 one final time for good measure. Oh .. la ..

 Team Go splits as the boys up the pace for the line.

 My man and I do the last few kilometres alone. We are chatting, enjoying these moments as we near our finishing chute.

 Now we are Team Australia. Husband and wife. Holding hands. Partners in everything. Strong individuals choosing to stand as one.

 Those last few metres to the finish I feel my feet lifting so high I must be trotting! My face grinning so wide it must be splitting! I am laughing! We are waving to friends cheering us home. Our Aussie flag waves high held by my boy .. this is the moment I have seen in my mind 100 times ..

 Crossing the line. Hand in hand. Smiling. Southern Cross flying.

I am so proud.
I am so thankful.
I am so grateful.

The relief floods through me and pushes great sobbing tears ahead of it.

 Relief that I have done it! That this time of physical, mental and spiritual struggle has paid off so beautifully.

 Aches; pains; worries; doubts: all fly from me as I cry onto the shoulder of an unknown fellow runner.

 What remains is the clean, bright, shining awareness that I have done something amazing. I am amazing. We are all amazing!

Days highlight?

Finishing. Tears. Joy. Pride.

Things I will always remember ..

·         ACDC
·         Adrenalin pumping starts
·         Patrick and Sarah on jeep top
·         Helicopter side sweeping photo op’s
·         Erg = sand mountain?
·         The family at each check point
·         Crying over the first night delivery of emails
·         Sleeping through sandstorms
·         Waking with sand crunching in my mouth
·         Sand. Sand. Sand. Sand.
·         Learning RAF dirty ditties
·         Singing .. loudly ..
·         Laughing .. constantly ..
·         Team Go .. go .. ?? .. go ……………GO!      
·         Socially acceptable “pishing”
·         A general relaxation with regard to most bodily functions
·         Being so filthy it’s liberating
·         Savouring 1 nut and 1 jelly bean and being satisfied by them
·         Planning extravagant post-race menus
·         Plush velvet blue night skies with diamond bright stars as my bedtime canopy
·         Snoring in the night
·         Sleeping through snoring in the night
·         Farmer Dave, Tent 82’s 5.30am alarm call
·         Hunter gathering
·         Sharing everything
·         Berbere blue men breaking camp before the sand gritty sleep is from your eyes
·         The daily M*A*S*H* at Doc Trotters .. blisters slashed and iodined
·         Blue plastic slippers & "Dawn of the Dead" movement about camp
·         “Super M*A*S*H*er” Angealways happy to apply the pain I couldn’t myself .. thank you!
·         Opera in the desert snuggling with my boy
·         Last night sadness .. over too soon ..
·         Loving all Tent 82!
·         Meeting Rory
·         Meeting our sweet marine docs
·         The finishing chute
·         Smiling so wide my face hurt
·         Tears
·         Joy
·         Relief
·         Pride
·         “We are all amazing!”
·         Tears
·         Tears .. tears & a finish line hugs from an angel

Friday, 4 April 2008

Oued Ahssia - Isk N'Brahim 4 April 2008

Race Day 6 - Marathon Day
Distance: 42.2km
Time :  6 hr 38
Water : 18 litres
Temperature : 46.7ºC

I would never have believed it but we are fresh and raring to go today.

  Albiet very well drugged and taped.

This leg we will run as we have trained. 5/1 is the plan.

5 minutes run/1 minute yomp.

Gav, my train driver, deserves a run.

His strength, held in check all week to keep my pace, deserves showing today.

I will follow faithfully whatever pace he sets.

Go, go honey. It’s only a marathon, after all.

From the bouncing, rocking start again we fly past 115, 116, 117 .. oh la la!

The entire field seems energized today.

Yesterday was hump day .. today is just for fun!

Days highlight?

An evening of Parisian opera.

Snuggling on our roll mats.
Floating, relaxed, in a soothing, classical sea of sound.
Immersed in the brilliantly star strewn balmy night.
Heaven, heaven, heaven.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Oued Ahssia 3 April 2008

Race Day 5
Distance: 0km
Time :  0 hr
Water : 4.5 litres
Temperature : 46.7ºC

Today we have earned a rest .. reward for finishing the double leg in one hit.

For the sleepers, the injured, the struggling-to-finish, our leisure time is time on their feet.

They stagger in throughout the day. All laden heavily with 4.5 litres of the heaviest water they will ever carry .. given just a hundred metres from home it is nearly the feather to break all backs.

But they are ahead of “les chameaux”, a must to stay in the race, as you cannot fall behind the two camels and their blue men who are the MdS sweeper van.

By 2pm (14 hours after we fell into bed) the last finisher comes home ..

Hours for us spent treating blisters, pottering, visiting have been hours fought on the course by these brave soldiers.

The whole race drags to the finish to cheer them home.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Ba Hallou - Oued Ahssia 2-3 April 2008

Race Day 4/5 - Long Stage
Distance: 75.5km
Time :  15 hr 23
Water : 19.5 litres
Temperature : 47ºC

This is it!

This is the biggie!

This is the one it’s all about!

Can’t wait to get started. Can’t wait for dark! Can’t wait for the zylooms to come out!

And .. we are now officially Team Go!

Me, Gavie, Des and now our wee jock, Graham, joins forces. Together we are unstoppable and uncontrollably happy for this long, long day.

pic 4

We belly laugh, sing, swear and simply enjoy ourselves on the course.

From the start we are off and running with a steady, sustainable pace set by the Gavster at 5/5. That's 5 minutes run/5 minutes yomping, power walk.

We only slow this cracking pace at obstacles e.g. Something like El Oftal jebel, with a 25% average incline, would be considered an obstacle .. and also a good place to overtake 115, 116, 117 ..

Yet in the throws of learning about “Sunshine Mountain”, “I Don’t Want to go to War” and a multitude of other dirty ditties the day and the check points just fly past.

At CP6 before dark all thoughts of stopping and eating are pushed firmly from mind .. we are going straight through ..

This is the way to make up real time .. we are on fire ..


And then the lights go out .. in all ways ..

Between the 13th and 14th hour I am staggering.

 In a dark only lit by head torches the powder fine sand stirred by feet and jeeps hangs thickly in the air.

It leaves me with an almost seasick delirium.

My boys were my only focus.

Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.

Walk straight. It’s the quickest route home.

Keep going. Keep going.

And then .. bink .. I am out of it. Strong again. Nausea gone.


 Unquestioningly we push on.

Powering home now with Gavie driving the train.

Days highlight?
Team Go. Together we are invincible and SO funny! I love my boys.

And now a whole day off!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Oued El Jdaid - Ba Hallou 1 April 2008

Another fabulously colourful start!

Team Go is born as we collect Des to run with us today.

We grow from 2-ship to 3-ship & our new addition is bursting with energy as we hit the 20km stretch of dunes in today’s vicious leg.

This stage is a “tree shaker” as we lose the weaker apples before tomorrow’s double stage .. 31 “concurrents abandonee”/could not carry on today ..

Tomorrow, as we line up we will “spare a thought for them” ..
as Patrick reminds us “it’s really hard for them to see us leave” ..

Sadly our lovely Tent 82 Scottish lassie, Elaine, is also one of the fallen. The heat and dunes fairly cook her and by CP2 she is air lifted off the course and fed 6 drips to rehydrate before they let her home to us!

Yes, a vicious day but also the day I get my fight back!

Watch out 115, 116, 117 .. I am now officially running! 

Days highlight?
Racing French girls to the finish and winning.

Enter my competitive spirit. Exit all fear.

With my boys at my side we hiked the pace and I ended up taking 3 girls on the way in that night!

Gotta love a race.

Jen you would be proud of my tactics: show them a clean set of heels, break their spirit and keep on going.

Watch out for tomorrow: I am back!

NB. Best way to sleep through a sandstorm is with your head in the bag ..