Adventure, Sahara 2011, Travel
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Stage 2

Where to start.  A day of highs and lows.  This was a tougher stage than the last and I was hoping to be fully recovered after last nights sleep, but I wasn’t.  I felt ok when the day started but as the heat rolled in I was zapped of energy.  We and much field were walking by 15km-20km in of a 41km day and we did not have the juice to run after that.  We walked, like Lawrence of Arabia in the desert, wandering nomads.  Sandy, Anne Marie and I spent some good time together, as well as Malcolm from New Zealand and some other characters along the way.  Also Mariska joined us for the last push.  We had been walking and running for 7 hours, when as a group, Mariska, Anne Marie and I…pulled out at km 27km.  We sat down at a rest point and figured if we could make another 14km, and figured we may make the 7pm cut off time and arrive in the dark.  We were sure to be in rough shape if we did and would definately not have made the start line in the morning.  It was the right decision as the terrain leading up to check point and after was both amazing and hectic.  Climbing large sand dunes (which we had done most of the day) and big runs down into a sweeping valley with a Monestery.  We actually got a ride back in the RTP jeep and a local driver with much skill took us and some volunteers through a harrowing downfall into the valley and up to camp.  The jeep could only make a one way trip, so we loaded up a few, as there was no way it was even close to being able to come back up.

On another topic, our leader Mehmet did well again and our team overtook 1st.  However, even the most seasoned vets were punished and said this was by far the toughest stage they have done in any of the three races they have done.  There were tears, laughter and exhausted silence in our tent post race…our team is amazing.

So let me give you a quick run down of highs and lows:

Lows
-I have two big blood blisters, and am recommended not to run tomo.  More normal blisters on other toes and may lost toenails.  I have scene worse out here.
-Today was full of what I would call mental anquish.  A punishing mental battle in my head.
-The heat literally sucked the life out of me and I coud just not deal with it, balancing hydration and electrolytes effectively.
-We have pulled ourselves out of official competition.  I now move from a goal of finishing to working towards if I can run a later stage, which is allowed.
-I feel like I have failed my original goal I worked like a bandit over 9 months to make happen.
-My pack was definately too heavy (my likeness of options crushed me) and back has been in spasms since late stage 1.  I really need  day off to stretch it out completely

Highs
-I now know how to drain a blood blister and have worked my own feet tonight with help of one of the docs
-The scnery was epic.
-My team mates and I worked together as a great tame, on the course and post race.
-I am now focused on soaking in the experience a little more with some anxiety down on the running.  I am truly in a remarkable part of the world.  We plan to heal up, support our team mates tomo and see if we can run on day 4 or 5.
-We are in the desert, close to the pyramids in a place I always wanted to go dammit!  Life is ok
-I am gracious for the pain and learning this adventure will provide me now and in days/weeks to come.  I definately pushed farther than every before and now what is possible.

I will have some more thoughts tomo, but again am humbled by competitors and friends out here, the scenery and overall in good spirits.  I gave it everything I had and left nothing on the table.  I will attempt to rise again for another stage and enjoy this amazing place.

Colin

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