As I follow up yesterday to a long slow hot day in the desert, I now sit back pool side at the hotel in Cairo. Almost exactly where I sat one week ago, I sit now, with the same people, deeper friendships developed and toes much worse for wear. Quick results note as I may not have reported yesterday, our ironman desert runner Mehmet Danis, took 3rd overall, AMAZING and Stefan, Ernie and Sophie came a close 2nd in overall teams. So as I left the cyber tent mid afternoon yesterday in a reflective mood, still pondering my performance in the race, sweltering energy sucking heat, I was unsure what the night would hold….another uncomfortable and cramped sleep, I longed for a real bed and looked forward to the Pyramids the next day, Pizza and Beer. The heat started to subside late afternoon, a cool wind blowing across the desert, a sign of changing times, in the case an ending to what was an amazing week. We gathered shortly before dusk and one of the locals shared stories of the past, history of the areas we ran through, the people who inhabited, the mammals and amphibians who roamed the land and sea millions of years ago. As we gathered around the camp fire scrounging together what remnants we had left for food (most having chucked a lot to reduce weight into the final day), we created a buffet of multiple different kinds of freeze dried, with a couple special treats from Louie and Anne Marie, Pepperoni sticks and real Parmesan cheese. We were all craving real food, it was delicious. After we broke from our impromptu dinner, a few of us stayed around camp to play some cards, reminiscing of the days weeks events, games we played with friends and family at home, while Mehmet pulled his sleeping bag outside the tent and rolled into near the table. I didn’t realize, but it was a veteran sign of a letting go of the race and into healing and recovery. We morphed into sharing a table with our Canadian team mates and the Italians as they got together for a pre arranged post race celebration, sharing stories, race strategies, food and cultural differences. Most people had climbed into bed, being dark for a few hours…at 830pm. The Italian media team snuck in some local bread, tomatoes, silky smooth cheese (like a salty cross between feta and ricotta), while the Canadians kicked in a small portion of champagne and cigars. Under the stars, after an exhausting weeks work, with the cammaderie, teamwork, it was fantastic! After the feast, we noticed many people had pulled their sleeping bags and mats out in front of the tent, propped up by camp chairs or compression sacks. We joined the troops and a few of us did. Half the camp out sleeping under the stars, with an international community, in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Beautiful San Diego 78 F breeze, dark Egyptian night, bright crescent moon, it was MAGICAL! We woke up in the morning to a light wind and cooler temperatures and we scrounged together some leftover carb waffles, coffee in upside down water bottles and some contraband dates Mehmet called a favour in from the local crew. A great start to the day. We got out early on the bus back to the official (and ceremonial) last small stage run in Cairo at the Pyramids in Giza. The Mens and Women’s over all champions lead of procesession up through the pyramids before cresting over the hill strewn with a red Egyptian carpet and the actual finish line…and Pizza and beer and pop. Heaven and relief. Finally done!! Again, we are now back at the hotel putting our collective mangled feet up, for some well needed rest for the body and mind, before the awards banquet tonight and most people’s departure. I know I will have some post race run down to share on certain topics, already a good one in mind.
The kick in the pants you need. Sign-up for a better start to your work day.