The Last Desert (Antarctica) 2016
We had a pretty quick turn-around for a 3rd long day in a row. A planned 9-hour day out on paradise island. Everyone was pretty beat up from the long day being day one followed by a 2nd long slog. Usually in Antarctica they rarely if ever get three nice days in a row…just our luck. I mean we love to get out there, but we could have used a small reprieve before another punishing day. We got at it early and were zodiaced out in between small floating glaciers until we hit the mainland. We had voyaged 15 hours down to hit the main land of Antarctica and the views were stunning today.
The downside of getting to run on some pristine landscape is that it has to avoid disrupting wildlife and nature, so the course was sprite 1.4Km! Slogging up a steep hill with 1-2 feet of snow, across, around and down a steep zig zag. Good news the views were breathtaking, bad news the punishment on the legs was harsh. In addition, I had been pulling so hard on the ski poles yesterday as the ankles were not moving, I developed a strain in the wrist. Funny enough the bad ankle held up just fine. I was feeling pain in the wrist and left knee. Got it checked out end of day and all is good. Just some icing being done tonight before tomorrow.
I was moving pretty slow today and the mindset was slow and steady and look up a couple times a lap to really take in the beauty. It is likely the most stunning place I have ever seen….and likely I am never back in my life time. Sometimes you have trouble going back and forth being cursing how long we are on course and really being present to appreciate where you are.
It probably took me half way through the day to get into a rhythm and come up with a new mantra to keep me focused. Balance (visualizing yoga), core (supporting the balance) and focus. Allowing me to place my feet in the best possible place to avoid injury, with the right posture, while still being flexible for the terrain. It wreaked havoc on the knees and joints but I felt if I was not present in every single step, all day long, I risked more injury. It’s amazing how tuned in you can get when you need too. Join that with the fact my iPhone still is not working and you get 30 hours in the last three days of running, hiking and trekking with only your own thoughts. Sometimes good, other times not.
What do I think of out there? Many different things. Mostly on what I am focused on at the time. Family and friends. How much pain I am or am not in. Counting to 10 or 20 like I do in meditation to match the breath and then starting over again. That sometimes would last a long, long time. Trying to take mental snap shots of the bluest snowcapped peaks and glaciers I have ever seen. It’s something I will never forget.
All in all, in good spirits. Legs are up now, draining the inflammation out and trying to catch up on blogs.
Good chance tomorrow is a shorter day and I will be able to write more.
I need to remember; I am only here for a few more days before we voyage back. I feel very grateful to be here and it’s been an absolute privilege to be able to take in some sights many people never will.
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