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Day Five: How the Gobi Got Me....
02-Jul-2010 10:12:21 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Gobi March (China) 2010
First things first...Mom I'm fine...nothing to worry about...
Sleeping at the Uigher Museum proved too hot so most of us slept outside under the stars. Schedule was to start at 6am but was moved to 8am at the last minute, so we adapt. Stage One was through a river with lots of crossings and very refreshing. Stage Two was through a Uigher town and was great as all the children were running around saying Hello and Good Morning, Took lots of phptos of kids who giggled and laughed hysterically to see their photo on the digital camera, it was infectious laughter. When not taking pictures I ran a good part of the first two stages. Then in Stage Three we hit the basin and the flats and while it was cloudy and cooler than normal it was still hot and desolate, running was over, trecking was in. At Checkpoint four there was a cool water pump and I used that to cool down and took a short break. I was on pace for about a 22-24 hour 100km/60+mi stage. Then the Gobi reared up and grabbed me....
At about the 50km/30mi mark between stage 4 and 5 the sun came out around 5pm and is still high in the sky. The effect was immediate and like a heat lamp. About 30 minutes after the sun came out I began to feel a bit loopy and went for more water and mango.90 seconds later I was on the ground getting sick and just managed to sit up on the side of the road. But I couldn't even take my backpack off to get my food. Other competitors came by and were just awesome. They helped me stabilize and get sorted and one chinese-american guy ran ahead to the next checkpoint to have the doctor come out just in case. Roger, The firemen from North Carolina and others all helped out a lot. When the sun went down and the heat lamp receeded I was able to be mobile and make some slow progress. The doctor came out in the SUV to check on me but since I still wanted to try to finish I walked to the next checkpoint with Diego and Brandon who powered me with skitttles and a helping hand. We each took turns singing songs and that had to be hard on them. They just got in 10 hours later and are studs.
At the checkpoint  I had no gas and had to raise my blood sugar level. Dr Avi was great and has my gratitude.  as does Mark who gave me chips and a steak bar. My pulse had fallen as low as 40 but I was able to get food in me, although it took me 40 minutes to eat a cliff bar. I decided to lay down and rest and hour by hour I would try to get up and powered up to do the next two stages which were about 27km/15mi at which  point I could get a hot meal. But it wasn't happening, I couldn't get my blood sugar level up. Then at 6am I had to make a final decision. There were no clouds in the sky so it was going to be wicked hot, itwould beat least 6hours to a hot meal an d I was still wiped out meant it would be an easy decisiion, the risk was too high. I beat the Atacama, but the Gobi got me...
I feel no disappointment in any way. In the Atacama I had to battle pain only, this was a fundamental health and safety issue. One competitor from a few days ago was taken off the course very ill to the hospital, this was a cautionary tale. There is a line between determination and recklessness and I was not going to cross that line. My mind said go, go, go, but then there was my mother and wife sitting on my shoulders and telling me "think about it, do the right thing". and I did. As I sit here typing this it is 53c/130f and 15 hours later I still feel drained. I know the Duke/NUS Medical School and Singhealth would agree with my decision.
So I gave it my best and came up short, but I hope you will respect the effort and generously support the charities.
KIPPster Gobi Lesson #5
We define ourselves not by how we deal with success but with adversity. Give everything your best shot all the time, but be smart and live to compete another day. A philosopher once said "that which doesn't kill you will make you stronger". Kenny Rogers sang "you need to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em"
The line I like the most which seems so appropriate right now is "That which I am committed to, I should be committed for". :-)
The #1 goal of the Gobi is to help others and that we are doing. Thank you for all your support.
And to all my friends here who have 22km to go tom'w, may you finish strong and healthy...
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Day Four: Bring on the HEAT!!!
01-Jul-2010 02:45:37 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Gobi March (China) 2010
Had another decent day today but tom'w looms for all of us. Our nice Uigher family we were staying with last night had one bad habit, staying up very late and loud right outside our door and windows until the wee hours. Just as the flies left us the party began. As we were up at 245am sleep was sparse. We were off at 4am for a 90 minutes drive to the start which began at 6am. Temp was nice and there was a cool (all relative) breeze. Start was to be up some stairs but they collapsed so we were rerouted. The sun came up at 7am in a great sunrise. Fully ran stage 1 and stage 2 for about 25km/15mi  and felt well.
Stage 3 was rated difficult and was well rated. Temp really heated up and we spent most of the afternoon in the sand slot canyons (think of a funnel where we are in the bottom of the funnel and the sand track is only 2-3 feet wide. You have no idea where you are and with out those pink flags you'd never find your way out). And you have no idea where the finish is but you are highly motivated to get it done. Used up all my water but always had a reserve bottle with recovery drink just in case. Got in in about 6 hours with the last 10km/6mi taking almost half the time. Finished with  a huge sand dune down which at times was a blast as it was similar to skiing powder just jumping from one dune to another. At the bottom we saw a Uigher Museum for the finish and actually we are sleeping in the Museum. The sand dune next to us is about as high as a 50 story building, amazing place. good news is there is no one to keep us awake tonight and a good nights sleep is key.
Tom'w is the big day in the Turpan Basin, 100km/60+mi. Its 4pm here now and its hot, no air con out here at the Uigher Museum. My guess is tom'w will take at least 24 hours and maybe 30. We have heard the finish is very difficult with some huge sand dunes. The good news is that we will be going through the night which will take the edge off. I can't even imagine this as the Atacama long day was only 75km/50mi. I may run some in the morning to get some mileage done but the heat and dark will reduce us mostly to trekking or a slow jog. Basically it's just one foot in front of the other, hydrate, eat and don't get lost. And the best news of all....STILL NO BLISTERS!!!! All my experimentation on footwear, socks and lubricant is paying off. Duke/NUS students will benefit for years from my studies on blisters   :-)
Polished off my beef jerky as my main recovery food and tom'w will be fueled by trail mix, lots of mango, Cliff bars and Bali All your messages of support are greatly appreciated including the world update. Any news on the oil spill? Why was China downgraded? Is my backup plan Brazil still in contention? These and other topics I'll have much time to ponder tom'w. In case you wonder what I think about while I'm out there I'll tell you...It's all of you who are family and friends and colleagues. To have a full day to be by yourself (I run alone most of the time and can't talk while wheezing anyway) is great. Today was Shelly day and I thought about all the things we've done together, 6 hours was not enough. Yesterday was Mom and Dad day and boy I did pick some great parents. Life at its best is full of positive people providing support, friendship and love and I am blessed with an abundance of each. Every now and then a negative e-mail slips into our lives and there is only one response...delete.
KIPPster Gobi Lesson #4
By my crude math I'll be taking close to one million steps in the race, if I thought about that I never could have started, just too daunting. The only two steps that matter are the first step, and then the next step. By repeating that continuously all your dreams will come true.
If you have a chance check out the charitable efforts of the other racers, every person I meet has an amazing story of the efforts they will go through to inspire and help others. They love what they do and do what they love but also see the bigger picture of what life is really about.
I will have to skip a day on the blog as I'll be on the course, stay tuned...
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