|Gobi March||China||2 Jun 2013|
|RacingThePlanet: Iceland||Iceland||4 Aug 2013|
|Sahara Race||Egypt||16 Feb 2014|
|Gobi March||China||1 June 2014|
|RacingThePlanet: Madagascar||Madagascar||31 Aug 2014|
|Atacama Crossing||Chile||5 Oct 2014|
|The Last Desert||Antarctica||16 Nov 2014|
|Sahara Race||Egypt||15 Feb 2015|
|Gobi March||China||31 May 2015|
|Atacama Crossing||Chile||4 Oct 2015|
Being the highly rational (paranoid) person I am, the nightmares have officially started. The faces of claustrophobia, severe isolation, starvation, heat stroke, weight gain (this one is beyond me), and bodily harm are all building up in my sleeping mind, like a raging Hydra. I’ve started waking up in the middle of the night, ripping at my boyfriend’s arm because I’ve slept only to face one Gobi related disaster after another. (Last night was a “Survivor” styled episode where I was voted out of the tent and left to freeze to death outside).
I’ve done my research and my training and I feel like I’m as prepared as I’m going to be, but there is that lingering fear that I’ve done something wrong. Whether it be that I haven’t gathered the appropriate gear, that I’ve gotten my nutrition all wrong, that my childhood aversion to heat will become a factor or that I haven’t spent enough time going up and down mountains to train, the fear is building.
Fear is natural (I hope) before an adventure such as this and there is little doubt in my mind that I can do this and make it through what I hope will end up being a nice long stroll through the desert, but I really wish my head would quiet down. We’ve got 13 days left; there really isn’t all that much that I change or do anymore. I guess it’s really just to get out there and hope my fears will allay when we have the Gobi staring us in the face.
It’s almost here! I know I’m not ready and I’m beyond mentally drained and terrified as the big day draws closer, but I just want to get there already! Need to get to that damn starting line and get going!
I’m not ready and whatever crap I was spewing a few months ago about finishing high in the rankings just seems like overambitious nonsense to me now, where all I wanted was to convince myself that I was a superstar. Yeah, it’s not happening. I’m down to the point where I’ll be happy just finishing this thing and getting that medal at the end. Walk, run, crawl, it doesn’t matter. I just want to get through those 250kms, collapse gasping for air about 2 meters past the finish line and then crawl, tail between my legs, back home and into bed.
These past few weeks, I feel like I’ve been riding the most insane emotional rollercoaster, where I’ve had to let in the fact that I’m not super confident and I’m not the “rockstar” that my friend’s and their parents make me out to be. I’ve been having complete emotional breakdowns day after day after day and have had to get my ass kicked more than once back into line.
I have refused to train for this race with music and without it it’s been next to impossible to shut off that little voice in my head screaming that my legs are going to fall off if I go any further. So, having a group of people there to kick my ass, whether yelling at me to go faster up a hill or quite literally kicking my ass, or listening to me hysterically cry over the phone to them or giving me tips and advice as to how much to drink and when, and what to pack, has been amazing. If it wasn’t for people like them, forget making it through the entire race, I don’t know if I’d even make it through the first day.
So really, to people who have tolerated my incessant crap, from my training partners, and my best friends, and the “shifu” thank goodness for you.
58 days. 58 days. It is still so far, but it’s getting closer, creeping up on me. It feels like ages ago that I first signed up for this race, way back in July. Back then, it merely seemed like some idle fantasy, something that I had ages to train and fundraise for, something oddly insignificant that would never come to pass.
However, so much has changed in the months since I signed up for the race. I’ve started running (really running), completed two triathlons, traveled extensively, met the person who I already recognize as my other half, started playing rugby again, reconnected with my best friend, quit several activities that were bringing only bringing me stress, took up yoga, and really began mending my body.
Most significantly though, when I began this process, I was motivated solely by fear; the fear that I was never going to be good enough, not for me, not for my parents, not for my family, not for my friends. Completing this race was meant to be a way to show the world that I am good enough, that I can take on the greatest of challenges and come out on top.
For over a decade, my fear of being the weak link manifested itself as rage, because I hated feeling like I was never going to be good enough. For years I proved to be a powerful athlete whether in swimming or rugby or surfing, because of this fear. Rage was the driving force behind my tackles, turns, strokes, and paddles; and the primary reason why I just could not let go of all the sports in my life. I needed a socially acceptable outlet for my internal struggles. If I didn’t have them I worried that I would eventually build up so much fear and rage within me, that I’d crack.
Now, thanks in part to this race and the countless solo, i-pod-less, hours I have spent training for it, by hiking and running through the trails and peaks of Hong Kong where I have been forced to take a cold, hard look at myself and what it is that I actually want out of life and thanks to the constant attention, support, and help of some close friends and my boyfriend, things have begun to shift. I have gone from fearing who I am and my future to beginning to see that I am already strong and powerful and that I can and will do whatever I put my mind to. I’m always going to be afraid of change and the future, but now, I’m starting to realize that no matter what life throws at me, I’ll find a way to make it work. It’s strange to no longer be motivated solely by fear, to realize I’m no longer the awkward high schooler who made herself a social pariah. It’s actually quite liberating.
Who would have thought that a race and a little help from my friends would have so great of an impact? Initially, I was going to complete this race to prove something to myself and my family, but the thing is, I already have, and I haven’t even reached the starting line yet.
Yes, there are things that I would alter about this process if I had the chance. For one, I would have put a much more active focus on my fundraising efforts, but one step at a time. Self-healing first; and now that I’m getting there, I can start to more effectively help others.
Rye, New York
Fixed Income Analyst
Why are you competing?
My greatest flaw/attribute in life is my incessant
need to each day push myself harder and farther
than the last. At this point in my life, this race
is the greatest and hardest thing that I can
fathom; therefore, it must be conquered.