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NEXT ROVING RACE: MADAGASCAR 2014

RacingThePlanet: Iceland 2013 Blogs

Stage 5: completed and resting, blog 1 of 2
09-Aug-2013 05:25:29 AM [(GMT-06:00) Central Time(US & Canada)]

ok everyone. thank you all so much for your comments and emails.  you people are amazing.  i had a really tough stage 3.  it pretty much broke me.  you know it does when you are openly weeping with some random guy on the trail and he totally understands.  i made it through though, but couldn;t get it together enough to get to the cyber tent.  stage 4 was beautiful and i really enjoyed it, but i had to take it very slowly.  i did something to my left hip and pretty much every step has been painful. on the last section of stage 4 it started raining so once i got to camp and changed clothes, it started pouring before i could get into the cyper tent.  i wasnt doing it.  yesterday was the long march...just shy of 40 miles.  sweet holy moses, i am tired.  me feet are shredded. my hip is terribly sore and left ankle is swollen as well as the right knee.  no matter i finished.  all we have left is about 6 miles tomorrow, and i will crawl if i have to.  we have confiscated a gymnasium at a community center so it looks like a refuge camp around here.  no matter, i got a hot shower last night and didn;t have to sleep in a tent with wind and rain. 
 
i will do another blog update today that talks about the stages since there is such a time constraint on these computers.  i spent so long reading all of your wonderful comments.  i will also do one last blog after the finish tomorrow just recapping everything.  thank you all again...i am so glad that is over.  i think i deserve beef fajitas from lupe tortilla along with one of their margaritas and about 6 baskets of chips with queso and one of my grandmother;s chocolate pies all served to me as i spend 3 days in my bed!!!
Blog 2 Stage 3-5
09-Aug-2013 04:05:04 AM [(GMT-06:00) Central Time(US & Canada)]

So i somewhat given ideas of what stages 1 & 2 were like, but i feel like i was justtelling how difficult everything was.  Just knowthat this place is beautiful even with questionable weather.  on days where we had sunshine, it was amazing, but still this has been the most physically and mentally challenging week of my life. I have heard that this course is not as difficult as others, but weather conditions have been unbelievable. 

Stage 3 was a terrible day for me. I had some blister, foot issues fron stage 2. Stage 3 was mostly ash trails. Itlooked like we were walking on the moon for a while. I had to stop every 2-3 miles just to empty my shoes and socks...how i wish i had gaiters. It was a long fairly flat course on a beautiful day. My hip was bothering me so i took my time. It was crazy because this was the shorter day. The weather was beautiful. We had all bundled up before leaving camp bc it was so cold at our campsite. The previous night we were bused to a different location bc there was less wind there. When everyone exited the bus, it was a mass gear change. Everyone was pulling off layers...it was too funny. After about a mile i stopped behind a not so private rock bc i actually had to change from thermal pants to tights. Nothing like changing out in the open. All the guys in our tent were complaining about having to use the restroom on the course in the cold...i stopped that complaining quickly. Anyway, changing put me behind normal but kept going. That day at each checkpoint there was at least one person who had pulled out. It was nuts mostly bc it was the nicest weather day, but i hear its mentally a hard day. I totally get that. Before cp3 i was crying on the course. My hip and feet hurt so badly,but i talked myself through it and made it to cp3. Saw a couple i know and was reassured bc they were struggling too. When i got to halfway mark between cp3 and the camp, i meet up with a guy from CA. We decided we both needed company so we would finish together. He and i had met before so we got to know each other better through 5k of pure hell. If i never see rock again, i will die happy. These werent gravel sized rocks but rock the size of my fist if not larger. It was so terrible i dont even know how to explain it, but 5k downhill with large rocks on terrible feet and swollen hip was just aweful. At one point i told him i was going to have to cry in front of him or either stab someone through the heart with my trekking pole! I cried, then we laughed bc we were strangers and he totally understood. His friend told me it was probably bc bryan was crying inside. That morning one of my tentmates could tell i wasnt ready so he told me if i finished he would give me some of the dark chocolate he had been carrying. I got to the tent. Dropped my stuff and feel apart. He kept asking if i was ok. All i could say was that i finished so i wanted my chocolate! Thats why michelle blogged for me. I took 2 melatonin and slept soundly that night.

Stage 4 was probably my favorite day. The course was a bit more challenging and i was going very slowly bc of the hip. The weather was chilly and not as nice as the day before. We went through a lava tube which started us off a little later due to the wait to enter the tube, but i loved it. So cool. We went over horse and jeep tracks that day through some beautiful landscape. I still didnt take many pictures. It was just too much with poles and glove and being exhausted. Halfway through section 3 we started to climb. It was tough and more rock. After cp3 it started to rain...i was just thankful we made it that far through the week without rain. After we got to the top, we went through a geothermal pool area. Just unbelievable. So from the previous days of grit and rain, my eyes were just draining all kinds of junk over night. With that i figured on stage 4 that i should wear my glasses and by the time i got to the thermal pools my vision was so cloudy that i couldnt see the pink flags. There was a man near me that i stayed with the rest of the time. He didnt speak any english, but he knew one curse word at least. It was so funny bc when he realized we were crossing a river he started using his english, but he gathered two stones and tossed one into the stream. Hopped onto it and threw the other so he could get across..he then turned around and yelled, come mandi come. Yeah, those stones were too far apart with my bum hip. I got a shoe full of water...not that it mattered bc itwas starting to storm. I was really late into camp and by the time i was dry in my tent the weather started up again. No cyber tent for me instead it was a rainy windy night in the tent. Gladly i was in the center and didnt get wet, but all in all stage 4 wasnt terrible for me, just long and slow.

Stage 5 was the 39 mile day. No day of 39 miles sounds good to me. It was raining and cold all day long and of course the hurricane force winds started again. Section 1 was easy...wet and cold. Section 2 was tougher, but when i looked up i was beautifuleven in the wind and sleet...yeah that wasnt even mile 12. Section 3 was preety flat in the driving wind and rain and about 4k across a black sand beach. I loved it. The third section was across lava cliffs. They were an unbelievable sight even if all the up and down killed my hip and my ankle started to swell at this point. Sections 4 and 5 were pretty flat. We just wanted to finish. Michelle and i stayed together all day for the first time. It was a good day not to go alone. We finished about 10:45pm after starting at 8am. A full day of wind and rain, but we finished. They brought us to this community center gym for thurs and fri night. We havent done anything. I was able to have a hot shower and spent some time in the hot tub, but everyone is hobbling around. We should finish around noon tomorrow at the blue lagoon pools.

To be honest., i cant believe i got through this. There were multiple times i thought i couldnt do it. Knowing so many people thought i would finish was a huge support...those funny comments and prayers and support really helped when i was all alone on the course. Thank you all so much!!!
Stage 3
06-Aug-2013 08:26:27 AM [(GMT-06:00) Central Time(US & Canada)]

Hi. This is michelle bloging briefly for mandi. The day was very hard. The good news is she finished and is now resting. The terraine was tough. Lots of rocks but some really spectacular views. She is ok. Pray for strength tomorrow. It will be difficult.
stage 2--relentless wind
05-Aug-2013 06:49:31 AM [(GMT-06:00) Central Time(US & Canada)]

first and foremost, you guys are amazing.  today was brutal, but these emails and comments have totally made my day.  it makes me very emotional, and as you all know not my favorite thing in front of a bunch of strangers. :)

 

the first section was on a road. i felt okay, and we had a tail wind.  i jogged on the downhills and hiked the rest. seriously, this wind here is relentless.  i feel like that goofy guy from the weather channel who stands in the path of a hurricane.   i lost one of my contacts beforee check point 1, and the wind was too bad for me to try and put another one in so i went all the way to cp2 with only one contact. that was great fun being that the section affter cp1 was nothing but rocks and grit. after cp2, it was torture.  it was supposed to be a shorter stretch, but along a riverside with a hurricane force head wind to a vertical climb up a mountain side to cp3 about did me in.  it was brutal. then after we passed cp3 we still had farther to go to crest said mountain.  there were spots where i had to stop because i couldnt stand straight with the wind off of the glacier.  then we walked along the glacier lake for a bit...there might be a picture of me there.  not that you can see anything but my eyes bc im so covered.  look for a pink jacket.  im number 10.  it took forever to get to the 4th cp.  i really struggled to get there.  after cp4 they said just over 6 miles to the buses since they were bringing us to another campsite hoping to avoid some of the wind.  anyway that last stretch was relatively flat.  i was on a mission to sit down.  i think i passed 12 people along the way, mind you, i sacraficed a few toenails along the way.  about 9.5 hours for 47km...you do the conversion.  it was 46km yesterday.  tomorrow and thursday are supposed to be a bit shorter, but rumor is that thursday is going to be pretty tough.  i really dont know about that.  this is physically the hardest thing in the world.  12 or so people have dropped out.  a few of the front runners were injured.  this is nuts. im exhausted, filty, and now have to work on my feet before a take a wet wipe bath!! good times.  5 days until a shower. 6 days until the spa.  i hope i can finish this. 

 

jess, sorry i forgot while blogging yesterday, but i hope you have a great 30!!  hamid, your comments made me laugh out loud.  i needed that...plus three of my tentmates are guys from the UK.  they have kept me entertained. :)  everyone else, thank you so much.  it really means a great deal to me.

Stage 1...check!
04-Aug-2013 02:57:23 AM [(GMT-06:00) Central Time(US & Canada)]

Oh my goodness!!! This is no joke.  I completed stage 1 in just over 8 hours, I think.  It was a technically easy course,since they changed the course at the last minute due to the cold weather and crazy strong wind. Justin, that wind is no joke, and apparently it is unseasonably strong, and we joked about all my layers but I was wearing everything before the race started. 

Anyway, I have only received the few blog comments that I was able to read before i left the hotel yesterday. You guys rock. If I dont respond to each of you please know i appreciate you all. Thanksfor taking the time to follow and comment. Hopefully, they’ll have them available to read later tonight. If not I’ll likely have two days worth to read tomorrow.

Back to the race. They changed the course this morning because of the weather so no river crossing and 28 miles instead of 29...I think. It was long, but not terribly technical except for that crazy wind...it was at least tropical force winds. Insanely strong. I literally was leaning to one side at different points to keep standing straight. I didnt really have any problems until about mile 26. I was just very tired and really hungry at that point. The rest of the race I kept a pretty good pace and didnt really have any issues, but man my shoulders are sore and my feet are tired. So the next goal is to finish stage 2 tomorrow.  It is supposed to be about 28 miles and hopefully not windy or raining. Im concerned that tomorrow is going to difficult mentally for me, but we shall see.

Forgivethe spelling and punctuation. This keyboard is unusal for me and I walked 28 miles today so dont judge!!! Thanks again everyone. Your support and faith that i can do this is huge to me.

Here goes nothing!!
03-Aug-2013 11:32:55 AM [(GMT-06:00) Central Time(US & Canada)]

So I've had my last shower for the next seven days. We've had our mandatory meeting this morning, and now I'm just waiting on my turn for gear check. Hoping & praying the backpack isn't too heavy. One of the great things about meeting other competitors is that lots of them have the same concerns. Food, weight, clothes, rain, etc. Its wonderful & sunny in the city, but they informed us this morning that campsite 1 was relocated due to wind & rain. Also apparently on stage 1, which is tomorrow, we have our first water crossing. Apparently, for us shorter folks that could be hip deep. Oh dear! Anyway, it's gear check, lunch, then a four hour bus ride to campsite 1 with a little stop at the famous geyser. Still not sure what I've gotten myself into, but I'm not the only one. :)
MANDI AUSTIN
RacingThePlanet: Iceland 2013

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MANDI AUSTIN
RacingThePlanet: Iceland 2013 competitor

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