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Live Race Coverage
13 - 19 May 2012

RacingThePlanet: Jordan 2012 Blogs

Wow, what a crazy 48 hours. Where to start?
18-May-2012 03:56:25 AM [(GMT-07:00) Mountain Time(US & Canada)]

Since I last posted we have had a snake in camp that was gotten rid of by the local bedouins looking after camp. It was spotted in a hole in the middle of the open area.  We pointed out a similar hole in our tent and had about 30 minutes of digging and shoveling to see if a snake was there.  They couldn't decide if there was one or not, so poured gas down the hole and told us we'd be fine.  None of us woke up with a snake in our bed, so I guess we were okay.

 

The next night we had a wicked sand storm that blew our tent down.  One of my tent mates is a tiny 62 year old Japanese woman, Kita, and there she was holding onto poles trying to keep the tent up while wind and sand were blowing around.  Again, we all survived once the tent was up, and got a decent sleep after emptying the sand from the sleeping bag.

 

Next came the long march.  My day started alright but it was very hot.  I haven't seen results, but I'm sure my place as dropped significantly.  The day started with 37 km through a canyon....the temperature was very hot and by 9 or so there was no shade.  A group of us also went off course a little, so by the time I reached checkpoint 4, which was 37 km in, I was overheated.  It's estimated my temperature was somewhere around 103 - 104 and it took 2 hours to cool me down enough to carry on....yes, I carried on.  I know some of you are probably thinking it was foolish, particularly given it was a 10 km climb out of the canyon.  However, by the time I left the check point it was 4:30, I was leaving the canyon and had a breeze and I was feeling good.  Medical gave me a green light to go, so I went.  There was a period of time when I was lying in the tent trying to get cooled off that I was convinced my race was done.  There were lots of emotions, some tears but through it all I knew I had to do what was sensible and if I couldn't properly cool down I would not have continued on. 

 

Once I was ready to go I persevered and with 50 km left to go and 18 hours left to complete it I figured I'd go slow and if I needed to stop I would.  I put safety first and I truly felt good and strong particularly once the sun went down and I had a nice night hike through Jordanian countryside.  11 hours later, at 3:30 this morning I crossed the finish into our final camp site.  Today is a rest day and tomorrow a quick 5 km jaunt to the Treausury in Petra which is our finish line.

 

Part of what got me through yesterday was thinking of everyone back home.  I know people wouldn't be disappointed if I didn't finish, but there was still the sense of not wanting to disappoint people and also myself.  Today I feel good and strong, and know that my decision to carry on was the right one.

 

I have loved reading all the messages and blog comments from everyone.  It has been incredibly motivating for me.  Manny, I'm enjoying my time and hope school and lacrosse coaching is going well for you.  Mom, Ann, Liz and Christine, I know you'll think I'm crazy for carrying on, but believe me I felt good and wouldn't have risked my safety.  Can't wait to share more stories with you.  Everyone, thanks for taking the time to read my blog and send me messages!

 

This is my last post from the front lines, but I will try to get access to a computer from the hotel tomorrow to read any comments that might be posted.  Thanks everyone!!  Lots of love,  Mary

Life at Camp
16-May-2012 08:10:50 AM [(GMT-07:00) Mountain Time(US & Canada)]

Well, I'm done Stage 4 and ready for the long march tomorrow.  89 kms of rocky trail taking us 5 km away from Petra.  Today involved more loose sand, some long uphill portions and ended with rocky road.  We are camped on top of a canyon and it looks very much like Drumheller for those of you in Alberta.  It is extremely windy which is nice for the cooling effect.

 

So, I thought I would give you an overview of a typical day.  The fires are started around 4:30 and by 5:00 many people are up.  We make our breakfast, and then pack for the day, making sure anything needed for the day is easily accessible in the front pack.  The course briefing for the day is at 6:30 by which time we must be out of our tent, then we start off at 7 am.

 

I am consistently finished by 1:30 pm, and the rest of the afternoon is spent snacking, blogging, dozing and then eating around 5:30 pm.  Camp fasion is very diverse.  We are being hosted by local bedouins who wear a long floor length overcoat over pants with  leather belt wrapped around their chest and waist.  Then we have the Italians after they are in for the day wandering around in speedos and bikinis.  It makes for an interesting contrast.

 

I am now day 5 without a shower and my hair is a mass of salt, sand and dried sweat.  3 more days and I'll get my hot shower and be able to wash my hair.  My legs are covered in heat rash the end of each day but it seems to be gone each morning.  Yesterday one of my tent mates set up a thermometer on his shoe in the sand just outside our tent.  At 4 pm it read 50 celcius, so it is definitely hot!

 

I'm still doing well, feeling reasonably strong and am hoping to manage the long day okay.  I won't be blogging tomorrow, so expect my final update on Friday, which will be my free day.

 

Thanks for all the well wishes everyone.  Love to all!

Mary

Stage 3 complete
15-May-2012 07:39:45 AM [(GMT-07:00) Mountain Time(US & Canada)]

Hello everone.First, thank you again for all the messages!!  It means so much to read them and know that people at home are thinking about the event.  I haven,t see any of the course photos that are posted and likely won't see them until I get home.  Glad I made the cut, though, and that I look ultra-ish, Ann.

 

Camp 3 is set high up in a canyon and today we moved from Wadi Rum to a different Wadi I can't remember the name of.  Wadi is a valley, so we running through valleys along the desert floor.  Today the temp hit 40 and there was a section of salt flats to run through.  I felt the strongest today so far and am glad we are almost done with loose sand.  My legs are feeling good and I seem to be recovering well between days. I haven't fallen in the toilet yet!!!  I'm going through about 8 litres of fluid each day and staying well hydrated in this heat is a big factor I'm sure.

 

Mike, the coffee is the highlight of my day!!!Can't thank you and Spirit Bear Coffee enough!!!

 

Manny, hope all is well and school is good. Miss you and love you.

 

Keep the messages coming everyone!!

 

Lots of  love to you all!

 

Mary

Stage 2
14-May-2012 07:07:05 AM [(GMT-07:00) Mountain Time(US & Canada)]

Hello everyone,  Thank you for all the messages!  I is such a highlight to read the messages after a long day of running.

 

Another hot day today, about the same distance as yesterday, just under 40 km.  We had a little cloud cover for part of the morning, which was a welcome relief, but I was a tough day of lots of loose sand and some long uphills.  Again the scenery is stunning and I’m feeling pretty good.

 

I have my first blister.   I have it all bandaged up so hopefully it does’t cause me more problems.  Also have a little chafing and sore shoulders from the pack and have a little sunburn.  I know, I sound a mess, but I feel pretty good!

 

Manny, thanks for the mother’s day wishesJ  I miss you and hope everything is going okay.

 

Mike, I brewed a double strength coffee this morning…it made my day!!  Lots of hugs and see you in a few weeks.

Ann, pass on my message to mom.  Tell her I’m surviving

 

Keep the messages coming!  Tomorrow will be more of the same!

 

Love to all!

Mary

Day 1 is Done
13-May-2012 02:42:53 AM [(GMT-07:00) Mountain Time(US & Canada)]

Well, my first stage is finished and I survived!  It is hot, reaching high 27 by 10 am, and apparently hit high 30's.  Luckily there was a nice breeze to keep things cool.  The week is supposed to remain hot and the nights are only dipping down to about 18 degrees.  I'm happy with how the day went and plan on taking each day as it comes. If every day goes like this I'll be happy providing I can recover well trhough the remainder of the day.

 

Tonight we are camped by some amazing rock formations.  The scenery is stark but beautiful.  I now have several hours just to hang out in camp, rest, visit and eat!

 

Saw a herd of camels today.  We are also seeing and experiencing lots of local bedouin culture.  I'm enjoying the local musicians around the campfire at night and the locals we see while running all smile and wave (probably think we are all crazy).  The only thing I can't claim to enjoy are the authentic toilets at camp.  A hole in the ground with a tent around it.  Some of the holes are quite wide and as the week goes by and the legs get tired it will be interesting to balance over it....hopefully I won't be blogging about falling in.

 

I've had a chance to see some of the messages that have come in to me.  Thanks for the well wishes!  I'm having a great time!!  Hopefully the amazing Zandy, course photographer, has some photos posted so you can see the amazing place I'm in.  I'll be home in a few weeks with pictures and stories to tell!

 

Manny, I hope everything is going okay...don't forget to check on punkie!  Mike, thanks for the Spirit Bear Coffee.  This morning I was the envy of everyone with the press and fresh coffee!  Ann, Liz and Christine, say hi to mom for me and let her know I'm doing fine.

 

I'll be checking back in tomorrow!!

 

Mary

MARY NIELSEN
RacingThePlanet: Jordan 2012

Hometown
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Profession
I am a Health & Fitness Specialist in an employee fitness facility at the U of A hospital in Edmonton. I help health professionals make healthy lifestyle changes, provide personal training and teach fitness classes. And it is the most fun I've ever

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MARY NIELSEN
RacingThePlanet: Jordan 2012 competitor

Bio

I worked for 15 years in a corporate setting as an HR specialist. About 6 years ago I decided to take the leap and make a major career change and do what I love and became a personal trainer and health & fitness specialist at the U of A Hospital's employee fitness centre. I am fortunate to work at something that I truly love, which is sharing my passion for health & fitness with others. My success is defined by seeing individuals make lifestyle changes that ultimately make them stronger, healthier people.

Hometown
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Profession
I am a Health & Fitness Specialist in an employee
fitness facility at the U of A hospital in
Edmonton. I help health professionals make
healthy lifestyle changes, provide personal
training and teach fitness classes. And it is the
most fun I've ever

Why are you competing?
My reason for running in Jordan is to challenge
myself. I also look at it as an opportunity to
see an amazing part of the world, meet amazing
people from all over the world and take part in an
amazing experience.

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