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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

“Doubt"
27-Aug-2014 01:08:10 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

I’m off to Madagascar today to get ready for my sixth 250km ‘Racing the Planet’ ultra-running race, which starts on Sunday 31 Aug and finishes up Saturday 6 September. For 240 of us from 42 countries, ahead lies a marathon each day for six days across wild and remote landscapes. I’ll lug a 7kg pack with all my gear, as it is self supported. We’ll dodge wildlife and quite a few of us will probably get lost at various times. Actually, I once thought I was going to die in the Gobi when I went off course and ran out of water for hours. The Atacama, Gobi, Sahara, Antarctica and Namibian Deserts all tested my limits between 2004 and 2009. Now five years later, I set out to test myself again. Last week, I pretty much decided to pull the pin on the whole thing. I have just done so little training - ridiculously little training. I wouldn’t even call it training. I couldn’t even get myself motivated to buy, let alone pack my equipment. This is not like me! Tired from travel and with an unrelenting work diary, I just basically felt I couldn’t be bothered doing Madagascar. Perhaps it was too much cheese, wine and sunshine on a recent holiday in Spain and Italy with mates, where I actually took the foot off the gas for once. It felt good. I got into ‘life’s too short, enjoy it and don’t torture yourself’ mode. All sorts of negative thoughts flooded through my head last week: “You’ve done five of these before: does a sixth really matter?” and "Who cares how interesting Madagascar sounds: a quick break to catch up on sleep in the Maldives would be much better.” But I came to the conclusion that as much as life IS about eating cheese and drinking great wine and glamorous holidays and pure relaxation, paradoxically it’s also not. I reflected that the reason I originally signed up for Madagascar was to give myself that giant pin prick - that it’s important to sometimes clamber out of the bubble and cross-check one’s physical and mental limits. In doing 250km on foot in one of these events, I learn more about myself than a year of normal living. I road-test my pain threshold and re-check my concentration levels. There are no tech distractions - no showers or luxury. Just 240 of us, moving along through the landscape, in a similar aura of stink, facing the same physical hurdles, irrespective of outside success or failures, wealth or debt. This one is REALLY going to hurt. I know I’m in for an almighty hiding in Madagascar. Perhaps that’s part of the curiosity this time. Can I complete this with so little training? Will I finally crack? How bad will the blisters be? Since I haven’t trained with my gear or my pack, how terrifying will the chafing be? Will I just make it to Day three of six and then check into a hotel? Stay tuned from Day 1 on Sunday 31 August 1) You can follow daily at http://www.4deserts.com/beyond/madagascar/ 2) You can send a message at: http://www.4deserts.com/beyond/madagascar/email (I’m competitor 32) 3) My company will re-post my daily blog updates via Facebook 4) I’m raising money for The Tommy Lim Initiative, and we’ll publish details later this week. Tommy was a colleague who passed away. Concluding with a special thanks to the close mates who rallied around me, over the last week, to give me that push I needed to JUST DO IT.
4 COMMENTS

Valerie Hayden

Posted: 31-Aug-2014 12:52:51 AM

You can do this Matt! And while doing it, have fun;-)

Helen Wheeler

Posted: 30-Aug-2014 11:37:23 AM

Hey Matty, Call me unorthodox, but I am going to say that all that cheese and wine and relaxation WAS training :-). A few spare calories and a bit of time kicking back will definitely have done you good and you go into this race with a relatively unstressed body : It was an extra long taper! I'm also going to say, that this race is actually not a race : It's a bit more training! For your life and for your body! I have no doubt that you will get stronger every day that you are out there (though possibly not less blistered!), and that you can do this if you want to. I'll sign off with a proper (paraphrased) quote rather than my self-penned drivel : 'What lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you'. Sending lots of love, will check in every day, enjoy and surprise yourself. Wheelie xxx

Jeff McLean

Posted: 30-Aug-2014 01:21:14 AM

Great write up Matt, look forward to your daily updates.

Jeff McLean

Posted: 30-Aug-2014 01:21:08 AM

Great write up Matt, look forward to your daily updates.

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MATT CHAPMAN
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

Hometown
Singapore

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CEO

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MATT CHAPMAN
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Entrepreneur with interests predominantly in the recruitment sector and secondary interests in farming and hospitality.

Hometown
Singapore

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CEO

Why are you competing?
To re-sync my personal and work balance. Ironic
that it takes entering an ultra marathon to get
myself focused on this!

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