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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Stage 5 in the bag.
05-Sep-2014 07:45:09 AM [(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time(US & Canada)]

48 plus miles. 13:15ish. 65th place ish.

-night before long day and my heart is a car engine in my chest. When I get anxious at night I try to breathe and be present, who knows what’s tomorrow. -2 hours sleep and rip my toe on the tent post 10 minutes before race. This could be a very long and bad day. Upside: steve is in top form after the rough one the day before. I decide I will lean on others today. -I decided last night whenever I went into the pain cave or doubted the outcome of the long haul I would quietly say to myself “serenity” and “grace.” It will be my pivot on the course…something to come back to when my mind wanders. -We find nick and mike the start line. Mike slept awful and nick feels good. So steve and nick up front and Matt and Mike sweeping. -Begin. -Steve pushes the first 10k, everyone knows you have to get trail behind you before the sun hits high intensity. -First 2 check points are dust and sand (again). I feel rocks in my shoes. I put the bandana over my mouth and work the system: electrolyte from pack bladder, small sip, every two minutes; salt pill at the 50min mark; timer to beep for pill. After first pill I realize I did not reset timer. I am low in head juice…focus needed. -First 20k is a blur. Feet in sand, sand to dust, dust to a coating of mud in shoes, and a thin layer on all our skin. Villagers clap. Steve pushes a heavier pace. The rest of us joke. The sky opens up and the day arrives in force. -11am: 3 hours slogging and my mind is going dark. I think about everywhere but the trail: I wonder if I am doing anything productive with my life. I wonder if I bring a net good into the world. I wonder about vanity and ego. I wonder if this is a selfish act by a selfish underdeveloped man-boy. -Serenity. Grace. -We are nearing half way and I know this is going to be a low point (hoping only one of the day). I tell the boys I am going to put on some music (Nick asks if I am in the “house of pain”…”big time brother”) -Toe hurts, ripped section is filling sand, feet hurt, not even half way, light headed, beginning to feel it slip. -I pick up my head and see these amazing trees we are running through (mid day we do 1 min run 3 walk…steve is pushing it however, he will admit later, we all respond that we knew). I take a moment and try to see the sky. -Serenity. Grace. -I feel on the horizon the other side of this hurt. I can feel the darkness receding. I get emotional. I say a blessing to the trail. -Back half: We make it to check point 5 (the over night check point for anyone who needs to sleep for a few hours before the end of the 80k) and sit for some quick food. We did the first 24.5 miles in about 7 hours with 10min stops at each check point. We guess it will be a 16hr day. -I feel ready ...to my left are these canyons that become shot through with purple when the light hits. Between the rock wall and us rice paddies and sun kissed locals finishing the day. It is the hour of calm. -Serenity. Grace. -We begin the final section…Nick and Steve push and Mike and I talk. I ask him if this is all some caveman bullshit about who is the strongest. He says: “reckon so…but it is good to be someone who sets big goals and does them.” I like this. -Twilight…time to push I say. We up the pace. -Headlamps on and we go down the rabbit hole. The villages we move through blur, noise is an auditory hallucination, the ground beneath me begins to bend at the edges and tunnel. I know the night run, been here…actually like it. -Serenity. Grace. -We push. -With 18k left Steve and I are done, mike and nick tell us to go on. -Steve and I push off…2min run, 2 walk- and every other set is running until someone calls uncle. -I wonder if I am a good brother, son, cousin, partner. I wonder if love is a construct or real. I wonder if this pain will ever stop. I wonder about my swollen feet. I wonder if I will clip a rock and this will all be taken back. -Last check point. Serenity. Grace. -We push off knowing camp is next, just up that hill, around that corner, around the turn, soon, soon, soon… -My stomach goes with about a ¼ mile…quick vomit…tell steve to keep running. -Done. -We negative the back half and finish off the day. The next 30mins was a bit messy…but all is well that ends well.

Thorn: the day Rose: the day

Tis all good here. I am happy and healthy. Tomorrow we walk a 10k and finish this odyssey. Thanks for all the love and support- comments keep me going. Next you hear from me all be off course. Warmth to all unfolding in all the wild ways life unfolds.

7 COMMENTS

Jessica Elizondo

Posted: 09-Sep-2014 07:02:52 PM

Matt- it's been amazing reading about your journey- can't wait to hear all about it when you come back to the office. Your body will certainly be ready for that adjustment and massage! Best of luck with the ending moments! Sending prayers your way.

Matt Futterman

Posted: 09-Sep-2014 12:45:07 AM

You are my hero. Te season of love awaits you in New York. Serenity grace.

Amanda Lewis

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 02:18:39 AM

Stu-pen-dous. Congratulations. Really impressive.

Mike Lewis

Posted: 06-Sep-2014 01:22:45 AM

Whoa! Great work. Way to get there. You did it. That's something nobody will take away from you. We're thinking of you over here

Natalie Schneider

Posted: 05-Sep-2014 08:16:24 PM

Simply..Amazing...so happy you and Steve are healthy and safe!!! Huge sign of relief! Congratulations, you two are incredible!

Natalie Schneider

Posted: 05-Sep-2014 08:16:19 PM

Simply..Amazing...so happy you and Steve are healthy and safe!!! Huge sign of relief! Congratulations, you two are incredible!

Malin Lager

Posted: 05-Sep-2014 08:11:33 PM

The end is near... knew you and Steve would help each through the long run and make it out on the other side. Such an inspiration to those reading. Like Mike says "It is good to be someone who sets big goals and does them."

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MATT LEWIS
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

Hometown
Santa Fe, NM

Profession
Obscure humanities PhD candidate

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MATT LEWIS
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 competitor

Bio

Academia by way of nonprofit work by way of selling scripts and books in the entertainment industry.

Hometown
Santa Fe, NM

Profession
Obscure humanities PhD candidate

Why are you competing?
reminder that joy and fun are not always the same
thing. The former often requires everything you
have - pain, sweat, training, effort upon effort -
while the latter a tv-couch-evening-after-work.
Both have there place and time. Good to know
difference.

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