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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Final Reflections.
12-Sep-2014 03:21:37 AM [(GMT+04:00) Abu Dhabi, Muscat]

The last 10k were brutal on my poor blister ridden feet. I literally had to drag my left foot and leg the whole way and this caused pain in other areas of my body but I pushed myself as hard as I could, I wanted to finish. When I crossed the finish line I felt elation mixed with various emotions. Was this it? How was I meant to feel? Elated, happy, sad it was all over? It had been such an intense week that had constantly involved racing, packing, sleeping and eating that I had not had time to process everything. I was as far removed from my 'normal' life as could have been possible - I have never been camping for longer than one night, I have never completed a marathon before let alone six, I had never not had access to some form of running water to wash in, I had not shared a room with seven other people since I was backpacking, certainly never in this close proximity....for this reason I loved what I was doing, how far can you challenge and push yourself out of your comfort zone really shows strength of character, however it also meant I had to adjust quickly. It was not easy. I felt some seriously dark moments on the course and in the middle of the night; that made me question everything I was doing.

 

The amazing parts of the week were my tent mates; I imagine not everyone is always so lucky. We had a real mix of personalities with different strengths and weaknesses. We woke up laughing every day, even near the end of the week when we were all exhausted and battling our demons, and I loved that. We were read poetry before we went to sleep each night by the lovely Matt, who had the most soothing hypnotic voice - I can’t tell you how this helped me relax after the long days on the course. We teased and made fun of each other, I was constantly told to 'suck it up' by Susan if I wanted a moan about an ache or pain, a little harsh at times however it did work and made me realise that I do have a tendency to complain sometimes!

 

Furthermore, some parts of the course were stunning, the scenery breath taking and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to seen them so closely and on foot. Going through the villages was a real eye opener, makes you realise and appreciate what you have in life, though the locals looked happy and they cheered us along as if we were life-long friends. This was hugely motivating at times.

 

The most difficult parts were the food, I lost my appetite pretty quickly and had to force stuff down most of the time just to make sure I was taking in enough calories. I also found I couldn’t keep my utensils clean for eating, a very minor thing but it really made me hate the thought of meal times as I just felt I was eating dirt. Also, the lack of toilets were obviously a challenge, however given that this was a big issue for me initially I think I adjusted well and did what I could given the circumstances!

 

Mostly though in hindsight and reflection I had an amazing, life changing experience. The comradery on the course was fantastic and even on the last 10k people running past me shouted messages of support and encouragement to keep me going – I met new friends for life and have some amazing memories with me forever.

 

1 COMMENTS

John Braithwaite

Posted: 12-Sep-2014 05:44:51 PM

We never doubted that your training and your determination were sufficient to carry you through - but we were worried that feet etc might have let you down - we laughed at what we knew would be your concerns about "the ablutions" - but most of all we walked taller as well that week very proud of you and also humbled by the thoughts that were sent to you from your friends we thank them for supporting you. Donna & Dad xxxx

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PAULA BRAITHWAITE
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

Hometown
Dubai

Profession
Manager of Quality & Administration at Raffles Hotel in Dubai

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PAULA BRAITHWAITE
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 competitor

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Hometown
Dubai

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Manager of Quality & Administration at Raffles
Hotel in Dubai

Why are you competing?
A personal goal I have set myself - I have never
done anything like this before, and was not
particularly fit as of the start of the year. I am
enjoying the intense training and pushing myself a
little more each time.

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