04-Nov-2012 10:49:10 AM [(GMT+10:00) Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney]
Just arrived in Zermatt for a (literally) cooling off period and it hasn't wored at all. Was so inspired by the staff, volunteers and most importantly (to me at this stage) fellow competitors, that I have just sh*t-canned my planned June 2103 holiday to hawaii and enrolled in Gobi!!!!!
to my tent 14 mates and all other amazing people I got to know last week: hope to see you there.
p.s to the staff and volunteers that learned my name, always greeted me into CP's and made me feel great: I may have let a few names slip my mind, but I remember (and huuuuuugly appreciate) how you made me feel, when you reached out and offered a shoulder with a simple gesture of saying 'hey steve, how you feeling?'..I can never repay you, you may never know how much; but I'll never forget you..thanks.
I dont know where to start...I am absolutely spent, emotionally, mentally and physically. I wanted to know how much I had in the tank and when I finish just before 1.00am I was on fumes.
Now THAT was a brutal day...So hot through the middle stages and I cannot recall a single though for the last 8hours other than I am shattered. The day started through the undulating dunes and then over long (LONG!!!!!) soft sand flast through the extreme heat we enjoyed yesterday.
The Valley of the Whales was spectacular and walking through the prehistoric ocean floor was one of the most prodigous sights on my life. The hardest part was walking past a dude selling cold cokes!!!! Race staff said theyd turn a blind eye...but unsupported is unsupported and I knew Id regret it if I had one (man I wanted one though!!!). The valley was a beautiful canyon of wave hewn rocks and fossil whale bones...awesome..but no time to take it in. The sun was really scorching and it was across the flat gravel plain to the tall dunes. A real highlight was two dunes about 200m high and a senstational experience to crest them and shuffle down in the deep drifts.
By now though it was getting late afternoon and I was baked. By the time I got to dinner spot (5pm) I was deydrated and unable to keep anything down (which will make for good doco viewing!). The medical staff were keeping a close eye on people so I took in as much water as I could and shuffled off before I took too muchg scrutiny. I hobbled up and could barely muster a gait...a marathon to go...it was just nuts and I had to smile.
The night is a blur of slow shuffle, odd hobble and rampling. The flim crew followed and I had lights and cameras on me at my worst. The only down moment was a miscalcualtion..I though last 2 checkpoints were 16km totoal..nup; 18.3...I felt every step.
Well I shuffled through the last 16km in about 3 hours and left nothing out there. I as so clos to my limits Im still a bit numb/dazed today. The finish line was beyond my wldest hopes and collapsing in the chair having completed the most physically challenging day within the most physically challenging event of my life was very humbling, Im still not sure how to take it all in.
I have learned alot about myself and others..good lessons and bad..but ill save those when I have more than 15min in a 45degree tent.
My goal was to do my very best at something for once in my life and I have.
Thanks again for the kind and generous encouragement..my families faces carried me through a tough day and night and Ive appreciated theirs and everyone elses support.
Wow!!! blown away by the good wishes, thanks all so much..thrilled to hear from the kiddies as well (I now have an awesome image in Anna doing gangnam style in my head)...that should be great for 84km tomorrow.
I had my best day today and came in 44th!!!! I have all the aches and pains you can imagine but the feet and spirits are in good order. Today was a sensationaol run for me, we even had some cloud cover and breeze this morning...I pushed had wheh conditions were so favourable. The heat is so draining that it is worth chancing the legs and hoping the energy sees me though the afternoon.
Today was another stunning day, wide sand plain dotted with stunning ridges and awesome rock spires. The day started with some deep underlating dunes and finished with long, harsh flats.Im managing my food and water well and am now resting up before tomorrows Long Day. Tonight will be all about getting my gear light and my mind right. In these conditions, after 4 marathons in 4 days, an 84km final push doesnt hold a ton of appeal!
That said, Ive improved each day and will just chew the distance up one bite at a time. Ive really enjoyed the messages and when Im in a tough spot (often) the words bounce about and Im so happy to have the support and encouragement.
To camp life: I get in each arvo and and rest for about 15min and started to get tidies up. I have small towels and wet wipes with me and getting a little refreshed makes a ton of difference. Even shaved today! I then dump as much gear from the pack I can, change and relax until dinner. Its nice banter around camp and nost retire about 8.00pm.
Tomorrows plan is to get some distance knocked over before the heat. Rest from 2-4pm and pull the shoes back on and get the job done. Ill move through the night for the final 40km and expect to finish about 3.00am tomorrow.
Thats the plan anyway...the reality of a back to back marathons may be a little different...but Im fine and happy!