First off, thank you everyone for all the amazing comments, you all really have no idea how much it all means to me. every single one of your comments is a serious mental boost. it really helps to keep me going knowing that everyone is looking out for me and supporting me.
Stage 3 is finally over! It took well over 10.5 hours to finish and the pain was incredible. It took well over 2.5 hours for me to get over the most difficult hill today and I really thought my left leg was going to fall off. I cried all the way through the last 3km of today’s stage. The only thing that kept me going was this incredible need to see this through, which helped limit the pain until I hobbled over the finish line, as well as the company of another New Yorker, Michael, who walked with me the entire way from check point one to finish.
The hill though, that nearly did me in. 500 meters up with a 22 degree incline. I wanted to roll over and die right there, maybe let the cows trample me, but having support from another competitor really helped ease the mental pressure of it all. It was beautiful going up the hill as well, there was a river running through it and everything around was green. We had to climb over 3 cable bridges to get to there as well. I felt seasick on each one as they bounced around and it took everything I had in me to keep my head level.
The downhill did not make it much easier either. Gravel roads. I never want to see one again. They add so much pressure with every step and even with lots of padding in my hiking boots I could feel everything in my feet. Richard, I am not converting to barefoot running, not after this. Thankfully no new blisters, though I am completely numb at the moment. The volunteers had to rub the life back into my legs once I got over the finish line. I am sure there is lots of footage of my crying online now as well, screaming about how I couldn’t understand why I was doing this anymore, but I am done now.
Halfway there! At this point I have to finish. mentally, I just need to get this done, though I know that the pain is only going to get worse. At least today was meant to be the most difficult day and the medical team has given me lots of painkillers to deal with my leg.
I miss home, my loved ones and my simple creature comforts, but its all a process, and I will be home in less than a week at least.
Wish me luck for stage 4 tomorrow! Please keep the positivity flowing in, after today, I really really need it.
Lots of love!
Whoever said that today would be an easy day is full of it. Today was horrific, I can not bare to walk. It took me another 9.5 hrs to get through the day, and tomorrow is marked as ‘very difficult’ which makes me extremely nervous. Between the steep hills, the rock littered paths, the extreme winds and the rain, today was a nightmare.
I spent a good 20minutes of today, just after checkpoint bawling my eyes out. I genuinely did not think that I was going to finish the day. My left knee was on fire and the wind forced me to spend much time walking sideways. I was lucky enough to run into a Korean bloke at about 2km into the final section today to walk with. Neither of us knew any of what the other was saying but it was wonderful to have someone to stay next to, the pitter patter of our poles syncing up as we screamed our heads off.
Coming around the corner though to see the campsite in the end was wonderful. The two of us ran over the finish line together to the beating drum, signaling the end of the course. The camp is beautiful tonight. Its lush and green, with a river running through. I was able to take a quick dip, rinse my hair and wash my face. Unfortunately I have discovered two new blisters on my right foot. Nothing could have prepared me for these. I really thought all those years of running around barefoot would save me. Apparently a massive pack does not help anything. My shoulders have started chafing as well. I have had to tape both shoulders, they’re so sore from the weight..
Nothing to do now though but tape myself together stretch and eat. I’m terrified for tomorrow, but please, wish me luck!!!
Well, it is all real now. The little voice inside my head is super excited and hungry and ready for the challenge ahead. In just over 12 hours we will kick off the first stage, in which I will be suffering up and down the hills of the Gobi with a 10.8 kilo sack and 2 liters of water. It is incredible how much food weighs... It is incredibly daunting to know I will dragging that around. At least with that though I will be able to eat the weight away. If I get desperate I will have to dump all my jelly beans. I very likely overcompensated for the Long March. Weight aside, the scenery at camp 1 is stunning. I can't believe that I'm here, surrounded by the rolling green hills. I hope I can make it through to see the rest. I am sure that it only gets better from here. Its going to hurt more than I can currently comprehrend, but I want it. Thanks to all who've already been sending me love. I really appreciate it. Do keep it coming. Lihui - I hope everything is ok at home and the little one isn't driving you mad. Richard - I miss you already. Can't wait for next year. The queue is building up now, so I must go. Wish me luck and I'll update you all at the end of Stage 1!