Stage 3 (Atacama Crossing)

I am writing this blog exhausted and a little worse for wear. If you look at the times for today I had a pretty good day (equal fourth or fifth female across the line) but I ended the final stage vomiting, dehydrated and a little delirious. I wasn’t able to eat my dinner last night, it is really difficult to get the dehydrated meals down and I am finding that high salt snacks are the easiest things to consume (this means salt and vinegar chips crushed up). That being said I   made sure I had all of my breaky this morning and tried to consume as much water before the race started.

We were located in a beautiful spot last night and before i went to sleep Daniel, Gareth, Matt and I sat by the lake and rested off our sore feet. I was surprised that I didn’t have more pain in my legs this morning and big props to ascend for their protein recovery shake which i have within thirty minutes of completing.

The gun went off and I couldn’t find my running buddy from yesterday so I went off by myself. Quickly we were put in single file going through some crusty surface which had 95% of the field walking. This is with exception to Ryan and Eric who are absolute demons and in a field of their own. Ryan is winning the race by nearly 2 hours and there is little chance that any one else will catch him. I was only a few people behind Daniel and Gareth in the single file and I kept up my Samantha march and pushed ahead of a few people. When the terrain became a bit more manageable I started to run between one pink flag then walk to the next pink flag, continuing this for about 15kms. My run has completely changed form and I now call myself the shoe shuffler. When i catch a competitor they always say “its the little Aussie with a high cadence”. The first two checkpoints went really well for me and I was happy that I could push ahead a bit. The third checkpoint was quite tough as we started to hit a version of salt flats and it was pretty much impossible to run. The sun was getting stronger and stronger and I consumed all of the 1.5litres we had been given for that stage. Mum and Dad you would be proud of my water usage.

Going into the last checkpoint i knew it was going to be a toughie. It was pretty much 11.5kms of sand dunes, rocky dunes and a lot of climbing. If it gives any indication it took me nearly 4 hours to do 11.5kms and I can do a marathon in 3 hours 36mins. I met up with another girl from the States (Mel) and we decided to team up for the last 8kms. She was my saviour in the final few kms as I lost my ability to walk in a straight line. The 1.5litres of water we were given was by no means enough. My heart goes out to the people who are still on the course (it has been over 4 hours since i finished). I was virtually on my hand and knees as i crawled up the last sand dune. I crossed the finish line struggling to breathe, having a little teary with a very dry mouth. The medics called out to Daniel and he took me over to the medical tent and I stayed there for a few hours. Lets just say the medical tent was the main attraction today as most competitors made there way in their.

Finishing up:
– over 6 people have pulled out today (with more to come im sure)
– I have a few yucky blisters but by no means the worst off in this situation
– A lot of people have the runs and i am embracing the hand sanitiser
– Creeped up a few spots in the overall placement today, not really sure where I am placed however

Lots of love to everyone and thank you to those who have given me lovely  motivational comments. It really helps out here.

xx Samantha

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