It is 3:18pm and I have had a few hours rest after the 32km stage. The field was INCREDIBLY fast today as it was a true runners course. The lead guy Dan completed the day in approx two hours and fifteen minutes- unbelievable. The first section was very rocky terrain and we went through a few river crossings. The water was cold and muddy and it reached high up to my thighs. I decided to not take off my shoes until I reached the first checkpoint and was doing a little victory dance to see my lovely feet are virtually blister free. Thanks to Kelly and the Injinji team for supplying me with my socks for the race- I feel blessed to not have any problems in that department and at day three in.
Charlie from my tent wanted to head out with me today – he came in 15th the past two days and he felt horrible last night, completely dehydrated and unwell in the tummy, despite having consumed all of his water. We picked up two other boys from London and the four of us completed the day together. Checkpoint two to three started with a decent sized hill but was ideal from that point onwards. We took on some intervals of running and walking and made it to checkpoint three in ok time but approx 50th position. The drama came only a few kms till the end when we hit an unexpected checkpoint which many competitors thought was the end of the race. It was only a water checkpoint as the organisers were expecting very hot weather. We were told it would only be 5kms to the village where we would stay tonight so we amped up our pace into a canter and when we didnt see the beautiful Racing the Planet flags there were expressions of anger, confusion and exhaustion all over the desert. We came into the village in 53rd place and I was pretty tired & a little dehydrated myself. On a big positive we had ideal weather conditions today, overcast and mild temperature, with even a little bit of rain= woohooooo.
Tonight we are treated to a village camp but have been warned that we are not to purchase any food or beverages from the people here. Ive got to say a cold coke right now would be amazing but the rules are the rules and I am not going to risk getting a time penalty. One of the lead Chinese competitors was given a hefty time penalty yesterday for having a ridiculously small amount of food in his pack. There have been rumours going around that he has been relying on food from other competitors and a man who is roaming around on a motorbike near the course. Gotta love a bit of salicious gossip!
We have to wake at 4am tomorrow morning and jump on a bus that will take us to stage four a few hours away. The scary day is day 5 which is supposed to reached above 50degrees and is 99kms. Have to say I am completely freaked out and am working out a strategy with Lisa for how we are going to approach the stage. I had some shooting knee pain during the run today so have just smashed some voltaren gel from the medical tent and will be lifting my legs high in an attempt for it to recover by tomorrow.
Competitor shout out goes to Charlie from the UK for lending me his walking poles in the final 12kms of the day. They really helped during the hills!!
Family and friend shout out goes to all of my friends from the Atacama Crossing (you guys know who you are). Reading all of your blog messages and emails has really touched me and I know you understand the challenges in training and the pain in the race. Wish you were all here and I look forward to our next race together (Nepal 2011).
Placed 53rd overall and 5th female over the line.