A quick head’s up. First paragraph is a little graphic – you may want to skip…
Warning! Explicit Content
So as it turns out the sure fire way to distract from IT Band pain is the sudden onset of projectile vomiting and chronic diarhea. Yeah, you’re all welcome. And be glad I am sparing you the Michael Bay special effect details. I don’t necessarily recommend this option but it works! There’s a 24 hour virus ripping through camp so I’m glad I got it early. I didn’t know if I’d start today but after visiting the med tent this morning I gathered myself and decided to make the call at check point one.
“Most days the trail is capricious and cruel and I don’t know where I stand with her. Today she was kind. Today was a good day.”
“It’s impossible” said pride. “It’s risky” said experience. “It’s pointless” said reason. “Give it a try” said the heart.
As a result of being sick I had about zero food in me to start the day and was very dehydrated. It took me about 4 hours to eat 1 protein bar. I also managed 2 gels and some potato chips for a grand total of 500 calories. I also just managed to eat half my dinner for tonight for a daily intake of about 900 calories. Likelihood that I lost 3 – 5 pounds today? Very high.
As we ascended a set of stairs, okay, that is the understatement of the century. We ascended 1453 metres of stairs over 2km. As a reference for Vancouverites, the Grouse Grind is 900m over 2.8km with a 33% grade. I’ll ask you all to do your own math for how steep that section was today as I am pretty exhausted and my math will be terrible.Anyway, I caught up with a guy from Australia who had caught the plague as well and we soldiered on together. Neither one of us could really eat and we gradually at least got some electrolytes in. The next 90 – 120 minutes were probably spent without any words being exchanged between us.
We hit checkpoint in pretty rough shape and rested for a bit. Naturally I busted out so instant coconut water. Feeling and looking quite haggered we gathered ourselves for the final 14.5 km that were mostly downhill.
A couple sections I had some trouble with my IT again but overall I was able to lengthen my stride because the terrain wasn’t as steep as yesterday. Trudging through villages our pace quickened and we headed towards a new mountain range. There wasn’t as much smoke coming from the villages today so that was really good for me as yesterday the smoke did a number on my lungs.
About 700m from check point 3 I got a huge adrenaline rush. We could see the first suspension bridge spanning 100m and hanging 75m above the valley floor. Awesome.
“Boys will be boys”
We checked into checkpoint 3, cheked the time and targeted finishing the next 7.5km in 60 minutes. With about 20 minutes to our goal we rounded a corner and could see the camp sitting riverside about 300m in elevation below us and with 3km to go. Winding down jeep road (aka logging road) we started to run as best we could. We saw another participant who is friends with the guy I spent the day with with about 300m to go. I looked at my partner for the day and said “Come on, we’re beating him.”
This resulted in an all out, ill-advised, teenage inspired sprint and the three of us crossed the finish line together. Somehow I’ve managed to move up 5 spots to 79th overall. People are still coming in today but 11 dropped yesterday and I’m expecting another 10 – 20 today.
I feel really good about pulling today off so overall today was a great day and huge confidence booster. Knowing tomorrow is 38km all uphill with kilometre 32 – 33 rising from 1200m to 1800m. So yeah, that’ll be fun…
“If the outcome were certain the effort would mean nothing and no important questions answered in the trying.”
I have now realized that everyday there is going to be a moment when the course asks me if I will do this or not. It simply isn’t a question of ability or capacity. It is a question of will, constitution and depth of faith in yourself. So far I seem to be holding my own.
Oh and random cravings for today? A head of iceberg lettuce. I would literally take it with two hands and bite straight into. Vegetables are sorely missed out here. This needs to be accompanied by a bottle of orange Fanta. It absolutely must be a glass bottle. Heaven.
Thanks again for all the messages. It means the world and is the part of the day that I look forward to most. Your inspiration keeps my company when I am loneliest out there.