Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dwell not upon thy weariness, thy strength shall be according to the measure of thy desire...

This has been a bit of a hectic week, hence the delay in updating my beloved blog! Sorry to the regular readers, will get my blog back on track again!

So, I got this idea of doing something really tough and for some reason I wanted to attempt a run/walk from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, +100 Km and
how glad I am that I did not attempt that straight away, thanks Rob, thanks Mariana for talking me out of if. Bab al Shams to Arabian Ranches was my next option, 34km on fairly easy terrain, how hard could it be.......well, let me tell you!

Monday morning myself and Mariana left the Gardens at 6am and headed out to the desert resort - LESSON LEARNED # 1 - Start as early
as possible, before the sun is nowhere near peaking it`s head out! We only managed to leave the resort at 7h15 and it was deceptively cool with a nice breeze blowing. I started out by eating a breakfast bar for some energy and I am sure if I missed that snack I would have collapsed at 20km!

We started off with a steady run and then I notice the weight of the backpack......did I mention the backpack. LESSON LEARNED # 2 - buy a very very good backpack china! The Salomon bag I have is designed for running, however I doubt that this is a multi day race bag. I think the bag weighed in very near 10kg.....about 3-4kg lighter than what my MDS race bag will weigh, no there is another little wake up call! The weight did not bother me too much initially and we pushed on and I felt good in the beginning. Then after about 4km I could feel my backside getting wet, seriously wet and we stopped to do a bag inspection just to find out on of our water bottles with Isostar cracked at the bottom. We drank as much as we can and disposed of the bottle and in retrospect we should have done more to try and fix the bottle and save liquids as best as possible.

We pushed on again and after 6km the same thing happened again, I could not believe it as we were going through water like mad, 3l lost in just over 6k`s. - LESSON LEARNED # 3 - Turn water bottles upside down so the cap is facing down into the bag area that is pack most. - LESSON LEARNED 4 - Water is GOLD! I managed to patch the bottle with a plaster and kept it upside down in the bag. We pressed on after having a small break and we both had a banana each and some water and biltong. We reached 10km after about 90minutes on the road, and that includes the two stops we did for the water bottles and food. We decided to head on and get to 20km and then to stop again for some snacks and Isostar.

The tough part of this section was the lack of scenery, just a straight flat run/walk and I realized that any sort of shade out in the desert is an absolute luxury. By this time I could feel the heat getting worst and the K`s were ticking over very slowly. I am forever grateful to the dudes out Apple for the Ipod! I know for a fact the Ipod will help me to get through the Sahara come April 2010!At around 18km we decided to stop and hydrate under the only tree that we could find for miles and miles. I started feeling a bit flat but this soon changed after sharing an orange with Mariana and gulping down Isostar. We pushed on after the break, feeling much better, as the shade got our spirits up again and we cruised on. After being on the road for 3hrs30min I asked Marxie if we should flag a car down and cruise 10km back towards the resort and then walk the last 10km back which would take us up to 30km, a good distance for a first long training session. Mariana agreed and managed to flag down the fastest minibus driver in the Middle East!

After a quick 10km at 150km/h we got back to where I believed the 10km mark to the resort
should be. I was wrong and I think the resort was more like 14km away. We started the walk back to the resort chatting away when I started feeling really tired. The backpack worked me over properly and I think this started to catch up with me. After reaching 25km I hit the wall, and started drinking water like mad to try and feel better, however, with less than a liter of water between two people to share I made the biggest mistake and check on the GPS how much further to the resort and go so demotivated when I realized we had about 7km left, I thought we had 3km left.

We shared a warm Coke and I am not sure if this was a good thing as I just got such a flat feeling after reaching 28km. Marxie did her best to talk me through the k`s but I felt content with the 28km in 4hrs45min in +40 degrees C. We scored our second lift back to the resort and I was happy sitting in my sipping an ice cold Coke!

Overall I am happy we managed to go over 25km for a first distance training in some pretty tough conditions. I am sure I will get much better as the weather cools down and learn how to eat and hydrate properly. The first stage of the 21st MDS was 28km`s, so I am not too worried. I need to keep my focus on distance running and get use to carrying a heavy backpack.

Thanks for doing this with me Marxie, we will hit 35km`s next time.

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