Adventures, Races, Kit and Life
Day 1 – A solid start to the race.
At 8 am, 150 runners bounded off into the desert with determined looks on their faces. It was a cold start, I was actually shivering and therefore couldn’t wait to get moving. As the pack headed off, 150 colourful backpacks, each fully laden with a weeks worth of food and kit, bounced up and down uncomfortably!
I had a steady start, deliberately being careful not to get too excited with the high adrenaline levels, and rush off too fast ( “Adam, it’s an ultra marathon not a marathon” … ).
Starting altitude was about 3,000m and on the first hill I had an initial taste of the asthmatic type tightness as my lungs struggled to get enough oxygen! The rather complex backpack structure ( with the front pouch ) also physically restricted me getting a decent lung full of the thin air. Once more, a good reason to take it easy, adjust and adapt !
The scenery was just “so-so” broad desert planes at this stage …. Not much cause to slow down and take snaps. 10km into the shuffle we were then pleasantly greeted by a gradual 20km downhill, which was a delight !
This was one of the very few occasions where my height was an advantage and I was able to stretch the legs out a little, use gravity and get started on keenly chasing down several “targets” far in the distance. I managed to catch about 6 racers ( which is surprisingly satisfying !! ) before the course switched to become a steady, gentle up hill climb, through a pretty canyon, but, as the temperature soared to 39 degrees, it became a real psychological battle to keep running as much as possible, and not “give in” to the demands of my body and walk too much…( I did a little – you are allowed to walk uphill as long as not getting overtaken… ).
Overall a solid start to the race, I managed to hold my position and finish 5th overall! I’m pretty pleased with myself, as a good start helps!! But I am also under no illusions that it will be easy to defend the position. Today was the shortest day, and with that the effects of altitude and the increased pressure on the body to thermo-regulate when exposed to the hot sun were clear !! From now on there will be more and more time exposed to the extremes of temperature. The calibre in the top 10 is also impressively high.
He who dares wins
He who hesitates is lost