Challenge 2 of 3 (Triple Continent Challenge)

27/08/2014

4 deserts – Racing the Planet – Madagascar

250km unsupported

6 stages

Start line… 31st August… 

It’s finally here!

And so the time is rapidly approaching for Challenge 2 to commence… 250 km across varied terrain in Africa.  The last email I read from Racing the Planet brought more information, including the fact that 4 members of staff had had their luggage lost so it was a good idea to pack as much as you could into your hand luggage.  There then followed some frantic searching online for hand baggage allowances.

Now this may be a sign of things to come… and doesn’t really bode well for either my packing skills or how much it looks like I will be running with on my back.  It turns out the airline has an allowance of 7kg for hand luggage (within dimensions) plus you get a handbag to carry things on.  At 2am everything came out of the main bag, scattered across the living room floor and lots of squashing packets into creviches began.  I’m not quite sure how well this is going to go down when it’s time to go through those x-ray machines… what if they insist I have to open my back pack up?

There was, of course, no room to put my trainers in the pack. Now if there is one thing you will not be able to replace for a race… it’s going to be this key item. We spend time breaking them in, we send them off to get stitched up for gaitering… there is no other item that you have probably taken as much thought and planning with as what goes on your feet! And that’s not just a race of this type, but any running. Blisters and foot problems make or break a race. There is therefore only one solution… and that’s to put the Converse into the luggage and wear my running shoes. Trail shoes. Woah… what a look to rock through customs LOL!

This then has thrown up another aspect… food! For those that know me, they know I love my food… especially cake. Cake… I feel a Homer Simpson moment coming on…

I have planned my nutrition quite carefully I think… but it doesn’t fit in my pack. I chucked everything into a stuff sack. A 20L stuff sack. It was full.  My backpack is 20L. Where will everything else go? And… and… I’m under the daily calorie allowance I was hoping for as well! I’m praying I don’t get hungry… lives will be affected if I get hungry… I love my food… cake…

Doh… anyway… keep the writing on track, no time for cake tangents…  it’s time to get to the start line in Madagascar! Hopefully the rumblings from Iceland will not worsen… hopefully my luggage will arrive safely… there are 4 flights to get there but I’m reassured the weather is getting a tad hot (ok so there are murmurings of 40 degrees heat – I’m ignoring those) so I have packed a couple of bikinis for the hotel pool for which there is much logical reasoning! If you want to know what that is, email me via the 4deserts website and I will reply on the blog there and once I’ve been and got taped up, it won’t be long before I depart the UK.  Oh yes, that was another little thing… the legs have a few niggles… the plantar has kicked in again, the ankles are painful, swollen and the calves… well let’s just say if you could get rock solid, they’d be harder, so naturally the Achilles has decided to join in the grumbling. Obviously I’m ignoring all these things too, plus I’ve had a bit of help from my coach and fantastic sports therapist to keep me going 😉

So as to links…

If anyone fancies watching the updates of the race, please click here.

If you want to email me to send encouragement to keep me going through, what I have been reliably informed, will be moments of hell, please click here.

If you want to read a response to any emails sent, and to catch up with my thoughts on how each day is going, my blog (along with others) can be found here.

And of course, not forgetting the other aspect of what I’m doing here, highlighting the fundraising and need to get awareness out about domestic abuse / violence, to say that no, it is not ok, please share, donate, and get the message out, my justgiving page can be found here.

I look forward to hopefully hobbling over all stage finish lines… have a guess as to how long it will take me overall, and donate for each guess 😉

4 flights folks… I’m possibly on one of them right now as you read this!

Have a great week!
Michelle

© August 2014 Michelle Payne

 

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After Sierra Leone…

02/08/2014

Well it’s now been well over a year since I returned from Sierra Leone… and as I’ve previously mentioned, this trip and challenge ended up opening some doors for me… very interesting ones!

When you set yourself a challenge and not only meet it… but, to put not too fine a phrase to it… smash it!… where do you go next? And it’s one thing to train well and achieve a half marathon, let alone finish a full, in tropical heat and humidity… and in under 5 hours 15 minutes 😉 (yes, I’m still proud of what I achieved that day, and I believe anyone could also achieve it if they wanted to)… but anything else would surely be too huge a step up to contemplate seriously! However, I truly believe that if you really want to do something, you will eventually get there… what’s the saying?

If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.
If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
~~ Jim Rohn ~~

So upon returning home, there just happened to be a half marathon a week later… so I entered, and got not too shabby a time for it. However I already knew I could finish it because 1) walking was possible and 2) I’d jogged the first 11 miles of Sierra Leone non-stop, a PB was guaranteed as it was the first time racing at that distance… and  I also had in the back of my mind words repeating from another runner I met in Sierra Leone… who said: “well of course Michelle, once one has completed the Street Child Sierra Leone Marathon, they can only do MdS” (or words to that effect).

For those that haven’t heard of MdS it stands for Marathon des Sables, described as “The toughest footrace on earth”… how daunting is that?!

250km across the Sahara desert in Morocco over a week… a marathon every day, with one day being 80km (the Long March) so that’s a double marathon and a little bit more… and you have to carry everything you need for that week on your back. All that is provided is a tent to shield you from the elements and water to drink through the course.

Daunting actually is an understatement, plain crazy seemed more appropriate… but I watched the trailers, and got goosebumps so I thought I’d sign up. But it wasn’t open. So I couldn’t.  It obviously wasn’t meant to be… and I’m not sure if I felt relieved or disappointed… but the seed had been planted… which was then watered with a little internet surfing via Google…

and that next challenge… will be discussed in my next rambling post 😀

Given the news from Western Africa at the moment, please keep the people from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria in your thoughts… absolutely awful news about the Ebola virus and deaths from it. Prayers sent to those affected and their loved ones, and hopefully it won’t spread any further than it has done already.

Links:

Street Child

Sierra Leone Marathon 

© Michelle Payne


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