Saturday, 29 April 2006

MdS stage 1. DRAFT for report

All, I thought I would start writing my report in stages. As I complete each section I'll post it here. Once it is complete I'll assemble all the drafts into a concise report. Brendan..


Day 1. 9/4/06 Stage 1. 28km

The race director Patrick Bauer was standing on top of a land rover with singing into the PA system and rattling on with lots of announcements, we all sang to the competitors that were celebrating birthdays. We were all shepherded into a big 21 shape so that the helicopter could take pictures.

After too long the music blared and the gun went off. The first day was always meant to be easy. I was full of energy but decided to hold back. It was a very hot day but that didn’t seem to matter, we were all so happy to get going. Many of the runners tore off as if it was a 5000-metre track race but I walked for the first 10 minutes and took in the atmosphere. The Helicopter was only about 10 or 20 metres above the main bunch of runners and travelling sideways and a few runners were knocked over by the wind and dust cloud created by the chopper. Those guys have such a cool job.

I started to run after 10 min and picked up Tony from my tent. He was travelling at a good pace so I hung back and ran/walked with him for most of the way. All up we were probably running 50% of the time. My heart rate was hitting 155 while I was running and would drop back to 135bpm when I walked.

The course was a flat river bed that looked like it would never get water in it. We passed lots of children who were all asking for “bon-bon”. All the other runners were giving the kids high fives and enjoying to moment. I decided not to join in on the celebrations because I was pretty sure that the kids don’t use toilet papet.

Check point one emerged after 12.5km it was near the small town of El Fecht. Already there were 50-70 runners lying down. The temperature was still going up, someone told me it was already 41 degrees in the shade, what shade? there was none. I was feeling ok so I decided to go straight through the check point.

Our first real test came at 16.5km when we were faced with a jebel, a jebel is a mountain or a hill. I decided to see how fit I was and push a little harder than before. I watched my heart rate soar to 177bpm. When I got to the top there were lots of people sitting around trying to recover from the climb. I was feeling hot and tired but continued on without a rest.

The next section through to CP2 (21km) was amazing we began with a sandy climb and traversed the side of the jebel called Bou Lalhih. Most of this next section was tricky to navigate and followed the top of a ridge. Just before we descended back down a steep sandy section we saw the helicopter parked and our race director, Patrick Bauer, was cheering us on.

In terms of running food, I was eating power bars and drinking straight water. I was also taking karls kaps salt capsules every hour on the half hour ie. At 30min, 1hr 30min, 2hr 30min etc... The power bars were disgusting, the water was hot and soapy and the salt tablets made me feel sick for 40 min each time I took one.

Finally we got to CP2 and I took my bottle of water and continued through, once again there were lots of runners sheltering from the heat by sitting in the tent and hiding in the shade that was cast by the jeeps at the check point. We then had a straight 7km section across a dried out lake bed to the finish, still very hot but still feeling ok. I ran most of this section even though my pack was cutting into my shoulders. I finished feeling tired and grabbed my three bottles of water and headed back to tent 66. There I found Andrew and Tony. Andrew had blitzed the field and was sitting in 55th place and Tony had arrived in a few mins before me. I din’t know it but I was in 300th place. The other Aussie, Steve turned up not long after followed by our mate Fraser. Andrea and Al turned up much later both in high spirits after having completed the first stage.

Andrew and Fraser took most of the responsibility of ensuring our tent was pitched correctly. We tipped the Berbers so that the stones would be removed from under the carpets of our tent.

One thing that was unanimous, we all agreed that carrying superfluous weight had to stop and we all considered how to reduce even more weight out of our packs. That night Tony and I decided to swap a leg massage which almost killed me, I have never really given massages and I felt sick after completing Tony’s leg massages.

Dinner was a freeze dried roast lamb and vegetables dinner courtesy of back country, it did feel good to get some food into me.

That first night was hot and I found myself tossing and turning due to the warm conditions. I didn’t drink all my water and felt like I was running a bit of a temperature.


At 29 April 2006 at 6:16 pm, Blogger Superflake said...

Great to see you can go to the middle of the Sahara and still get a lamb roast.Gotta love it. Looking forward to the rest.

At 29 April 2006 at 7:03 pm, Anonymous lostboy said...

A terrific yarn Brendan...absolute Magic!
Good luck with your other 2006 adventures.

At 29 April 2006 at 8:42 pm, Blogger 2P said...

LOL did you have to give up a date with Tom Cruise for that lamb roast?

Keep em coming Brendan - it's great stuff

At 29 April 2006 at 10:51 pm, Anonymous VR88 said...

It looks absolutely grueling! Thanks for the post, very interesting.

Keep running.

At 30 April 2006 at 1:18 pm, Anonymous Peter Baldock said...

Well done Brendan. I have followed this years race with great interest and I look forward to hearing all you have to say and advice you may have. It sounds like a very tough but managable run if you treat it wisely. Thanks for taking the time to write about your experiences. Peter Baldock

At 2 May 2006 at 2:21 am, Blogger James said...

I really want to start doing stuff like this, not just running, but loads of crazy stuff. Im looking to row the alantic in 09...maybe. But what I'm lacking in is sponsorship. Have you got any advice at all?


At 2 May 2006 at 8:39 am, Blogger plu said...

Any theory on the salt capsules Virtual?


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