Dirk just wrote: “55,4km in 11:50. I made it!”
Today they had the longest leg of the whole run, so this was quite a challenge. Imagine: 55,4 km on the 5th day!
Dirk will most certainly write about it later. But today he calls it a day and will probably go to bed (or to tent) right after dinner. Refuelling for all the calories he burnt on such a long run is another challenge!
Tomorrow the participants will finish at the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, and this stage 6 will be 14,6 km uphill. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed and wish him a glorious finale!
(signed: Kerstin, the blog sitter)
Edit: post race. Notes done next day.
Stage 5 started after a rough night as my roommates (Frank and Teresa) both created some diversion. Frank who finished the race only at 10pm and who was obviously extremely exhausted and Teresa, who does all kinds of stuff before the light goes off. We three shared the master bedroom of a farm house. Let’s just say it was crowded. Given my complete exhaustion from day four I decided to prepare all my running gear in the morning. Well, that worked! My shoes still completely wet, my pants soaking wet, my power bars misplaced and only 20 minutes to pack and get ready.
Today’s race, a 55km distance was supposed to start at 6am. An hour earlier as usual. That’s not what you need when your body is craving for recreation, food and sleep. After another check for mandatory items (including the stupid knife…) we went off to the race. Which for Soeren and I was the decision to walk for a bit. There would be plenty of time to catch up with people. Turns out that a fast walk here in the hills is almost as fast as a slow runner. It’s just steep, steep, steep…
So we kept talking, walking, running and counting km but 55 is a lot and before you know it your out of energy. I got to the point were my body would make me choke if the water bottle only came close to my mouth, I could not drink any water anymore. I decided to rinse my mouth and that worked for a while but it was clear I needed to get liquid. Help came in form of a “general store”, small shops that sell Coke, chips and similar items. I bought 2xCoke(0.22 and 1 Fanta), heaven.
Our body is smart enough to realize that water has no energy and you’re about to poison yourself but Coke bares the so needed sugar. Three bottles down I finally felt a bit re-energized but every runner knows about the short sugar high. It only last a few minutes. But given it was my only option I decided to try it out. I bought a 0.6l Coke an hour later and Soeren added some delicious butter cookies. For a while that worked great but again I hit rock bottom. Done! Nothing left in me. I needed a break and decided to let Soeren go. Another lonely race for me but I guess it was meant to be that way.
I again walked, crawled, was shaking my head, hated me and my stupid ideas, did reach breaking point, stopped for breaks but continued. After all this is what I wanted.
Past the 44km I started to recover a little. My body finally gave in, I guess. They say it keeps reserves for worst case scenarios. Only 60-70% of what’s there is, is ever released. However, in urgent cases folks like me can get more. So, another victory of the mind. I kept moving and my clock would count up the kilometers.
My muscles, my entire body was long numb. The sun burned brutally hot, no wind. What was going on. Whatever, all of the sudden it didn’t matter anymore because I realized two fellow runners in front of me. The race was on again. Yep, a competitive edge has its advantages at times, it keeps you moving.
I managed to pass both and that gave me some extra energy, which was very much needed. I passed more rice fields, creeks, ups and downs before I came close to the finish line. Latter one was supposed to be at 53,7km and I was almost there.
What the event host had not mention was the fact that every runner was to climb up a final very steep trail to an old castle.
Yes, those that sit on a fricking hill. I couldn’t believe it and asked myself if it would be good enough to just make it up to here. I was so tired and out of energy, I was ready to be disqualified.
But there is one great thing about competing with real sportsman, they understand your suffering and help when needed. Everybody started to cheer and clap, Matt came down and handed me potato chips, Peter and Stefan made me believe I was almost there. So I decided to complete. Turns out I made it around and came down but had overlooked a sign!
No! I can’t do this again. This was a stupid mistake by somebody else, why would I pay for this. Well, it’s part of my race to check the signs. Stop crying, you baby!
Jenn from the medic team (soon she will be taking care of the guys at the next Mount Everest excursion) and Geerd, an anastigiologist from Belgium walked up with me. Jenn gave me pep talk and Geerd electrolytes. That helped!
I came in with poor Sangey, a local runner, who could barely move anymore. He wanted to let me come in first but after 11 hours time does not have a meaning anymore, it’s about sport and sportsmanship.
I grabbed him, pulled him tight and we both made it across the finish line. Stefan, the event host was almost a bit emotional.
The total distance for me turned out to be 55,4km in 11:50 min.
I cannot believe I made it but I did and it feels good.