Hola from the desert, folks! Some 150 desert runners were gathered at the hotel yesterday and sent out to the desert in the evening. And good golly, I have never seen so many fit people in one place in my life. There were people with poles for legs and others with Big Macs for calves. Such a fascinating study of the human body.
We camped by a lake and had a sparkling sky of stars for company. Simply beautiful.
Anyway, the first leg of the race is done – we did 38km today! We climbed sand dunes and contended with some fierce winds in the early morning. No really – it felt like walking against a Grade 1 typhoon with an 8kg child on your back. Not going to talking about the heat because it was one of those days when you don’t even want to know what the thermometer is reading. (Post-edit: found out a few days later that it was 48C on Day 1. I rest my case.)
Anyway I’m pretty happy with taking it slow today, since tomorrow’s the sand dune stage (rated “Difficult” as opposed to today’s “Moderate”). Still “fresh as a daisy”, as a tentmate called me. Pretty eager to go out tomorrow and take on some more distance.
Discovered several things so far, including:
1. (I’m actually quite embarrassed by this) My brain still retains Barney song lyrics – disturbingly well too. And desert races bring out the best Barney Singer in me. “I like my head, how about you, it lets me knows I’m alive…” etc. But hey, anything upbeat to keep you going, y’know?
2. Singapore pride! Remember my Singapore-based Dane friend Anders, who came in 4th in this year’s Gobi and signed up for this race just 3 weeks ago? He came in first today. Insanity.
3. Tent pride! Second fastest guy is one Ryan Bennett from our little huddle of young ‘uns.
4. I have an unnaturally high capacity for dirt and grime. Got some sand in hair? No worries – I have some in my nostrils anyway.
5. Everyone tells you the race is going to be tough but no one tells you how bad the make-shift toilets stink. I was trying to change out of my uber-tight compression tights in there last night and almost fainted. I’ve always envisioned that I might have a rather unusual way to kick the bucket but “death by toilet stench” is no way to go.
Finally, a few shout outs to some desert runners:
Denvy – Thank you for the messages Also, I am SO glad I took your advice about the 20 alcohol swabs. Thank you thank you thank you.
Mr. Sunshine – The “keep smiling” formula works like a charm.
Ralph & Andre (and anyone else on this race, really) – I’m in Tent 14. Not sure where you are so come drop by to say hi if you get the chance :0)
Alrighty! I’m famished so am off to eat freeze-dried delicacies. Catch you all tomorrow!