As the race draws closer, our Marathon des Sables blogger is packing, packing and re-packing!
With just days to go now until the race - I fly out to Morocco on Thursday - it is all getting very real!
I had some pacing commitments for RW last weekend in Hastings; it saw me pit my wits against the notorious Hastings hill, which was not I was particularly looking forward to given my performance on the steep in Devon. I was told to go under 1:30 (6:52 ave min mile) which was actually slightly quicker than my usual long run pace, but overall a good chance to really put my Devon demons behind me. The race was great - I felt in complete control and it was an enormous lift for me mentally. For those of you who have run Hastings you will know all too well about the 3 mile ‘gentle’ incline from mile 3-6. You get to the top to be greeted by the traditional shout of "one more hill to go" (I think I’ve covered lying marshals in a previous blog, it’s got to be part of the job description because they all do it). The rest of the race was undulating but I glided up and down with a smile on my face, thankful that the ground wasn't giving way at each step as it will be on the sand.
I finished proud of myself and feeling like the desert can bring it on! After Hastings I had no more long runs planned, just a sensible taper of five 7-8 mile runs with my bag.
Keeping me from taper madness is all my packing and post. I love receiving parcels and more and more of my equipment arrives on a daily basis: compass, signalling mirror, lighter, food, gaiters and more. It’s a running Christmas most days, but as more bits arrive more jobs crop up.
Getting the big tick from the doctor, has been high up on my list – the ECG went fine, although I’m still waiting on sign off as my medical certificate has to be signed by the GP to say I’m in fine fettle for the big adventure. Slightly nervous that the fate of this is now out of my hands, but I could not be fitter so it should be a breeze.
A trip to the cobblers is in order for them to sew my gaiters onto my shoes. The gaiters are made of parachute-type material, and sewing them onto my shoes should prevent debris entering and causing blisters as much as possible.
I have booked a day off work to pack/repack and shave weight off the final kit list. It pains me to admit it but I might be wearing the same clothes all week to cut the weight down, although I’m assured this is the norm it’s not something I'm looking forward to. Come Thursday when I’m ready to fly out I should be more than ready to go.