Day 4 has come and gone like that and everyone is preparing for the long day tomorrow. Today was about 24 miles. I ran with the leader Anders through checkpoint 1 and made a move around mile 8 to try to gain some ground on him to no avail. He caught up with me a few miles down the path and continued on. I was pushing really hard when I passed him and it didn’t make sense to keep up the same pace with 60 miles on the agenda for tomorrow. For a few moments when he passed me, I really was down. I had put in a really strong effort to pass him and it hadn’t worked. I think that these negative thoughts slowed me down for a bit. But whenever I start getting those thoughts, I just keep telling myself “I am running across the Sahara Desert with not a soul in site… just me and the sound of the winds of the desert whistling by. When I think of it this way, it gives me a bit of extra strength to keep going.
I finished a strong 2nd place, and am still in 2nd overall for the week. I am about 35 minutes off of the leader at this point, which is going to make it very difficult to catch him at this point. Going into tomorrow, I am at a disadvantage to both the leader and Rafael who sits in third place as they are both experienced desert ultramarathon runners, so I am going to do my best to keep up with them tomorrow. But one of the great things about this race and these two guys is the best it brings out in everyone. Anders and Rafael have both been so helpful in giving me tips throughout the week and especially on how to run the last week. Running with them has definitely gotten my competitive spirit going and helped me to perform better, and I hope I did the same for them.
Sitting in 2nd place for most of the week has made this experience much different than I expected. Before the race, I literally had no clue how it would turn out. I was more focused on finishing than winning, but when I got here and realized I could hang with the top guys, it changed my mindset and my competitive focus emerged with thoughts of winning. While my focus is still on finishing as anything can happen tomorrow, I need to make sure that I appreciate the performance I have put in.
Regarding tomorrow, it is schedule to be about 60 miles. We will be running from the morning into the night and will hopefully finish in total darkness with our headlamps leading us through the rugged terrain. I am currently working on what food to eat tomorrow as its so important to make sure you are taking in calories and are properly hydrated throughout the day. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but I do know that, good or bad, it will be a day that I never forget.
But just like anything else in life, it’s the people that really create and enhance the memories. My tentmates are awesome and I already am conceiving plans on how to go visit them in all of their hometowns around the world. And all of the people that have sent me a comment on the blog or sent me an email, I can’t put into words how much they have helped. Running 100 miles over 4 days can get a man a bit emotional and reading the comments today got me a little teary eyed, which then caused all of the sand in my eyes to start burning my retinas, so thanks for that as well, haha.
I probably wont have time to write a post tomorrow as we will be getting in late at night but I will make sure to write one on Friday to let you all know how I did. Much love to all and thanks again for the support… can’t wait to thank you all in person!