My day began by waking up completely covered in sand. Apparently, there was a sandstorm in the middle of the night that doused the entire inside of our tent. Not the way you really want to start your day! The first hour once we wake (at approximately 4:30am for a 6:30 start) is always really tough when you think about the challenge you have in front of you. But as you get closer to starting time, you somehow get more and more excited. Today, I planned on scaling back a bit but felt pretty good out of the gate so I went with it. I ran with a competitor named Matt who is an American living on the east coast in DC. He is competing this year with both his dad and his sister… talk about family bonding… doesnt get crazier than that. Him and I ran together in 3rd and 4th place for most of the first 6 miles which was a huge help to me and helped me to keep a good pace. He is an awesome guy so it was cool talking to him as it helped time and the miles to pass. As the race progressed a bit I made a move towards Rafael from Germany and Anders (the current leader) and caught up to them about the halfway point. I ended up running with Anders for the next 10 miles or so until he pulled away a bit at the last checkpoint heading into the final 5 miles. I placed second today, two minutes behind Anders, who now currently has a 22 minute lead on me over the first three days. He is a pro and a worthy winner who is currently doing his 4th Racing The Planet event. Being that this is my first race and I have never run more than a marathon, I am humbled just to come in behind him. As I write this, drums are playing in the background which means a competitor is about to cross the finish line. I have been finished for a while and it took me almost 5 hours so you can just imagine how long these competitors are out in the searing heat. In a race like this, its actually harder the slower you are because you have to deal with the elements for so much longer. The respect I have for these competitors is unmatched. To be able to spend 8 or 10 hours in the 110 degree heat to accomplish what you aspire to is completely inspiring and something they should all be applauded for.
A few other points:
Food: I’m not sick of it yet but its getting pretty close. I had something last night that was absolutely terrible… I couldn’t even finish it. But not eating is definitely not an option as you need to make sure you are getting enough calories for the run the next day. Really enjoying the beef jerky I brought though as I am always craving something salty afterwards and its the perfect snack.
Body: I am sore as hell but no major disasters yet. My legs are really tight so I am spending a lot of time stretching and resting them I have two blisters on my feet but they are both manageable which is vital.
Thats all I got right now so I will post something else tomorrow with more of the same good news hopefully. Much thanks to everyone for their emails and blog comments. EJ, thanks for keeping me up to date on NY sports… its now a conversation in my tent. And thanks to all of my Marriott people for keeping tabs on me!