June 12, 2012
Well were finally halfway home here in the desert. The light at the end of the tunnel is very dim and about 130k away. And there are a lot of obstacles (most noteably mountains) in the way. But at least its there. They told us today would be a relatively straightforward day before the two hardest legs of the race. Not so much. Today was 36km and involved 4000ft of climbing and 1300ft of descending for a net gain of 2700ft. And were now at 5800ft altitude so its noticeable. The terrain today was essentially all rocks about the size of grapefruits and it seemed like all we did was run up and down a myriad of canyons and crevices. I felt great this morning after a decent night rest and was hoping to put up a good number today. And God willing I was able to. But it seemed like I had to work way too hard to do so. The highlight of today was the final 1500ft climb from CP3 to the finish. It was straight uphill for 8.5km. I was in ninth place at the time and trailing the eigth place competitor by seven minutes. My goal for the final stretch was to just chop it out and attempt to catch him. And I finally got him about half a mile from the finish. A nice small mental victory. Unfortunately at this point the legs are completely shot and just dont have the spring Id like to run faster. But as they say it is what it is. There are no days to recover now. So just got to keep battling. And despite many rolled ankles, kicked stones and bad steps the feet/ankles are hanging in there. As are the ST5s.
Tomorrow is supposedly the hardest leg of the race as it involves 42km of very technical terrain. A lot of it will be climbing and scrambling. The highlight will be running through Shiptons Arch (also known as Heavens Gate) which is the tallest natural archway in the world. Supposedly taller than the Empire State Building. We shall see but Im sure its going to be quite a challenge. Im hoping to just survive tomorrow with no major blowouts and stay around the top 5 to gear up for the 50-mile day. Historically thats been my best stage as it will be flat and ultimately comes down to who wants it most.
Thx again to everyone for the extraordinary support. Cant tell you how much it means or how big a smile it places on my face. Wish I had more time to read through them all but theres generally a line 15 deep waiting to get on the computers. And there are only five. Safe to say I take my sweet time though.
Aunt Aud - Please sent Uncle Bern my best wishes. Cant imagine the pain hes dealing with right now but let him know hes in my thoughts. I know his road will be a long one. And as I know he wont quit nor will I.
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