What a whirlwind! I am sitting here in the lobby of the Hami Hotel and cannot believe that yesterday I crossed the finish line in the Gobi Desert as the female champion and 6th overall. I am really stoked that my time was 30:49 and only an hour and forty-nine minutes slower than Namibia on a MUCH more challenging course for altitude, terrain and weather. I am so stoked! I cannot believe it. I believe it was the fastest female time on this version of the Gobi March course as well which is extra icing on the cake.
Stage 6 was extremely emotional and a bit painful. In the long march my feet had two huge blisters that developed on the bottom of each footpad. Every step came with a stabbing pain. I thought to myself that if I run or walk the pain is the same so just run for it! I really wanted to finish under 31 hours as well so I wanted to push it to the end as a victory lap.
The course was moody and had a nice cloud cover and sprinkles of rain as we went. We did a loop around the desert with a few steep climbs and the terrain was mostly rock and sand. Every footstep was a step closer to the finish of a very challenging week of running and weather conditions.
My emotions were extremely high this time due to exhaustion physically as well as the pain in my feet, being really hungry, and also dealing with the weather situations, evacuation and losing my sleeping bag and mat. I ran the last stage with only 4 hours of sleep in the past 2 nights. When I crossed the line I collapsed to the ground and thanked the Gobi Desert for such an epic week and started crying in joy and relief. My goals were achieved, the hard work was done, and it was time to rest and celebrate.
It always takes me a while to come down from the rush over here and there is still a whole lot of travel ahead to go 15 hours back in time and back around the globe to my friends and loved ones to celebrate. It will be really important to recover fully this time and also eat up. I am the lightest I have been in years and need to make sure to fuel back up for the Atacama Crossing.
Like any race, I am coming back with more tips for myself of what I want to change in Chile. The biggest and most important is to never wear a pair of shoes twice in these races. They are good for one and then need to retire. The super-hot ground and soles that were used could not take another 100 miles of running very well and my feet suffered the consequences. The shoes that are usually really hard soles can be bent and twisted and the entire bottom is squishy almost like the soles had melted. I also realized that on the super cold nights it is critical to bring a pair of smart wool toe socks so that you can have your shoes off and flip flops on at all times. Small items I will tweak too with more food choices too. I will also possibly keep a pack on my sleeping bag and mat when I am not in the tent now that mine blew away into the abyss in the Gobi Desert during the sand storm. Each race, you learn little bits and tricks form your friends to help advance your game.
To close, here is my speech for the awards banquet that took place last night. It was followed by a super fun karaoke celebration that went until 3am in the morning. The entire crew here became a really tight family and it is so exciting each time to see your loved ones and friends that have become 2nd family here. I cannot wait to see everyone again in 3 months at the Atacama Crossing in Chile. It is my favorite race in the series so far.
Here is my speech in video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKeFDQ4EagU&feature=youtu.be
So my husband lance sent me this quote on day 1 by Francis of Assisi
“start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Looking back at this past week, I would say we all at one point or another tapped into the impossible, especially on day 5. I may stand here today as the female champion and 6th overall, however, we are all champions today. What each of you have accomplished today is epic. I would like for everyone to please give each other a round of applause for that! When you travel back to your hometowns, you are hero’s and inspirational individuals that many will look up to.
Eric and Paul said it so well one night when they stated that during every stage race, no matter who you are, you will feel defeat and struggle, yet you will find your way out of it to triumph. This week has made your inner core and strength thicker. You are more mighty and when you go home you will have added another level of enlightenment to your life from this experience.
Please join me in giving a huge round of applause in gratitude for the entire 4 Deserts race crew, medical staff, volunteers and local grounds crew.
Thank you to my friends near and far, family, sponsors, husband lance and dog loki for their ongoing support of the Grand Slam Plus journey. 3 races of 5 are now complete and I hope this journey continues to inspire the masses to get outside and it continues to raise awareness and funds for Lyme Disease through the LymeLight Foundation.
Cheers and Namaste!