Atacama Crossing Blogs 2019
Atacama Crossing (2019) blog posts from Andy Haven
05 October 2019 06:01 pm (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
What a journey.... I’m bloody done!! ??? so pleased to have finished such an amazing challenge.
Its amazing what the body can do with dedication, love and huge amounts of support. I have never been immersed in such a harsh environment, with such a fantastic and supportive group of people...life changing for sure. I have been so emotional for the last couple of days but I’m just embracing it and rolling with it.
Getting back to the hotel and having a wash... wow the simple things really feel special, but the most special moment of my week, being able to FaceTime Suzy, George and Monty.... without the support of my amazing and awesome family I would not be here, thank you so much for being you.
I have been stripped down physically and mentally, but built myself up again with the support of the people around me and all those who have been sending messages. Thanks Guys ???
05 October 2019 07:44 am (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
So the long march is all done…that was hard and I’m suffering now. I don’t have much food for today and am not feeling great, headaches and just feeling weak. I got in about 2130. I was cold and had my routine planned, so I went to bed clean and had been fed. I was basically on my own all day yesterday….solitude…..just a lot of time in my own head.
I only have 12k to do tomorrow and I’m done.
In camp today, its still super windy and there is just sand everywhere…. Im quite empty, not a great time to write the blog, but has to get done.
Standing and clapping in the last finishers and seeing the people finished around camp, I’m just welling up.
03 October 2019 06:48 am (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
What an awesome start to the day, major mix of terrain, loads of soft sand climbing at angles, wow..tough but stunning. After about 6k, we came to a massive canyon, skied down a massive sand dune and landed up in the canyon….then had to go down the river, under a waterfall…stunning.
Then came the saltflats…. I don’t known how to describe…like running on coral, that has soft sand below and keeps collapsing….one of the lady’s in camp described it as trying to walk in stilettos on wet cobbles, whilst drinking a glass of wine….clearly not one I can relate to. We had to cover about 7k in total, but about 5 of the really nasty stuff.
My trainers and gators are shredded, fortunately I stayed on my feet, unlike some others who have some nasty cuts. My feet are getting a bit gnarly, big blisters, means lots of needles and tape…. Only one big one to go and then I can crawl if need to on Sat.
Sat in camp waiting for the last of the competitors to arrive, a super tough day so its getting late. The wind is howling and the sand is everywhere…. But stunning views.
Big day tmw, 80K, big dunes, more saltflats and I excpect to be out there 16-17 hrs…. bring it on…
Thanks for all the support guys, the messages are a major lift when sat in camp….Lets keep truckin and see this thing out…
01 October 2019 09:49 pm (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
Stage 3 already, im tired and this is going to be a tough day, mainly due to the terrain. The weather gods have been kind and its cloudy, so about 20-25 degrees. The stage starts well, a solid little trundle all the way to checkpoint 1, then the crazy salt flats start and its all I can do to move through without breaking an ankle and im using poles….the leaders who ran through this are truly amazing….
Once through the saltflats, the soft sand starts and basically does not finish….there are big dunes to go up and ski down, but my shoulders are hanging off and im power hiking, smooth but covering good ground. At CP 3 a bit of a stop to sort out some blisters, but nothing major. The cooler day is a major relief on this stage. Some big vert to cover, short and sharp on soft sand mainly, so trying my best not to slid back down.
Made it safely in, so happy but im very tired….its 40+km tomorrow so its going to be very tough, as the fatigue is high. Im keeping the calories going in, so hopefully can take it steady tmw, ahead of the long march.
Loving the comment/messages, please keep them coming as they are a real highlight in the cyber tent following the solitude of the stage.
Keep on trucking.......
I am on the left bib 31
01 October 2019 06:28 am (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
At last a decent nights sleep, not too cold and no need to get up and pee…. (simple pleasures)!! Its was about zero overnight and 3 degrees when we set off this morning. After a battle with the pack (its becoming a pain) I got to the start line late and had to slowly make my way through the runners. It was a couple of k to the canyons.. then let then water crossings begin, in and out of freezing cold water from the snow capped volcanoes for about 5k…. stunning but difficult, most of the water was mid shin deep, but parts were mid thigh….
After clearing the canyons and the valley, we turned up a brutal climb…no shade and no wind…we just kept climbing, on to a massive ridge that we followed for about an hour. At we were faced with a huge sand dune…it was approx. 1km down…. The quickest and most fun 1k I will have all week!!!
Once I had skied my way down, it was onto the valley floor and onto the next checkpoint. Just 11k they said….well that was some 11k….all soft sand and dried up riverbed, that was like walking across a mass of broken roof tiles….it was so hard…..
The camp flags finally came into view, but the route cruelly wound around and took us up one final sand dune, then across the line. Well that was a tough day, especially for the feet, wet and then sand…off to the med tent to get some painful needles stuck in them…
30 September 2019 06:47 am (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
Bloody freezing, to utterly baking….
So night 1 in the tent, it was about minus 5 due to the altitude and we were all bloody frozen. You make good friends quickly in that situation. Getting up to go for a pee was an experience… but wow those stars, I have never seen a sky like it, clear bright, you could just see everything, except for the camp loo, as I couldn’t get my headlamp working.
We started at 8am and it was still minus 1, but off we rolled into the wonderful rainbow valley. It was a real mix of tough terrain and combined with the altitude and a very heavy pack, resulted in a slow steady start. I rolled happy through check point 1 but on the way to checkpoint 2 the pack got the better of me…it was hammering my shoulders, I tried to adjust and limit the bounce, but it was too late. The show must go on, so power hike time!! I was setting a good pace, that was until all the course markers went missing! There were about 20 of us all trying to find the route, after about 20mins the course moto guy came along and gave us some rough directions… after about 5k on a plateau we headed down a dried river bed for bout another 6k….still no markers…I caught a fellow competitor and we gave each other solace….but still we were worried….at last racing the planet flags and a checkpoint….relief
I kept trucking across a vast open plain…oh and now the temperature has started to soar… on its way to 40 degrees. Once the plain was covered, we turned into a canyon and climbed for 6k. exposed and hot this was a tough job, but the poles were out and the power hike ruled the day….
A tough but fair day. Feet are ok only a few small blisters, but it’s the shoulders that are really feeling it. so now to camp routine and much needed rest. Bring on day 2
28 September 2019 07:48 am (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
27 September 2019 07:47 pm (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
02 September 2019 10:35 am (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
19 August 2019 10:28 am (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
16 August 2019 08:22 am (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
12 July 2019 11:30 am (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
So I'm having a crack at the Blog thing.. sorry if its not of interest.. just give it a swerve -- I will try and get updates as I go and daily updates form the race.. written in the cyber tent!!
Feeling somewhat self conscious writing this and getting the fundraising going, but I know telling the story and opening up is a key part of my journey. Even just writing this is helping me better understand and frame the "why"
80 Days... wow this bad boy is coming quickly...
Training bizarrely is the easy thing,.... bag on back, water, food and RUN FORREST RUN ?? well at least it requires minimal thought (thanks to @performancecoaching.me)
The logistics... wow... mental..it’s an expedition not a run! Every gram and calorie count!! Good job I love a spreadsheet .
Last weekend weighing and recording the details of all my kit and food, Monty; “Dad what’s this for?", Me; "not really sure but the list says I have to take it, so its going in"
So much stuff to cram into the pack... its a science.... I have a lot to learn!!
The latest... buy a pair of trainers (of course I need another pair!)... remove laces and send off to a shop to have Velcro sewn all around them.. why,... to attach gators!
Then there is the food planning, I'm calorie counting !! day by day needs to be scheduled... assessed and weighed... I thought doing all this exercise you could eat what you want!
In a strange way, whilst its massively daunting and logistically overwhelming, its just part of the journey and challenge, so I'm trying to be as immersive as possible
For the Stato among you (I know there are a lot), since the start of the year I'm at 1,500 km's (940mil), mostly just chugging along with a heavy pack (like a tortoise). Lots of Epping Forest (lovely place to run) and London City miles. Some Thames Path action that was a bit much on the day.. should have gone slower. I have gone through about 35m of K-Tape, trying to hold my feet and back together and about 6.4kg's of Recovery Powder...
There is much more to come, so need to stay strong and keep on truckin'
Finally, but most importantly.... Thank you all for your support, together you have smashed my fundraising target and with work matching, you have made a huge contribution to these charities and we can't thank you enough. Now I just need to go and get dusty in the desert
Current Favourite PodCast
Get Over Yourself - Brad Kearns
The Move (TdF coverage is awesome)
Music - Has to be Annie Mac sessions on downloaded from BBCR1