Gobi March Blogs 2019
Gobi March (2019) blog posts from Lisa Bourgogne
03 August 2019 05:31 pm (GMT+08:00) Kuala Lumpur, Singapore
I did it. I actually completed 250kms across Mongolia by foot.
Woke up the morning of Stage 5 (Friday) with minimal ability to move or lift the bottom half of my right leg with the pain like a blade having been stabbed upwards along my shin bone and an inflamed left knee (blisters being irrelevant for me at this point)... not the ideal combo for moving forward. But I placed myself with my 2 other fellow criplees at the back of the pack and slowly but surely through rivers, rocky fields, gorgeous meadows (with deer flies having a party biting us away due to our lightning speed), and endless beautiful valleys we encouraged each other to push through grunting and yelping away - the downhills testing our pain threshold to the max ... it must have been quite an amusing site to watch us from a distance - but we jokingly pretended to race one another and finally after a long day on our feet we heard the drums and made it to the cut off with 30mins to spare to the sound of our fellow competitors and volunteers cheering us on from afar at the last river crossing of the day into camp. Such a whirlwind of emotion getting there after enduring 40kms of pain. No one can prepare you for that. But with the banter and company, you can still finish smiling! Needless to say, my priority was not checking the cyber tent that evening but sitting down.
Stage 6 today - woke up earlier to a freezing cold morning to enable us (the slower bunch) to set off before the rest so we would all make it around the same time to the final final finish line - the last real push of determination ... popped some drugs to just get me through the last 10kms and needed help to put my right shoe on. I’ve never been so happy to see the finish line while entering into this gorgeous ancient city, my first tears shed that it was completed and I didn’t let myself give up along the more difficult moments of this journey.
I have dedicated so much of my time and focus towards that finish line and it was more than worth it ... it truly is such an inexplicable feeling to accomplish the Gobi March and be surrounded by the support of incredible people who also constantly challenge themselves, new friends and with beer & pizza at the end.
Now for a much needed shower, a good banquet dinner this evening to celebrate our success and finally a good night’s sleep and some much needed time to recover my body and poor legs.
01 August 2019 09:00 pm (GMT+08:00) Irkutsk, Ulaan Bataar
Hello world – thank you for the wonderful messages to read today – helps so much to keep going forward.
The Long March was so so so much harder than any of us, especially first timers imagined, it truly was the never ending road but we knew that each step was one closer, we left at 8am and we didn’t get in until 1.30am with just short rests at CPs about 10kms apart. Doesn’t seem like much but with over 10kgs and the sun out at its hottest with no wind or rain, it took its toll especially when you couldn’t see the end of where you were heading and just following pink flags and then glowsticks (can’t believe I used to love those). But we soldiered on, each having their “moment”. I just wanted to cut my legs off, I’ll admit that it’s the sorest I have ever been in my life – physically broken but luckily not mentally broken as many were (it takes a lot these days), but truly barely able to walk in the last 30kms. When tears were close, I just decided to laugh – it was self-inflicted after all!... In the end, after the never ending roads and sloping hills our split off group of 3 finally saw the end in the far distance…I can’t quite explain how elated and fatigued and overwhelmed you feel – but it was done, approx. 200km cleared. Could not have pulled through without each other’s support and push. Friendships made for life right there.
The night’s sleep was restless as each movement brings pain but everyone was in the same boat, but I managed to get some sleep. This morning I noticed the 6 biggest blisters I have ever had in my life, and was first in line at the medic tent for pain killers for my body. We have the day “off” today as cut off time was 7.30am so everyone is limping around under a hot hot hot sun and just doing some major recovery (aka nothing) prepping for tomorrow’s 40+kms big hill. Doesn’t help that going to the toilet at this location is like a technical route in itself as it’s like walking around a field of Bohol hills…. Right now I am sat in the middle of nowhere with endless plains surrounding us, beautiful. Even though yesterday took us to our limits, it’s only made me and all of us stronger. I am glad to have finished it and I am still so grateful to be experiencing this with this amazing group of smelly people haha. Thank you again for all the messages and love and support. Priceless beyond words xxx (ps we have not seen any media footage)
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Claire and JP Saf
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30 July 2019 09:00 pm (GMT+08:00) Irkutsk, Ulaan Bataar
Firstly Happy 5-0 Birthday to Claire Langree Saf!! Love you heaps and enjoy the celebrations xx
What a day today!! Climbing the rocks in the valleys was awesome. Loved it and what a beautiful view when you take the time to look back … that was after a nice evening in the ger aka. Hotel Hilton!! I was intending on walking the whole day but found some hidden energy to run/ walk the first 2 checkpoints with one of my tent mates for about 20km, however the moment we hit the sand dunes we had to walk as that was 3 steps forward, 2 backwards. The weather was quite hot today too and I don’t think I want to see another sand dune for a while but with company you can conquer anything with a good convo and some laughter. Actually I have laughed quite a lot since we started (aside for the times when I was unsure if the wild animals would run for me!) and many are envious of how well our tent gets on… helps dull the growing aches and pains … I can’t wait for a massage!!
Tomorrow is the Long March 76kms…. We are going to attempt to do it in one go and hopefully end by midnight – our tent group will stick together and walk the whole way as some of their feet are full of blisters, touch wood mine are just managing. We are hoping for nice weather and walking under clear skies, apparently that’s amazing out here.
This is definitely tough, but it’s such a wonderful experience. Internet is hit and miss with the reception here. I’m still in awe at the expanse of land, truly stunning. Time to do some medical love on a few niggles! STILL ALIVE and smiling and happy xxx
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Claire Langree Saf
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28 July 2019 09:00 pm (GMT+08:00) Irkutsk, Ulaan Bataar
Made it through Stage 1!
What a beautiful place. There are so many wonderful people here and I myself think they are crazy with all the amazing things they have achieved as far as endurance. It's really cool to have so many like minded people together in the middle of these ginormous plains.
We had a pretty big hill to conquer and having packed my bag so well I couldn't find my camera which was annoying, but there's many more photo opportunity coming up after all. I have great tent mates and we ran most of the race together which is great motivator. It's actually very breezy and quite cooling which makes it a very nice change to the humid climate in training and temperature drops to about 5C once the sun is gone!
I am keeping this short to say Day 1 was great and need to go and get some stretching and rolling going and some food in me. Seeing these endless rolling hills and valleys is really such a phenomenal site and eagles circling up above.
So far so good. To Day 2 we go!!
Big Love from Gobi xx
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11 July 2019 04:00 pm (GMT+08:00) Irkutsk, Ulaan Bataar
I won't lie. This past week has been a little weirdly emotional and my mind has been on overdrive. I am getting overwhelmed to the point where I am dreaming about the race. You'd think that registering a year ago and being the overly-organised self that I am, I wouldn't still have heaps to do 2 weeks before my flight takes off … but I'm still frantically sewing my patches on all my sleeves (welcome to my exciting evenings… and it's damn hard doing long sleeves!). I have finally stopped procrastinating and got my medical & blister kit which I need to further minimise to what I may actually use over 7 days, anything to save space and weight as I'm sure I won't be needing 10m of porous tape! … I have been pondering on whether my half gaiters (for the 10km of sand dunes) will be enough? - but during this morning's run I decided I’ll do a McGuyver and make use of my pocket knife and duct tape to cover the front of my shoes, fingers crossed that won't be a regrettable decision. There are so many small but important details to think of, but I'm aiming to have 98% of my gear all sorted by this Sunday evening as a goal (so my mind can relax a bit)… then the next mission will be fitting it all in my 30L bag. If only I had a Mary Poppins bag. My coach also told me to look over the course and start having a feel for it and what each day will bring, without over-analysing too much (I think he forgot I am a female) and while I was looking at those peaks … I realised I need to sort some music for the moments I will need a little burst of energy and motivation … and I found the perfect cheesy song that just cracks me up - "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus - I swear she's done an RTP/ 4 Deserts race before, no truer words, so will be singing and giggling along to that, thanks Miley haha!…. And finally my training is about to taper off and there's a couple of rest days marked in my calendar …. So here's a big welcome to some foot reflexology! Thanks everyone for the continued messages of support. Totally feeling the love!!
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Claire Langree Saf
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