RacingThePlanet Blogs 2022
View All Posts 2022 From : Marco Grobbelaar
19 August 2022 08:38 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius
~Digging deep for much needed reserves
The previous camp (an old lumber jacks’ base) was really cosy and we were all pleasantly surprised by the RTP crew with some reindeer soup Wednesday night before the long march started yesterday, prepared by kind locals running the place. Really tasty!
I tried getting in some good sleep before the long day, but the excitement and stress and hundreds of questions running through your head about the right pace strategy and hydration plan to follow didn’t really allow for that.
It’s quite incredible what the human body is capable of. I started off yesterday’s long march in a lot of pain. My knees and ankles were both sore and a bit swollen and the long muscle running next to your shin (not sure what it’s called) also had some burning pain going. My strategy was to start off with a walk for an hour and then see if I can get jogging along.
The pain got worse and I ended up walking most of the 1st 40km that took me over 7hours which at least was beautiful through the forests, in between lakes & rivers and it included a river crossing on a small boat being pulled across with a rope (photos to follow after the race). I got some anti-inflammatory cream and pain killers at checkpoint 4 and I soon realized that whether I walk or jog, the pain isn’t going to subside, which puts you in an awkward situation to find that fine balance between running through it and suffer for a shorter period of time or walk more & suffer less but for a longer time. I chose the former.
I got my rhythm as soon as the pain killer meds kicked in and at checkpoint 5 just refilled water bottles and got hot water for my lunch which I had on the go and left checkpoint 5 in high 40’s ranking for the day. I ran probably 95% for the rest of the way and picked up my pace. It was good meeting other racers along the way and also to pass a number of them and I remember one milestone looking down at my watch having reached 60km in 10hours and thinking to myself only a half marathon distance to go! I felt exhausted and had to now dig deep for much needed reserves. (I think I found some Guiness energy left in my reserve beer tank to carry me further. )
I passed through the checkpoints, took another x2 pain killers at CP6 and soon only had 10km to go from the last checkpoint 7. I picked up the pace even more and averaged around 7min p/km for that last stretch and really gave it my all. I finished the 81.2km in 12h53min just before 9pm in 35th place for the day which put me in 36th place overall, which I’m happy with, despite the pain and having pushed through it. I take my hat off to my tent mates Sam, Gabrijel and Etan for pushing through their struggles and pain as well, well done guys, absolute legends! Some racers still came in until 8am this morning, that is some serious perseverance and will power.
Thank God today is a rest day before the last 11.9km, as the whole body is in pain. The camp we are currently at is absolutely stunning alongside the Luosu Lake, where we were treated to a steam & smoke sauna, cold swim in the lake, warm showers out of water buckets and access to our drop bag. You really appreciate these things after a hard & dirty 5 days behind you.
Thanks for all the wishes, support & comments. It really motivated me along the way. Last stretch, almost there!