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View All Posts 2022 From : Joelle Kabbaj

Joelle Kabbaj
After the long march comes the BEST/REST day!!!!

19 August 2022 08:43 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

I am writing this post at the end of a marvellous day, the rest day which we spent in the camp we reached after the long march. It is a beautiful place by a lake which to me is the exact image of Scandinavia: wooden red houses with white window frames, pines trees, a communal sauna and a pontoon where people go to jump in the lake in between 2 saunas sessions. We even had the visit of a reindeer this evening. And the cherry on the cake is that we had the surprise of a hot shower and real toilets for every one which seems like such a luxury.

 

Once again we were very lucky with the weather and were able to spend the day outside, eating, chatting, comparing our injuries and blisters and recounting our experience of yesterday so as I do not have so much time to write, let’s go back to yesterday...

I have blurred images of yesterday and mixed feelings. First and foremost, the one that comes to mind is the feeling of elation and accomplishment. The long march was long indeed and very challenging. Even if both of us have already raced this distance in the past (a little over 80 km), doing it after 4 marathons in four days is another story, not to mention the short nights in the tent, our sore backs from the heavy backpack etc. We both started strong and confident and the first half of the course was amazing. The scenery was stunning. We were running or hiking on trails in the forest, we got our feet wet and muddy again otherwise it would not be fun, we crossed a river in a small dinghy, I came across a group of children who were all cheering and so many other things which are kind of mixed up in my mind.  My feet were hurting but I kept going, thinking the fastest I go, the sooner I will finish. I had to stop at check point 2 to pop a blister and tape my toe again and managed to keep a good pace until check point 5. This is when it became a mental exercise as the last 30 km were more or less only on gravel road or dirt road and for the last 10 km even a normal road which for me is very very boring and tough as I do not enjoy road running. So I had to occupy my mind either by trying to keep up with the runners in front of me which does not always work, reciting names (of friends, cousins, past teachers etc.), thinking of more expressions with the word “pied” (see my last post!), calculating what time I will reach the next check point knowing my speed and the distance left etc... I was not enjoying myself anymore and was telling myself I would never ever participate in this kind of races and was wondering how half of the competitors who were here had made the choice to come again. I thought once is enough, that’s it!!!

After the rest day, I have to say I understand better. I am not saying I will do it again, but I can see why people might want to. The feeling of success you get once you finished this hard day, the comradeship between the participants and also the staff, all this might make it all worth it....

 

I have to mention the checkpoints and how important they are as they give you something to look forward to about every 10 km (so depending on the course about every 90 to 120 min). The staff and the volunteers there are all amazing. Super friendly and encouraging, they always have positive words that gives you the energy to continue to the next one. Those people are heroes!

 

The cyber tent is closing so I have to stop here for now. Apparently we have a chance of seeing the Northern lights around 2 am tonight. More details in my next post.

Comments: Total (1) comments

Cecile Ducreux

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 12:39 am

Hello Joelle & Younes, Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us a little about that extraordinary experience !!! Following you and RCP, we can feel the exhilarating atmosphere... it must be - indeed, a moment in a life time ! I'm so happy for you that we are truly "living the moment"... in every way, from harsh, painful to fulfilling, motivating, accomplishing and a burst to happiness and proudness !!!! I can't wait to see you at the finish line !!! Tomorrow will feel - for you guys, like a walk in the park !!!!! Me, I still don't know how you all can do this ... !!!! ha ha ha !!!! Hope you get to see the Northern lights... cherry on the cake ! Huge XX Cecile
Joelle Kabbaj
Stage 5

19 August 2022 10:53 am (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

The long march was looooooooooooooong!!!

I came back a few hours ago, Younes is still on the course. He should arrive at camp in a couple of hours.

More details tomorrow,

Going to sleep now

 

@Manue, bravo pour ton texte sur les pieds ?

Comments: Total (16) comments

Mei Hua CD

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 06:47 pm

👏👏Congratulations Joelle🍾🍾!! I am always impressed by your spirits and determination, you make it look so easy each time. Bravo 👏👏😘😘!

Mei Hua CD

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 06:47 pm

👏👏Congratulations Joelle🍾🍾!! I am always impressed by your spirits and determination, you make it look so easy each time. Bravo 👏👏😘😘!

Mei Hua CD

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 06:47 pm

👏👏Congratulations Joelle🍾🍾!! I am always impressed by your spirits and determination, you make it look so easy each time. Bravo 👏👏😘😘!

Mei Hua CD

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 06:47 pm

👏👏Congratulations Joelle🍾🍾!! I am always impressed by your spirits and determination, you make it look so easy each time. Bravo 👏👏😘😘!

Deepti & laurent Pelletier

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 04:04 pm

Bravo, bravo, bravo👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 You are truly remarkable and exceptional, so proud of you and Younes , fantastic 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 Can’t wait to hear more about it , when you are rested ♥️♥️♥️😘😘😘😘

Alexandra MALANDAIN

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 09:18 am

Bravo Joelle et Younes ! La fin est proche et les récompenseS aussi 🥇 🍕 🍺 J’ai hâte de vous voir piur le debrief. Bel effort physique et mental. Bises

Cynthia Tang

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 05:56 am

Can't believe! Super woman, keep on.

Sandra Marrie

Posted On: 19 Aug 2022 10:56 pm

Super Joëlle and Younes, you two are really amazing! One more day to go!!! 💪💪👍👍😘

emmanuelle mayrargue

Posted On: 19 Aug 2022 09:32 am

Bravo à tous les deux ! vous êtes incroyables !

Stephen W

Posted On: 19 Aug 2022 07:29 am

And please tell Younes that he has to keep going until the 96th minute like Harry Kane

Stephen W

Posted On: 19 Aug 2022 07:29 am

And please tell Younes that he has to keep going until the 96th minute like Harry Kane

Stephen W

Posted On: 19 Aug 2022 07:29 am

And please tell Younes that he has to keep going until the 96th minute like Harry Kane

Cecile Ducreux

Posted On: 19 Aug 2022 07:27 am

Bravo Joelle ! You rock !!!!! Une vrai gazelle !!!! On est tous tres fiere de toi ! Et ... on est aussi tres fier de Younes aussi ! Vraiment incroyable la paire Kabbaj !!! Bravo encore et ... repos repos repos... On attend ... quand tu peux, les details..... Bises a vous deux !!!!!

Stephen and Bonnie W

Posted On: 19 Aug 2022 07:22 am

Bravo Joelle but wait for your old man !

Bruno Merlin

Posted On: 19 Aug 2022 07:15 am

Super women … toujours aussi impressionnante Joëlle … une vraie gazelle Bravo 🍾🎈🎊🎉

Bruno Merlin

Posted On: 19 Aug 2022 07:15 am

Super women … toujours aussi impressionnante Joëlle … une vraie gazelle Bravo 🍾🎈🎊🎉
Joelle Kabbaj
Stage 4

17 August 2022 07:28 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

Another day in the pocket! We feel we have completed one challenge and it feels really good.

Tomorrow is the famous long day (81 km) and we have 27 hours to complete it. It feels like it is a separate event and we need to reset our minds to do it. I am quite excited about it and of course a little apprehensive as our bodies are already tired and sore but as we have been told many times, it is a mental thing more than anything else.

So now, a quick note about today. The first 30 km were pretty boring as we were running along a gravel road most of the time but the good thing about it is that it is entirely runnable which means we can arrive at camp earlier! The second advantage is that it is less painful for sore feet with blisters. The last section was the most beautiful so far, a forest track with a wide variety of mushrooms and I was lucky to see reindeers too. When we started, the weather was almost too warm to run but towards the end we got thunders, wind and rain which did not bother us.

It seems you are seeing much more of the scenery than us through the pictures posted on the website as we are constantly watching our feet. It is still very enjoyable and so pleasant to breath the fresh air of Lapland.

 

A little game for everyone who speaks French:

To occupy myself on the long stretches of the road we had to run this morning, since I was quite focused on my feet, I started to think of all the French expressions with the word “pied”. Let me know how many you can think of and what they are…..

 

@Fang, you would take so many pictures of the plants and the mushrooms here, the variety is amazing

@Siegrid, we met a super nice French volunteer who also signed up for the Atacama race next month.

@Virginie, Riitta sends her love and says she misses you

@Amane, Soha and Anouar, we cannot wait to share with you all the stories from the camps and you are always in our thoughts

@Papa, bravo, tu as reussi a te connecter et ton message est bien arrive!

@all, once again thank you so much for all your messages xx

Comments: Total (3) comments

Cecile Ducreux

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 11:19 pm

Hello Joëlle, Comme le dit très bien ta sœur : prends ton pied !!!!! Enjoy ! On pense bien à vous deux pour The long march! Pas à pas …. Bravo encore et un grand merci pour ce blog ! Bises

Emmanuelle Mayrargue

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 08:26 pm

Il faudrait quand même être con comme ses pieds pour penser que tu ne prendrais pas ton pied sur ce trail. J’ai toujours pensé que même si ton pied à terre était merveilleux tu avais besoin de t’évader. Un pied de biche t’a permis de forcer la porte. Peut être est ce ce breuvage issu des pieds de vigne qui t’a aider à faire un pied de nez à tous ces va-nu-pieds qui ne croyaient pas en toi ! Si par moment l’épreuve est difficile et que tu sens que tu plonges, n’oublie pas qu’un petit coup de pied t’aidera à remonter à la surface! Je ne sais pas combien de pieds il te reste à parcourir mais je sais que tu y arriveras. Ne t’impatiente pas en faisant le pied de grue en attendant l’arrivée de Younès! Si tu lui casses les pieds dès son arrivée il risque de te faire un croche pied avant de partir en courant ! Bref j’arrête car je commence à perdre pied ! En tout cas tu as toute l’admiration de ta petite sœur, qui elle prend son pied en traitant tous les pieds qu’elle trouve, qu’ils soient plats, creux, bots….

Emmanuelle Mayrargue

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 08:01 pm

Bravo encore et surtout courage pour demain ! Je suis sure que tu vas prendre ton pied 🤣🤣🤣🤣 Et de une, mine de rien !
Joelle Kabbaj
Day 3 done and dusted!!!

16 August 2022 08:06 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

Day 3 done and dusted!!!

Another beautiful day, sunny and warm even for us and an amazing course, the best so far. It was longer than day 1 and 2, our bodies are getting stiffer and more tired but we made it and we are now relaxing after having perform the usual routine:  take a recovery drink as soon as we arrive, stretch as much as possible, lie down with our feet up, chat with the runners who arrived before us, go to the medical tent to take care of our feet and eat!!! Everyday when we arrive at the camp, our tents have been set up, there are camp fires to heat water and keep warm later on in the evening, today some people are playing Molkky, some cool music is playing and every time a new runner arrives, we hear the drums and cheer for him or her. If we forget that we are going to hike again tomorrow for another 40 km it feels like we are on holiday ?

 

@Bruno - From tomorrow morning, I will follow your advice and will definitely need to use my mental strength as my feet and body hurt!

@Virginie – you make me laugh with your cheeky advice! I think I have enough food and have not felt hungry so far. But yes, there has been a few withdrawals already.

@Cecile: huge thanks for the NZ wool

@Anouar – we are relieved that your luggage are done and weigh less than 23 kgs ?

@All who were impressed that we were faster on day 2 than day 1 despite a longer stage: the reason is we had to queue for at least 30 min after the first kilometer to go one by one on an underwater tree trunk to cross a swamp. It was not the best start and guess what happened???

 

What we learned from other experienced competitors (they all seemed to be and have participated in this kind of races multiple times) : take it one day at a time and each day one section at a time so for the time being we enjoy having completed Stage 3 and tomorrow is another day...

 

Last but not least, thanks again to all of you for writing, we loved reading your messages once our back to camp  routine is over.

 

Comments: Total (1) comments

Cecile Ducreux

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 01:30 am

Fantastic Joelle ! You rock ! One step at a time, that's a good mental mantra ! We are all with you (and with Younes too) ! You're doing fantastic ! We are in great spirits with you for Day 4 !!! Go Go Go Joelle ! Xx
Joelle Kabbaj
Day 2 is over

15 August 2022 08:14 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

Hi everyone, today went well again, it was easier and faster than yesterday as there was not much elevation and not many technical parts, no rain and again beautiful landscapes. This stage was called the lake stage I believe, we ran near a few and we are camping by a beautiful one this evening. We were even allowed to swim if we wanted to but this takes more courage than taking part in the race so not many people went for it. We’d rather stay dirty and stinky than swim in freezing cold water.

We continue to be amazed by the variety of participants, some are over 70 and still finish with a smile or a few dance steps. Arriving at the camp, being cheered by those who arrived earlier, sharing tips, listening to runners’ stories, eating warm food (even though only rehydrated food we brought with us), checking our messages (thank you again to all of you who did write) is very comforting after many hours on the trail. 

That’s it for today. Tomorrow is another day…..

Comments: Total (0) comments