The Last Desert Blogs 2018
View All Posts 2018 From : Jacqui Bell
29 November 2018 03:08 am (GMT-03:00) Brasilia
Day 3…imagine a massive sand dune… now picture running 600metres up it and 600metres down it… over and over and over for 10 hours… yep that was my day yesterday. Mentally it was such a grind.
The first part I smashed out with Bruno; the unspoken comdition of running with Bruno is to be quite so I was pretty much silent for the first 2 hours… some competitors were asking the race officials if I was okay because usually everyone on the course can hear me jibber jabbering away.
Bruno lost his groove and wasn’t feeling very motivated and I was the same, it is very hard to stay motivated running for so long. I felt like a hamster in a bloody wheel. So after a number of mini siestas as I was calling them where I would lay around for about 2-5 minutes the race directors would be like commmeeeee on jacqui and id feel guilty and get back into it. I also was still aware of my positioning in third haha I didn’t want to mess that up.
At one point I had a little sit down at the top in the snow with other young competitor Jason who told me we are both going to redo the grand slam when we are 83 to be the oldest to do it… I said I dont think so haha, once of this is enough. Anyway I got it together after a few more tantrums and finished off with 42km’s of pretty much up a big zig zag and down again in super super soft snow. Thank gosh for the spikes I have ben wearng to help kep some grip.
We were then told at dinner that another 12 hour day was coming up again. Unfortunately I have been sleeping terribly due to something in my neck or back compressing a nerve which is making my whole right arm and hand numb. I had this in 2 of the other races as well but not this bad. I am barely sleeping as it is agony during the night even aftee triggering it heaps. so todays 430am wakeup was hard. The weather was poor though so the race start time was pushed back. Unfortunately we have had 2 shorter days due to weather now which makes clocking up the kilometres more challenging.
So today Day 4 was originlly 12 hours… was cut dow to 8 hours so I think I got just under 40km’s done. The short loops we have been doing in the snow have been the biggest challenge, on paper it really doesn’t sound that bad but it it has been so hard. Anyway its been such a long day and its already 10pm here.
Bit tired to type much more but I am having the best time and all the people are all legends. Such a great trip. Stoked I am sitting in third spot for the women still.
Thanks for all the emails haha brilee your story cracked me up and ally welcome back, thanks Amos xox
28 November 2018 04:44 am (GMT-03:00) Buenos Aires, Georgetown
Clearly my unintentional swim yesterday wasn’t enough…I said YES to do the Polar Plunge this evening
So today started off pretty cruisey, it was breakfast followed by stretching, triggering and more stretching. It was then lunch time…some delish pasta which was a nice little or shall I say large carb up before the afternoon run.
It was the most spectacular course this afternoon, the spot we are in right now is breath taking – Danco Island.
Today has been a lot of BUCKET LIST moments!!
- Saw a humpback whale and it’s blow hole
- Got a selfie with a penguin and ran 1m behind it for a few minutes
- Saw a lot of ice bergs
- Saw a massive seal
- Went swimming in Antarctica (this was solo cold and very painful)
The run today was only 3-4 hours covering about 18km’s I think which was 9 loops. It was a 1km vertical upwards run then 1km down as the loop and we just did this over and over. I cruised in 3rd spot again today and teamed up with Annistina who is in 4th spot. The camaraderie today was awesome, Annistina and I kept swapping who lead each lap. We had a great afternoon chit chatting most of the way and we stopped and had a snack break for 5-10 min to enjoy the most unreal scenery I have ever seen. When I say chitchat I mean we chatted and ran most of the afternoon, apparently everyone could just hear my voice for 4 hours hah sorrrry…
Today was definitely the day to just soak it all up.
So post run it was about 7pm and yep it was already FREEZING but I couldn’t say no to the polar plunge… I stripped down to my sports bra and tights and in I went… What was it like??... PAINFUL… WOW SOOOO MUCH OUCH!! That was a once in a lifetime experience because I won’t be doing that again in a hurry! Then I had to strip off my wet clothes and get warm again before getting onto the zodiac boat, this was a challenge in itself because I couldn’t feel any part of my body, every limb was numb so I was pretty much stark naked standing on some rocks trying to get warm whilst about 4 photographers were getting pictures of penguins which were only a metre away from me playing in the water.
Pretty surreal day :)
Just under 80km’s down now and tomorrow is a big 12 hour day coming up… probably about a 2km loop for the whole 12 hours… mental battle coming up!! On paper we may seem like we aren’t going at super speedy paces but I have been kicking along pretty consistently and feeling strong in my pace but the conditions don’t allow for any record breaking times.
Having the most unreal time and I can’t wait for everyone to see my time here from the epic footage Colin is capturing. He has been working so hard and is bloody social butterfly with everyone on the ship.
10pm here so I am signing off and heading to bed.
Thanks for all the emails I really enjoy reading them.
27 November 2018 04:43 am (GMT-03:00) Brasilia
Finally it is race day, I was up at 4am packing strapping my feet and packing and sorting my gear for the day. Yes we get given lists on what to take and all but its very hard to know how cold you are going to be and what layers you want to be wearing etc. Breakfast was at 5am and then we all began heading to King George Island on the zodiacs.
Ohhhhhh before the zodiacs I got my TITANTIC MOMENT at the front of the ship J
It was freezing in the zodiac across and I didn’t have my gloves on whoops so my fingers were going to drop off. When we arrived to shore we placed our food on the big arp for the day which is pretty much chocolate protein bars into a clear container (not allowed any wrappers left on anything). This also has our drop bag of backup stuff which we can only touch at the end of the day or for an emergency.
715am and we were off, the layout for the day was a 7.5k loop on one side and then a 7k loop the other side so approx. 14k loop in total. After just 3.5k I was layering down which was an effort and a half as I had to stop and change in the middle of the course.
Now is for the highlight of the day… 11k in I was jogging through some soft snow and next minute my whole body was chest depth in FREEZING water. Yep I fell through the ice sheet under the soft snow and it was like quick sand, I tried to use my poles to get out but id just sink down even more. Half of my pack was soaked and most of my body. I was in the water for about 1-2 minutes before a Korean guy was able to pull me out with my poles. The medic was close by and saw some comotion so was there just after I got out. The course was cut short about 200metres on that sixs then so it didn’t happen to anyone else. I was absolutely freezing!! I had my first tears of the week at this moment… I was freaking out because I was literally in freezing ice water. Back in race one I definitely would have had massive sook about it but this time I pretty much must sucked it up and kept going. I was allowed to access my drop bag and change clothes but it was just too difficult and my shoes were drenched still anyway. So I continued on for the next 10 hours soaking wet.
I had a really solid day 1 considering this, I finished up 3rd for females, and 12th overall tying with about 8 other guys. At 42k I stopped and had my 2minute noodles from my thermos which warmed me up a little but I pretty much tried to keep moving as all my base layers were still very wet and I was getting a pretty nasty cough… mind you a lot of competitors have coughs by now aswell.
So on what I though was my last lap I was told I would fit in another 7.5k loop … I wasn’t keen on this at all but luckily Ann and I decided to both be the last ones to sneak in an extra loop. By now my left knee was jarred up and aching so bad and my plantar fascia was pretty horrble aswell. Even the top male runner Ho Chung said in passing to me during the day how tough he was finding it and this guy is bloody invisible. The terrain was just so hard, the soft snow was torture, a lot of steps would result in you being knee deep in snow.
So as the race looped around it was nice how competitors would encourage each other as they passed by, all the other desert races you can find yourself alone for hours but here you’d get a little pick me up from others.
My friend Bruno skipped the high fiving and instead would see who could push the other one over first as we passed each other haha and a few times he somehow had the energy to make a snow ball and try and get me with it. This kept things interesting.
In the last 3kms Ann and I were literally in the craziest winds!! It was hectic so we were both heads down and just had to trek it to the finish. Then with 200m’s to go we saw 2 of the cutest penguins only a few metres away from us and they got closer and closer. They were running around flapping their little wings, it was so cute!!
Back on the boat by 7pm, dinner at 730pm, I had a quick stretch and I was in bed by 9. I slept pretty poorly as I had a ridiculous fever from being in my wet clothes all day so I kept walking up very unwell and sweating like crazy.
Today we are still traveling to our next destination so we will begin running at 1\2pm for maybe 4-6 hours…not as bad as yesterdays almost 12 hours.
Anyway I am off, thanks for all the emails!
26 November 2018 02:02 am (GMT-03:00) Buenos Aires, Georgetown
Day 2 on the boat today was spent predominantly in bed, unfortunately both myself and my roommate Vikki aren’t well at all. Its 9pm here and I decided to take of my patch behind my war for sea sickness because I think it was making me feel ILL and so drowsy. I slept through a few things today - whale sightings today, a penguin talk and a meeting but luckily was brought up to speed pretty quickly.
Tomorrow we will be up at 4am for a 5am breakfast before starting our run at 6/630am. The game plan is 12 hours tomorrow with x2 7.5k loops forming one big 14k loop which will be the biggest loop of the week and flattest so it’s our best chance to get as many km’s in as possible. There is a high chance we will be stopped by midday due to a storm possibly coming our way… we will see. I am very keen to start running as I am feeling so lazy just laying around… I did a few burpees on the front deck this morning and wow it felt like I was in a sitting in a chair being spun round and round and round… not good for the sickness haha!
I tried to rope some other competitors into it but they weren’t having a bar of it.
Anyway off to sort my gear and boots and everything I need for tomorrow as there is a thorough process to go through with our boots and cleaning off before and after getting on the zodiac which transports us to and from land. My food for the day has all been unwrapped and put into a clear container, seems a bit gross having a chocolate bar, salami stick and gu chews all mixed in together. Tomorrow is on king George island.
Poor scottys gear never showed up so he had to buy and rent an entire new kit for the race, pretty horrible for him. In his stuff was my race gaiters so I have to deal with the long ones I have which aren’t great but will do the job. Scotty just came and checked on me and thought someone must of thrown me overboard already cause of how quiet I have been today due to being unwell.
Off to bed, big day tomorrow J
Ps. I still don’t think it is too cold, we are snug inside so I have been in shorts most of the time still. Tomorrow is going to hit approximately -10 degrees.
24 November 2018 08:25 am (GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi
It is 4pm and I am currently sitting in the library… bit of rare place for me to be hanging out but this is where the ipads for blogging are setup. I am looking straight out the window as the sea and the water keeps going in and out of view and I start feeling a little sick in the stomach again. Most of us have patches behind our ear to help with nausea and also I am taking sea sickness tablets but the patches make everyone SOOO TIRED.
Today involved us waking up for breakfast at 8-9 am, sleeping till 1230, lunch 1230-130 and I have slept again till 4pm… we are just all exhausted. The food has been great so far, breakfast is a buffet with eggs and everything and then lunches and dinners are 3 course meals with 2-3 options available so it is a real luxury compared to the other deserts. I am still loving being disconnected, this time it will be a total of about 11 days without using Instagram, facebook and all the brain zapping apps which I am slightly addicted to back home, so to say the least the detox is good for me.
On the boat is all the runners etc plus about 25 other people who are doing some kayaking, sightseeing and camping out a night in Antarctica… most of the other people think we are slightly insane. Our cabins are 2 people per, I am sharing with vikki a lady from Melbourne aus which I lined up pre race and she is awesome, she gets to witness me losing something every 5 seconds in all my stuff and having mini tantrums. Both of us are constantly waking up to the sound of my stuff flying off a shelf across the room or a chair falling over due to the boat rocking. The funniest part is watching everyone move around the ship half asleep and looking drunk falling all over the place.
Colin and I have been working on some interviews today as there isn’t a heap of stuff to film just yet, Colin copped sea sickness this morning vomiting pretty badly.
All the competitors are really nice and there is actually a life coach here - Lot is her name who works at city cave in Brisbane where I go for all of my recovery (infared sauna, floating, massage etc) Lot’s husband is competing in the race so she came along for the trip.
Best moment so far was when I tried to get my solo titanic moment at the front of the ship but apparently I wasn’t meant to be there so some workers got a little grumpy at me haha whoops… I was so close! Anyway I am going to go for a walk around outside and see if some fresh air helps and then finish off reading a book I started yesterday that I found on board.
Tomorrow will be a similar day as today, I just hope I don’t feel so tired.
23 November 2018 02:43 am (GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi
WOOOHOOO the final Desert. Here we are in Ushuia about to head to Antarctica.
This will be a very short and sweet blog - I will leave all the novels for writing on board the ship.
So this is it - Race 4... almost there!
I am currently at an awesome little cafe in Ushuia having coffee with Bruno, Isabelle, Leon and Colin. We head to the race briefing at midday and then we have a little bit of time to grab lunch and any extra gear we need - I still have to grab some gaiters as mine were in Scotty's bag and his gear hasn't shown up but me not having my gaiters is nothing compared to him having to purchase his entire new kit! OUCH!
We board the ship at 4/5pm and then have 2.5 days of travel before beginning our run on Monday... eek 2.5 days of just sitting around chatting to eachother we will all know eachother really well at the end of this trip haha.
I use my own personal Blog to post about my journey this year to complete the 4 Deserts / if you would like to have a read of it the link is below.
I will be using this Blog during the event to write about how I am going each day - my friend will be transferring it across onto my personal blog which will have photos etc added to it.
Happy following :)