"The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we were called to be." -Patricia Deegan

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Challenging Impossibly Dark Swamps

A running acquaintance of mine sent me some info on a great day of documentaries coming up in Perth - still time to get the morning long run in on Sunday 6 November before heading down to see these three films:

I will have to try to catch them later, since I'll be at km 563 of my own challenge that afternoon - near the town of Pemberton on my way south.

This past weekend Rolf and I went out for our own mini-challenge: the 12 hr WARA "Dark Swamp" rogaine, advertised as containing two "nearly impenetrable swamps." I'm not sure I've met an Australian swamp yet and certainly part of me was quite keen. But Rolf didn't share this curiosity with me and I had to admit it didn't sound like the way to a high scoring finish.

Although my body felt 100% healed from Commonwealths three weeks previous and my resting HR was back below 40 bpm, I found much of the day a mental and physical struggle. My feet swelled up early and a few toes started hurting (however, no blisters or toenail damage in the end). I've had a cold since Commonwealths and my ears still plug up at times - a mild ear infection, perhaps - the feeling you get when water gets in your ears while swimming. Then Rolf got the cold but worse because he coughs most of the night, bonding us in sleep deprivation. And the night before the event, while camping on site, his Thermarest developed a leak. So he slept (aka coughed) on the gumnuts all night.

With this lead-in, we headed out into our hottest day of the spring/summer season - something like 27 degrees. Within minutes I was too hot in the unknown-name-brand pants I had chosen. I ended up with a nasty case of heat rash all over my legs, but particularly on the backs of my calves where the too-thick hardly-breathable pants doubled over with the excess material of the wide legged bottoms. I had snake gaiters over the pants - I always wear the gaiters, but I've never worn those pants for a 12 hr (and hot) event before. Very painful! And some bonus welts and small cuts from parrot-bush bashing all day.

All that for 25th place ;) We would've qualified as 3rd mixed vet team if Rolf was just a few weeks older.

I must admit, 6 hours into it I was thinking, "This hurts. And I am going to do this for 1000 kms on the Bib in two weeks time. I didn't need this reminder so close to the event. This was a bad idea." 10 PM (the end) couldn't come fast enough for me, which is not at all like I usually feel about rogaines. I was stiff, limping, stinky, whingy, and crusty with sweat.

But morning dawned with the birds calling, the sun shining, and I was back to being that lucky girl laying there in my tent enjoying a weekend in the bush. I had great recovery overnight, which was a positive boost for my Bib thinking.

I think the dark swamp I challenged this weekend was in my mind. I got a good lesson out of that which told me I'd better do some more mental preparation. This record attempt is going to be a labour of the mind and I'm going to need amazing strength in this area. The body is trained. Now I need to sharpen the mind.

Time to dust off my meditation cushion.

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