Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Atacama Crossing 2012, CHILE : Stage 3 - 40 km

I realised that I was disappointed with myself yesterday not because I have lost the second position, but more because I have not been listening to my body. I have allowed the competitiveness in me to overrule my limit and that, I felt, is not right.

So, today, I started off with a totally different strategy. I decided to run at my own pace and not bother too much about maintaining my position. I have sorted out the pain on my skin by placing the shoulder pads (which my good wife has lovingly sewn my my t-shirt) on the affected area and taping them around my waist. It worked out brilliantly and made a big difference to my performance and mood. I felt less pain in the affected area, which was bothering me a lot yesterday.

At the start of Stage 3 : you can just about see me at the front on the left :-)!

Me and Vincente  

The omnipresent Licancabur along the route

Vincente, me & David

I did most of my running today with Belgian Bart. Thanks to the different strategies which I have set for myself today, combined with proper eating and drinking before the start, I felt much stronger. We ran through a lot of sand dunes today.
Me, courting the brilliant photographer's attention :-)

That's Bart, still going strong!!
The last leg after CP3 was a real killer! I was basically 'carrying' myself through very soft sand and very sharp rocks, climbing 4 huge sand dunes in total. I was slowing down at this stage due to all these difficult obstacles and managed only to pick up speed again at the last 5 km, where I practically raced towards the finish line.

The sand dune which we encountered

The 'killer' climb!!

I was surprised to find out later that I was only 7 minutes behind Spanish David because during the course, I had the impression that I was way far behind him.

The fantastic photo taken by Scott Manthey

Unlike yesterday, I finished Stage 3 in a much better mood. I felt no pain and suffered from no blisters. What a totally different ending to a day! I was really surprised at the ability of my body to overcome all stress and challenges. I feel that all the routes so far have been very technical and challenging. They are definitely more difficult than Marathon des Sables, which I have participated in 2006 in Morocco. The terrains in Atacama are so different than that in Morocco and the sun is so much stronger due to its high altitude.

Our camp at the end of Stage 3

Well, like I have said, I finished Stage 3 in a happier mood than Stage 2 and I now look forward to Stage 4 tomorrow! Thank you, all, for the inspiring messages and comments which you have sent me, not forgetting your prayers, which got me through some very difficult moments. They mean so much to me and are very uplifting. So, please keep them coming!!   

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