Marathon Des Sables prep stage 1

Twelve became four and then four became one. Watts app groups went from lively to dormant over the course of a second installment.

Options of putting this off for a year were put forward, but I knew an experience like this will be harder to justify as time rolls on.

In all honesty I was not really up for this until very recently. Why would anyone want to go and run two hundred and fifty kilometers in a desert over the course of six days. Why would anyone want to leave the comfort of a memory foam mattress to sleep on a desert floor. Why would any one want to put themselves in the position to need a venom pump in the unlikely event that they may be bitten by a snake.

Deep down my why is an understanding with myself that I know that this challenge will expand the recesses of my own ceiling. It will help punch through where I am at right now and raise the bar. It will , I feel be so draining over the course of 6 days that It can only aid in the creation of further ideas – and abilities to deliver those ideas.

Or worst case scenario be a good blog post in the airport on the way home.

I listened to Jeff Butler on a podcast with Ger Prendergast where he talked about getting a runners high in last years event. Sleeping under the stars properly for the first time does seem pretty awesome and I’d imagine sun rise and sun sets will be pretty special. But having been to Morocco surfing a few times it is still hard to get a head around what it will be like stringing those days together. Especially the long stage which is up on ninety kilometers.

I have an intrigue, about how I can grow with this challenge mentally over any sort of physical challenge. If anything it is the mental aspect that I am most exited about.

With a one day event there is always the lure of a coffee, warm bath and or warm bed. Knowledge of no matter how hard you push on safety of comfort is quite close by in comparison. If perhaps one was to over extend, get lost or do something daft to which i am quite capable of doing. One is quite fucked. And this is the cheese, but also a developing anxiety. I am at that stage, of all consumption now. Dreaming about training or about the event itself. Paranoia about kit and weight and beginning to read and watch stories about previous competitors and what they do and do not recommend.

One thing i am glad about is the fact that i started fat adaption training nearly a year ago now. That was a damn good idea by my coach Stephen or Stephan, i can never remember is it an e or an a.

Fasted training , and essentially getting used to running on very little food i think is practically essential for the Sahara. One has to carry what you eat, so carrying less that 15k calories for the 6 days makes a lot of sense. The mattress i have bought is already starting to annoy me and i have not even opened it out yet. I am seriously debating just roughing it on the sand.

I bought two pairs of HOKA One one’s today, one will be sent to have gaiters attached to prevent sand from getting into ones shoes. James Gereghty a former competitor of this has advised feres balsam for treating feet for blisters which are enemy number one out there. I will have all necessary kit by next month. All that is really outstanding is a down jacket and sleeping bag, cooking bits and bobs. The big debate seems to be whether to bring a phone for photos, the weight of a phone adds to all so I will make a decision on that soon enough and maybe get a lighter go pro or something similar.

Anyway, the most important part of all this is running some pretty crazy distances. And that to me is a hobby, irrespective of the hour, weather or light. Just add caffeine and I have the best miles to gallon ratio this side of the Shannon.

It looks like there will be a 100km race in late February locally and that should be the first real proper test of the season, and i am quite looking forward to running my first 100km. It feels like a badge that one has to achieve in the ultra distance journey.

My program for the next two weeks has not dropped yet, I get the feeling that the long run days will be veering towards three hours now.

Bring it on.

One thought on “Marathon Des Sables prep stage 1

  1. Fair play Barry -dunno if you were chatting to him but Downsie here in Sligo did MDS in 2015; he blogged about it here …if ya want to contact him give the lads in ChainDrivenCycles a bell and they’ll put ya in touch, very best of luck (Brian/ Sligo tri)

    Hey Brian

    Thanks a mill, will do so. Would be great to talk to someone local. Lots of bits and bobs I’m kinda wondering if they really need to be bought etc. Barry


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