Woke up feeling really good. Were driven to the start which was at the base of a dune a little way further down the road. The organisers had decided to start the stage a half hour earlier, at 06:30, to try to avoid the heat of the day. Set off along a long meandering dust road through scenery which became progressively more desolate. Caught up with Mimi and ran along with her for a couple of km. She dropped back just before the first checkpoint, which was located at a water resevoir in the middle of nowhere.
Ran into the second checkpoint at the base of the dunes with Mimi. Left the firm soil of the plains behind and started ascending into the dunes along a track. Much tougher going. Still feeling fine at this stage. At the crest of the first dune I stopped and sat down to empty the sand out of my shoes. Mimi went on ahead. For the next few km she was always a few hundred metres ahead of me. I started to tire. By the time that we got to the third checkpoint I was not feeling too good and I told Mimi to go ahead. Sat down under the umbrella and emptied my shoes again, loaded up with water and was back on the trail again. Really started to feel quite shit at this point and battling to run for any significant period of time. I should have known that something was not right at this stage. I was starting to feel dizzy and my ears were blocked (probably all the fluid had been sucked out of my eustacian tubes!). Within a few km I was reduced to walking and I watched Mimi get progressively further away. There was just no way that I could catch her: I was feeling like crap. I walked the entire last leg. All the time I was sure that Sam was going to catch up to me. The last couple of km in a dry river bed were interminable. Every time that I came around the corner I expected (and desperately hoped!), but was left to stumble on. Eventually though I spotted the flags at the end but did not have the energy to even summon up a trot for crossing the line. The foot ice bath felt wonderful. And I would have really enjoyed it were it not for the fact that my calves started cramping. And then my thighs. And then my stomach muscles. So I was pretty much racked with cramps all over. The medics were pretty incompetent: the doctor had finally arrived, but she was all bluster and not much help, and her two minions were just clueless. While my legs were cramping I was getting a toe massage. Yes, I shit you not! After sloshing a couple of litres of cold water and my revolting recovery drink into my system I started to feel a little better. Sam had come in shortly after me and was followed closely by Isabella.
We camped out in the middle of nowhere. I was not really feeling up to appreciating the surroundings, though I wish I had been since it was lovely. I got a bottle of rehydrate from Amy and took my nausea to bed.
Sent from my mobile device