Competition is only good when it’s fair

Day 2. After surviving day 1, we rested and recovered getting ready for the 2nd day of racing. After a good day, I started to ask questions.. why am I here, do I really enjoy this, can I really get through this let alone get a good place. More and more questions kept entering my head, even when I put my head down to sleep I was questioning what I was doing. It was not a good place to exit the first day. I was sore, tired and mentally exhausted.
The morning brought more questions. We woke at 5:30am to get ready for the 8:00 am start. I lay in bed consuming water and calories (2 cliff bars for breakfast). I tried to get my head in the game and packed my bag and put on my race clothes. They were nice and crusty from the dried sweat the previous day!
Mark and I talked strategy and agreed to pace each other which turned out to be the best decision of the day. We lined up at the start with 5mins to go and U2 came over the speakers. It was game time. I finally put the doubts to the back of mind and was focused on the task ahead.
The gun went and we headed down a canyon to the water. Yip. The first stage was filled with water crossing. Great fun, but tough on the feet and blisters. Mark and I ran together chasing the lead pack with determination. Like yesterday, they set off at a cracking pace. The canyons were beautiful and, unlike the first day, I was determined to poke my head up once and a while and enjoy the setting. This place is like no other.
We got into the first checkpoint a couple of places down but we were happy to be racing together. Not much banter between us, we were too focused on the terrain so we didn’t trip and fall. It was damn rocky and hard to navigate.
We flew through the checkpoint, only stopping to fill the water bottles. We kept pushing ahead trying to make up time on the guys ahead and distance ourselves from the guys behind. That’s when we faltered.
1st Quote of the Day – When Mark and I were head down focused only on the road ahead, we lost track of the course markers. It wasn’t until Andreas, who was behind us in the stage but 1 place ahead of me in the rankings, yelled out and got us to turn around to find the markers. We lost only 5 mins, but it would have been worse if it wasn’t for our friendly Italian. When we caught up and thanked him he said “Competition is only good when it’s fair”. Brilliant. Thats why I love Ultras – the comrarderie is unbeatable. He still beat us in though!
We headed up a hill and through a long tunnel chasing two other competitors. We were sucking back electrolytes and shot bloks to ensure we kept our energy stores high. The heat was rising and the legs were tiring. The temperature was raising up to approx 40 – 42 deg. Not as hot as the Sahara, but enough to make you hurt.. a lot!
2nd quote of the Day – Mark and I were in the depths of the desert. Searching deep for energy, our feet were not in a good way after the river crossings followed by miles of sand and rock surfaces.  The sun was high and we were both battling. I turned to Mark and said, “Mate, I’m battling here”. He turned to me and said, “Just think of our wives giving birth!” That gave us some inspiration to kick it into overdrive and head on through the heat.
Mark and I ran on through the salt plains, down monster dunes and across sandy flats. We were determined to keep our spots on the board. We were fading fast and had to adopt a ‘run 4 markers, walk 1 marker strategy’ just to get the distance done as efficiently as possible.
We pushed each other through the pain and made it to camp 2 in a respectable time.
Camp 2 just happens to be next to a lake. Unfortunately, it’s a salt lake which is not good to swim in. The budgies are going to have to stay in the pack for another day!
Time for high calorie noodles, freeze-dried chicken korma and the ever essential pork scratchings. The best treat ever at the end of a day like that. Hoping the doubts don’t creep back in tonight. I want to relax and enjoy the race, not stress out and wish it away. My daily cards from my wife certainly help. So nice to open a card everyday filled with lovely thoughts. What a wife.
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11 Responses to “Competition is only good when it’s fair”

  1. Dont worry about the race. Focus on the stage in front of you and let the race take care of itself. The old saying goes, the hardest distance is the one between your ears. Suck it up, enjoy the scenes and get it done. DOn’t forget to enjoy the journey. Go Well fellas. WDeer

  2. Mate, I’m battling here”. He turned to me and said, “Just think of our wives giving birth!” That gave us some inspiration to kick it into overdrive and head on through the heat.
    Richard/Mark. Enough to make me sick. While you are both enduring an incredible race, almost selfishness at times you still seem to pull quotes that will melt the knees of your loved ones no doubt buying more time with the boys. Love it and keep up the good fight. Keep trucking. Tibbo

  3. Hi Rich.. We are all sweaty after reading your blog. You are amazing to battle through this. Love this ultra stuff. If only we had the time.. Rich , Barb and Adele ( new neighbour ). .

  4. Hang in there pal! You are nailing it!!! Enjoy the moment.

  5. Richy and Mark – frickin amazing effort boys!! Keep it up. Love the Italian dude and the his fairness and camaraderie!

  6. Go boys! Loving the updates.

  7. Wow boys! This is seriously amazing stuff and it is only natural that u are having these thoughts richie. Nothing in this world is easy and my word haven’t u taken that to the max!!!

    “Before us, stands yesterday” this is a famous quote that I enjoy thinking about when contemplating difficult times. U have trained and can do this. Uv got the Sahara under ur belt and we can’t wait to read how u got on today! Lots of love, Dylan, Lynds and Eli! Xxx

  8. This is insane!!! Accessed your blog via the link posted on Kiwis in London fb page and now will be avidly keeping up with your race adventures! It looks like extremely tough work but good on you for entering, it’s awesome to see such athleticism & determination!!

  9. Amazing – takes a certain type of motivation to achieve what you are doing. Keep it up -nearly half way.

  10. Great update, you guys look like you are killing it! It’s inspired me to sign up for my next race and join in the pain. Run smart.

  11. Hey Rich, I love following your daily reports on your journey in the desert! I cant beleive your strength and determination, you are doing so well. Keep up the good work and I look forward to your new reports each day! Sending love and luck from your in laws in Liverpool XX

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