the past year my partner Dan and I have been preparing for this one race. a self-sufficient ultra-marathon over 250km in the atacama desert, chile.
this was the first time for both of us meaning we had no clue what we had signed up for! why did we do it? purely for the physical and mental challenge! we wanted to know what it felt like having to train so hard towards one goal over a longer period of time and of course to see if we could do it. do we have what it takes to run several marathons over 6 days?
while preparing for the race we spoke to friends who had completed these races before and read up on blogs on what to do and what not to do. we wrote a training and recovery plan about 11 months ahead including things like 4 runs and 3 body-weight strength trainings a week plus a massage once a month. the biggest challenge we faced was finding the right vegan food and equipment that was light but warm/durable enough.
during the race our main focus was on keeping ourselves injury-free and sane 🙂 we made sure to stick to the water- and electrolyte- plan and force fed ourselves every few hours to maintain energy throughout the day. we took it pretty easy the first day to get used to the altitude and especially the difficult terraine. eating wasn’t always easy in the heat and blisters were inevitable but we were lucky enough to have a very strong-minded, positive thinking group in our tent. we shared the tent with 5 other people of whom 4 had already done some of these races before. they gave us great tips on the way and took good care of us when we were feeling low or didn’t know what to do with our feet.
i am super proud to say that we finished the race without any injuries (other than losing a few toe nails and lots of blisters) or major fights and ranked somewhere in the middle of the group. we learnt a few things about ourselves and each other on the way and are happy we made it through this great experience. but all we could think about at the finish line was an ice cold coke and vegan pizza and a long and cold shower.
the week after the race we spent on and island in brazil. main goal – recover, gain back some weight and let those poor feet heal. we stretched , did some light exercises, went kayaking to find turtles, spent a lot of hours in the sauna and slept a lot. oh and it was my 30th birthday and we got engaged so – atacama what?
will we do it again? probably not. but who knows, i have already forgotten about all the pain and frustration.