Saturday, 27 September 2008
I can remember looking at the months that lay ahead and the time that it would take to complete the run, they seemed as big a hill as the distance that I had to cover, the weeks just would not tick over, let alone the first month. The first few days seemed like eternity an hour itself was a huge target. Now I can’t even remember what day or month it is as everything has picked up such speed, the days just evaporate and I find the scale reversed as I now look at how little time is left and the distance is such a small target in the grand scheme of the whole journey. But there is a constant reminder of what I have put myself through.
The physical and mental fatigue sits like the bank of cloud of a cold front on the horizon. I have this permanent layer of tiredness that just seems to want to pull my eyes closed, some days I have got to the stage that I just walk stretches of the beach with my eyes closed, as I grind along the soft sand my legs burn as they endlessly lift and, punch my feet through the soft sand, my calf muscles just want to cramp and explode with each step. Wet feet from river crossings and socks filled with sand continuously grind away at the layers of depleted skin, so thin that some days the blood just seems to run freely. The salt crystals from my drying shorts after river mouth swims are like needles in my thighs scratching away at the soft tissue as I run, with burning pain as the thin layers rupture.
The hills of the Transkei coast look like a branch of a thorn tree and I feel like an ant endlessly climbing each one, day after day stringing the hills together. There is the mental reward of making it to the top, but only to be body punched as you look over at the next one. I am consistently fighting with myself and convincing myself that the next day it will flatten out. That the hills will become flat and there will be hard beaches to run from sunrise to sunset.
The waves of pain and hunger are a daily fight, as the terrain gets worse so to does the crews chance of supplying us become a nightmare. It’s been days now that we don’t get together, only in the evening at our extraction point. 8 to 10 hours with no food grinding on, depleted of our own reserves by the months of running. As the waves of hunger sweep over me I just drink water and hope that they will go.
Each day has become a tactical mental battle within. An internal understanding of how best I function and how I can utilise my energy and body over the day and reach the target. But most importantly manage the fatigue and pain that it does mot get the better of me, as the journey gets longer so I feel one gets closer to that point. I still amaze myself on a daily basis at the strength of the human mind.