Blog changes

Thanks to everyone who followed Training Because I Can! over the last nine years. This blog started with Addison's Disease, hypothyroidism and a crazy idea of doing an Ironman distance triathlon. My life has changed and so has this blog. I am using this blog strictly for Addison's Support topics from here on out. I hope to continue providing people with hints for living life well with adrenal insufficiency.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Marathon des Sables 2011, would I do it again, YES!

MdS 2011 finisher's medal

Thanks to everyone who helped me, cheered me on, emailed me and sent positive thoughts.  Thanks especially to Jay Batchen and Lisa Smith-Batchen for making this experience possible for me.  Thanks Paul for posting to my blog, emailing, supporting me, picking me up on long runs when I get too tired to continue and for listening to all the stories and experiences from MdS.  Thanks to my awesome tent mates who were fun, supportive and great company, you guys made the race for me.

Tent #111 clean for the last time in seven days and ready to run 150 miles through the Sahara

I'm not sure where to start.  Nearly a week after returning home, I'm overwhelmed and have so many things spinning around in my head, so much to say.

Pictures:  If you're interested, the MdS website has beautiful pictures that capture the beauty of the landscape and the runners.  I just posted my full set of pictures on FaceBook, some of which I'll post here too.  Video of the start. Video of Geoffrey teaching us to poop in a Sac du ca-ca.  Video of the initial bivouac (you probably have to be on FaceBook to see these).  I have very few pictures after the start of Stage 1 because my camera did not like the sand.

Race:  The race was absolutely amazing in so many ways.  It was a "production" like nothing I've ever been a part of.  It was a giant, seven day long pep rally, party without booze and endurance event all wrapped into one.  The running was great.  It was all sand, rock and rocky sand with the exception of the last 2k which was pavement.  After not seeing trail or dirt since October, this was all a welcome change!!  I enjoyed the terrain and did not find the rocks bothersome at all, I also enjoyed the "sandy rises".  Descents down the dune and "rises" were pure heaven.  I'm not good at running on flats but, damn, I love the downhills.  I hooted and hollered and sang my way down many of them.  At one point an Italian guy and I ran down a sandy, fun downhill one right after the other.  At the bottom we held hands and smiled at each other, we didn't speak the same language or know each other.  It was pure joy.

Did I walk?  Yes, a lot.  I found the flat sand and heavy backpack to be a big challenge.  It felt like I was (surprisingly) getting stronger as the days went on.  I ran more toward the end than in the beginning.  The first day was absolutely miserable despite the beauty of the Erg Chebbi.  I was nauseous and dry heaving the whole day in the dunes.  Ed was so kind and encouraging, he stuck with me through the Stage 1 finish despite the dry heaving.

Ed, some woman and Katherine in the dunes

The body:  It held up.  I've never run 20+ miles 4 days in a row before.  The only thing that was sore were my shoulders.  My legs and back held up really well.  I was only nauseous the first day.  My feet were not badly blistered like some people's feet.  THANK YOU DRYMAX SOCKS!! (Three of the six of us in my tent religiously wore Drymax socks and all of us had feet that were in really good condition.  Yes, I'm shamelessly plugging a product that I believe in.)

The Addison's:  I doubled my hydrocortisone for all of the international travel.  I doubled for the running.  Basically, my HC was doubled for two full weeks.  I have no side effects except perhaps that I should have continued upping my HC after I returned home.  I've had some gut troubles since I got home.  I also didn't think through my pill taking very well.  I made up small bags of pills to distribute to myself daily, um yeah, my brain doesn't work very well.  A bag full of pills is an accident waiting to happen and meds to take too many of or not enough of.  I returned home with bits and pieces of meds I should have taken but didn't manage to. I had no trouble staying hydrated.  I ate all of my SaltStick and the race organizers provided salt which was fine.  Now that I'm home, I still need more salt than usual.

Pictures:
Food for each day and pills in blue baggies.

Sunrise over the bivouac.

Not something you see every day.  Berbers sitting on the ground watching a helicopter land.

Nervous excitement before the start of Stage 1.

This is one of my favorite shots.  Camels, beautiful home, dunes, guy taking a pee in full line of sight of everyone.


Dirty and stinky.  My shirt after 7 days of running.

Snow is what I returned to in Victor, Idaho.  Quite a bit is melted but there are still some big drifts.  I'm cold.
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