Monday 16 April 2018

So what is next after DNF on the MdS

For those not regular runners DNF = Did Not Finish. Means you start a running event but you don't get to the finish line.

So what is next?

I can now go back to go for a run to enjoy. Not to have to train for something. This means if I miss a run, it's ok. I don't have to do x miles/kilometers or x hours to meet an artificial target. I either go for a run or I don't.

I can now focus again on CrossFit an the gym, which will include running.
I can use the gained time to read a book or watch a movie.

I always knew I wanted to go Scuba-Diving, but I never bothered doing it on any of my vacations. Too much hassle and I needed to go for a run, because there was always a race coming up.

Last year, before our honeymoon to the Maldives I did my open water scuba training and did three dives in the Maldives and got my Nitrox license.
In 2018 I did two dives in Fujairah. I am no totally hooked.
In 2018 I will go for my advanced open water, peak performance buoyancy and underwater photography.

Don't get me wrong, the journey's to the MdS have been amazing and taught me a lot and it will always be a benefit having participated. Not in the least for the people you meet.

Sunday 15 April 2018

Sometimes things don't go the way you planned or want. You move on and live.

So, the third MdS didn't go as I planned, hoped, wanted. Simply, it wasn't my year. I pulled out at the 2nd day 18km into a 39km distance.
I lost my ECG, Medical Certificate and compulsory €200 on Friday.
Luckily I had more cash and the ECG on my phone. With help from Steve I got this printed and signed and a new medical certificate was done.

I started Sunday with very little food, as most wouldn't stay in. Had difficulty eating on the course. I didn't sleep well on Sunday night, and still couldn't really eat on Monday.
I finished the flattest 30km ever on Sunday but it never felt right. It was a battle between body and mind.
The Monday was a 39km stretch. I went through the first check point at 13km and 5km after that I gave up. I couldn't face another 21km. My body didn't want, and my mind wasn't helping.

I want to thank Steve Diederich for his relentless support and morale boosting. Patrick Bauer came over to see me as well. I can't remember the names of the other MdS organisation staff, but they all were great and went out of their way to motivate me.

One of the doctors, who was very supportive hit the nail on the head. If you are not happy doing what you do, stop it. Not keeping food in, not being able to drink enough. Regularly drinking yes, but little sips. 

The organisation goes out of their way to motivate you to continue. Then you are asked: Are you sure you want to stop? You then need to take off your own bib off your shirt. I am very appreciative of all organisation people that tried to support me.
The "problem with dropping out is that they take the SPOT device and you drop off the tracker. Which makes the home front nervous. Luckily I got a little signal in the camp.

I want to thank my tent mates
Alex Wolff
Hannah Biddel
James Wellock
Sally Wellock
Kevin Tucker
Lotte Tulloch
Rob Willis
for their fabulous support.

The silver lining of dropping out is, you get to eat in the "restaurant".

When I got back home Wednesday morning, "ceremonially" I dumped the shorts, running shirt and night shirt I used for the 3 events. 

The Marathon des Sables has been an amazing experience, and I recommend it to anybody. I no longer want to put in the training time and effort for ultra/multi-day events. I will keep on running, but for fun. I will increase CrossFit volume and will start to focus on my new hobby, Scuba Diving. The only multi-day exception could be The Coastal Challenge, but with Liz and only the short distance.

Tuesday morning at 06:00 to report to start the way back to OZZ. I met Terry, who also was going back to London Gatwick. My hero and wife, Liz Hoefsmit booked me a ticket from RAK-BCN-LGW.
However getting to Marrakesh (RAK) was 90 minutes in a four-wheel drive through the desert. We were then moved to a mini-bus with another 10-12 others who dropped out, including the famous Thierry the blind man who already finished 13 or so times. The mini-bus was an adventure in itself, as it seemed the driver was driving dangerously, fast and was tired. It seemed he was falling a sleep. One of the other people offered to drive but that wasn't acceptable. We stopped in a village where Terry, Andreas and I took a taxi to OZZ rather than waiting for the bus to leave. Jean-Marie the MdS doctor was great in helping out.

After 7 hours or so we arrived in OZZ and collected our bags. Terry and I then took the next taxi for about 5 hours to Marrakesh airport. We arrived and checked in. Luckily we could get into the lounge. Where the hot food was gone. So Terry got us a pizza. Plane not leaving till 23:10

Plane on time, couldn't sleep and we arrived on time in BCN at 02:30. We were nicely directed to the non-Schengen area, where there is nothing. So spend about 5 hours lying on the floor, walking around, having a cigarette in the non-smoking area, as there wasn't a smoking area.
Picture on the left and right non-Schengen. Picture in the middle, Schengen.

Some random pictures from the Sahara.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Marathon des Sables 2013 Bib 710, 2015 Bib 324, 2018 bib 476

Marathon des Sables
06 April - 16 April of which 08 - 14 April in the sand and rock. Sleeping in a Bedouin tent in a bivouac after moving on foot an average of 40 km per day.

Charity Link - where you can donate for the following  charity
To Children With Love

I'm pretty crap at keeping up a blog.
One more to add to the collection
I'm looking forward of meeting new people and seeing old friends.

In 2013 my house was an MdS warehouse, it's been a lot more civilised this time. I'm not even a 100% done with getting all the stuff. Well, just need some safety pins and hand-sanitiser.

Here is a link to my private SPOT tracker which I'll take.

But you can track me on the MdS website and send an email via a link that will appear there next week. Subject I believe is First/Last Name and Bib number, which for me is 476

Not sure what more to write

Sunday 18 February 2018

A tribute to my wife as a motivation to finish a third MdS

The last post/blog, not sure what you call it, I wrote, probably wasn't the most upbeat ever. It had to be written tho. So this one, is gonna be very upbeat.

Friday the 16th of February was the 8th month of my marriage with/to Liz. I never thought I was gonna get married, I never thought I would have children. But both events have been the most amazing ones ever.

In 2016, while being a member of a local, Kingston upon Thames, Facebook group, I saw a picture of a lady wearing a hat. Nothing special, many women wear a hat, you may say. However, there was something that gripped me. Long story, making it shorter, we both became member of another local Fabebook page/group due to the original one being closed. Finally, on Sunday the 19th of June 2016, I found the courage to send her a friend request.

12 months minus three days later, we got married in Kingston. It was a rocky but amazing road to get there.

She is, my best friend, an amazing, kind, loving and caring woman. Just a random picture of the woman who changed me for the better.

Liz, I love you more than words can ever say. Thank you for always being there. Your term of endearment (well I hope) is I'm your fuckwit, as I'm far from perfect. But I will always be there for you, whenever you need me. I'm immensely proud you are my wife.

I will miss you like crazy in the 2018 MdS, but you, my mermaid, will get me through it.

Thursday 15 February 2018

Thoughts during the long stage at the MdS. Thoughts about people who suffered way more than I did.

For those not familiar with the long stage, it starts Wednesday morning at 09:00, or the mortals,  and 12:00 for the fast ones. The distance varies between c. 85 and 95 kilometres, that is 52-59 miles.

2013 - It's very hot today. Very hot, c. 45-50 degrees in the sun without shade. It's when I got overtaken by Zoe, my friend, tent mate and a-class photographer. It's also when I met Laurence Klein, 3 times ladies winner, who hadn't managed her water and food and ended up in a tent and dropped out.
About 40km in, I decided to go through to 60km of the I believe 75-80 end stage and have a rest.

Main thought during the night was a friend of my sister who was early thirties and had recently died of cancer. Leaving behind her wife and little kid. So, hot, cold, pain, uncomfortable, I was alive. I looked up to the sky a number of times, mentioning her name. She was a runner as well. I had known her as she and my sister had been friends since about the age of 6.

2015 - 92km I believe it was. About a year after my fathers dead. Going through the dunes at night with Leigh, where it felt like we were near the beach but no sea. It was cold, very cold. I think I used the word fuck about every 3 meters if not more often.
My feet were painful, it turned out a bandage to protect a blister was to tight and restricting blood flow. When I took it off at the 60km point, where they served tea, that is how cold it was, it felt a lot better
My dad died the year before. Due to vitamin deficiency in WWII he had a hump and always had issues with his knees. So, I figured, my suffering was only temporary and therefor I should shut the fuck up complaining.

2018 - distance to be found out.  This year, there will be other people on my mind. My uncle who died recently after losing a battle with cancer. My old neighbour who I used to call uncle. He was a colleague of my dad in the garage where they both worked. He has been diagnosed with cancer and is incurable.
The third but very important person is my sister who got diagnosed with breast cancer this year, which has spread to her lymphs and two bones. She is now undergoing therapy.
The last but not least, my mum, 87, who got mugged in her own home recently and obviously is very concerned about her daughter.

So if it's cold, hot, painful, uncomfortable out there. There will be people suffering or have suffered more. The fact you are there moving, means you are alive.

My Chosen Charity

Charity link

Tuesday 13 February 2018

To Children With Love - My MdS Charity

This episode will be introducing my chosen charity for the 2018 MdS.

The founder and managing director is a lady called Debbie Deegan. Debbie is a personal friend, I met her through my wife, Liz Hoefsmit (was Cusack). Liz and Debbie met when they were 10/11 and have been friends ever since.

Debbie has been working tirelessly in Russia since 1998 with the orphaned and abandoned children of the Bryansk Region and more recently with children in Kaluga, Tula and Moscow Region. Debbie is also the Chairperson of the Russian registered charity To Children With Love in Russia. This is the sister charity of To Russia With Love that strives to raise funds in Russia itself.

More details here:

Mission Statement
Our goal is to support young people to achieve their full potential in education, employment and life.
Social exclusion and educational inequality negatively impacts the lives of young people reducing their self belief, dignity and well being. Our targeted programmes enhance young people’s self esteem, life skills and qualifications helping them to forge fulfilled lives within their communities and beyond. Our programmes have been developed over a 20 year period working with young people nationally and internationally.

This episode will be introducing my chosen charity for the 2018 MdS.

Helping Children to Reach Their Full Potential

Seven Overseas (not Republic of Ireland) Programmes
  • Social Integration Programme
  • The New Start Programme
  • Playroom Programme
  • Finale Step Programme
  • Mother & Baby Programme
  • Sports Programme
  • Life Skills Programme

  • Business Bootcamp
  • Gardening Programme
  • Coder Dojo Coding Club
  • Discover Ireland Programme
  • Scholarship Programme

Training is going reasonable. It'll be a slow edition this year. But that is fine with me, as I want to enjoy the Sahara even more than the previous two editions.