2018 has been the epitomised the odyssey. It has been a year of challenges both physical and mental; and there have been successes and failures. It would not be an odyssey if it was easy, and it would not be an odyssey if I didn’t learn along the way.
Recently watching a documentary about an Everest ascent that did not go to plan I was struck by the cost of hubris. The climber’s desire and determination to be the first to summit in that season, and significantly, to be last off the summit that day despite rapidly deteriorating weather conditions was an act of sheer hubris and lack of respect for nature that almost cost him his life.
I knew there was a reason why I don’t normally line up events for January and February and why my mileage goes down over the winter. It’s the I just want to rest on my summer laurels, kick back, reduce the mileage and lie about in the warmth and get fat factor. This bear just wants to coorie in and hibernate.
I must be honest and say that this blog entry is tinged with disappointment and frustration at my second failure to complete the African stage of the Global Odyssey, but I am entirely comfortable with my decision to abandon forty-five kilometres into the 100k Ultra Mirage el Djerid event.
An epic run with a Mongolian mud spa treatment thrown in for free.
Where do I start? This stage of the Global Odyssey 100 was the perfect example of what the Global Odyssey is about: remote, extreme, challenging, wild, beautiful and awe inspiring. One hundred kilometres over foothills, through gorges, over desert plains in rain and sunshine with temperatures ranging from fifteen to thirty-one degrees, from dawn to night.
The Namibian Odyssey 100k was certainly an adventure and a journey of discovery; just not the one I had expected. How wrong did it go? Spectacularly wrong. They say, that if you are going to fail; fail with style, get eaten by a leopard or something of that ilk. Failing because you are bit pooped simply lacks panache. I can give Cyrano de Bergerac a run for his money when it comes to panache.
‘If you're seeing things running through your head Who you gonna call?’ Sandbaggers!
There I was dreaming about those remote, extreme, beautiful, exquisitely painful 100ks that you have set yourself the challenge of doing for the Global Odyssey 100. Antarctica, no problem: done. Europe, no problem: done. Africa; wait a minute, there are not that many one-day 100k events on the African continent and the ones I found just did not seem to whet my appetite. There was something missing, a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. Do I settle?
Raid Des Bogomiles: Do I get the prize for the most amusing race name? You have to admit that coming from a country where the word ‘boggin’ is common parlance and where you frequently run through miles of bog it has a certain amusement value.
Did the Grand Raid Des Bogomiles, (one of three races held within the Grand Raid Des Cathars), provide miles of bog? No, but there was an ascent up vertical mud slide which left me fairly boggin.
A not so cautious return from injury.
It’s an age old story.You get injured. It’s a bad one, crutches are involved. Painkillers are involved. Picture a running diva lolling with a ‘blanky’ and a pile of cushions. There are weeks (four) of enforced inactivity. Picture diva impersonating a cat on a hot tin roof. Finally, you get the all clear to ease back into training, but there is a small problem. It is only seven weeks until your next race, a huge kick-ass 100k with ascent equal to climbing Ben Nevis five times.