Friday, February 20, 2015

White Continent Marathon Antarctica

Our flight was finally able to go and we made it into Antarctica last night. It was a rough night sleeping in tents on the very rocky ground. They said they would supply sleeping mats but they were nothing more than a quarter inch piece of insulation foam that had no cushioning whatsoever.  I stuffed my coat and other pieces of clothing under my sleeping bag in an attempt to make things a bit smoother but it wasn't of much help. At least I was never cold.

But I was quite tired in the morning when we got up around 5:30 am to run. It was fairly calm when we started but the wind quickly increased and later we had a full blown snowstorm. The temperature was near freezing so the ground was very muddy.  I was not expecting so many big hills either.  The course was up and down muddy and very rocky hills, with a very strong wind blowing. It was by far the most difficult marathon I have ever run. So I know my time was ridiculously slow. But then again, I am ridiculously slow even on a good course.  We did see occasional penguins and at one point a collection of about 5 of them gathered right next to the trail and watched as we ran by. That was adorable.  I love how they stick their wings out behind them as they waddle along.
Even though it was a tough course, the terrain was interesting with large snowfields around us, and I could see interesting islands out in the water.  There were fascinating rock formations that looked like a combination of granite and volcanic rocks.  I was quite happy to finally reach the finish line. It was a tough week for me running three marathons in about 5 days.  But even though I was slow, I didn´t particularly get sore. I am quite tired though.

More exhausting than the run was the freezing cold wait for many hours for the plane to get in to bring us back to Punta Arenas. There was really no place to stay warm so most of us took turns huddling in the food tent. I was certainly glad to finally get on that plane.

So now I plan to spend the month of March pushing myself to gain some speed on the treadmill in Deadhorse.  I´ve gotten much too slow and if I want to continue to succeed in these marathons it is imperative that I pick up the pace. Only 2 more continents to complete my goal of running marathons on all 7.  Australia in April and Kenya in August.

Running Companion!

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