Tag Archives: Experiences
My patient, cool, calm and the ever-present extraordinary immense strength of my husband, Richard Thomas, quietly waiting alongside, until our four little ones he has tendered, cared for and loved so well, are all done with the words they simply have to express like little babbling brooks and the physical expression of love they simply have to shower all over me – what it is to have them in my arms again and what it is to finally be in his.
It is done.
I am home.
And I feel like a new person.
I find a rare and incredibly valuable form of self-respect when I complete goals I have set myself and the Marathon des Sables is probably the biggest yet – the biggest I have ever undertaken on my own. Saying that though, ‘on my own’ makes me feel it’s somewhat of a cheat because the ever present spirit of my God, husband, children and other family members and friends meant I was never alone, but I guess in the true physical sense, yes, on my own. Richard and myself deciding we’d like four children close together has without a doubt been the greatest goal I have ever been driven to achieve but I have done it with this great man I love and had constant strength, love, care, support and rock and glue from this out-of-this-world-definitely-from-another-planet husband to sustain me all along and so this is clearly a shared goal, one we have attained together, in the names of love and commitment. Our extraordinary and special four children will always stand out way above anything else I have ever done or will do but as this is a shared goal I cannot, and will not, compare it to anything I achieve ‘on my own’.
My Marathon des Sables is over and I feel good. I feel renewed and refreshed with a lovely dose of new and improved self-respect. 3 years since managing to obtain a place for 2011, 3 years of planning, changing training schedules, nursing injuries, mind sets, working on flexibility, upper body strength; like pushing Luke and Savannah in their pram (3 years ago, Luke was 3 and Savannah 2) uphill to school, core strength, upper arm weights, training with a backpack complete with rocks and full water bottles, revising final strategies due to our ever changing situation, and negotiating the obstacles and challenges that crop up and alter the course of our daily lives. The unbelievable mental and emotional turmoil of stark realisation, month by month since August 2010, on that fateful day at the 75 mile mark during the Leadville 100 Miler when Richard was forced to stop, that he was not going to be able to join me as we had planned for so long. Tears, frustration, sadness…do I defer… do I go on? What is best? What is best for both of us, for our children? The questions that plagued took months to answer and the support and patient responses and endless discussions my husband held with me will forever be fondly remembered. Such love. Such stamina to have to deal with this complex mind that finally decided to go and take that intimidating bull by the horns and fight it, despite all the different demons under the name of fear trying to stop me.
As it is well known, to conquer fear it must be confronted. To ensure a fulfilling, peaceful existence and life abundant in enthusiasm and happiness, doubt and fear can have no place in our hearts or mind, and so there I found myself in the desert, moving closer and closer to a starting line that demanded not only 156 miles of running in harsh, hostile and alien surroundings, albeit it all stunning, but one that was also intensely personal and condensed with varying doubts and fears, manifested mentally over the years, that needed crushing one by one.
As I said in a previous blog, after my marathon day, one can always push harder and train more etc. and in retrospect, now I am home, I do wish I had pushed harder finishing with a better time overall but when I sum up no medical assistance, no poles at all (I can’t help but think poles give one an added advantage – I ended up carrying them the whole way in the event I sustained an injury; they would have helped me at least finish), and everything we have been through since August last year, I must focus on the fact I completed the whole event, with a great marathon day.
As for realising only upon my return, my husband cut and pasted in the region of 200 messages to the MdS email engine to ensure I received all your Blog messages every day, and updated my Blog absolutely beautifully, and oh yes, LOOKED AFTER OUR 4 WONDERS AT THE SAME TIME, I am touched again and again. The gallery he has uploaded into my Blog is just another of his golden twists; no matter what he does, it turns to gold. So much done for me to fully enjoy this incredible experience. My love, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have made this all possible, wonderfully possible and I am forever indebted to you.
The 2011 Marathon des Sables ‘Raining Camel’, signing out for the last time..
The final time 3:19:20 for 17.5 km (11 miles). Final positions will be out later after everyone has completed as they had a staggered start.
She was obviously a bit camera shy at the end, but here is the moment (that’s her in the black with the white stripes down her arms!)
After 155 miles, blistering heat, dunes, hills, night stages, sleeping in the middle of the desert, crevasses, camel grass, pebbles of all shapes and sizes, she has finally finished.
She has the medal to prove it, which will probably end up in a draw before too long, but the experience will live with her forever.
My marathon is done.
54°C (!!yes!!) out there at 2pm today, but then I came to run in the desert so what did I expect? 😉
Today, I just ran and ran. God, the spirit of my soul mate, our magic children, a very concerned mother, my brother Tim who did it with Richard in 2008, my fabulous in-laws, all of them and all my WONDERFUL friends were with me.
Every single step of the way.
Thank you ALL for the tidal wave of support I have received over the last few days and for willing me on.
One can always ‘train more’, ‘sacrifice more’, ‘push more’ and ‘do better’ but there are times when one can really say ‘this is good’. Today is one of those days; I believe this with every fibre of my being.
It is extremely rare to feel this way, but the doubt, fear and overwhelming niggles of potential failure are gone. This is success; my personal success. I have achieved my aim and the emotional, physical and spiritual goals are all but in the bag.
The support I have had along the way is nothing short of astounding. I never expected anything like it. These thoughts and memories are moments to treasure and bring out as precious gems when the routine of life starts to get in the way. This is a celebration of life and of living life to the full.
To cap it all, there has been an orchestra in the desert tonight, which is a slightly surreal, but unique experience arranged for the MdS competitors – WOW.
Tomorrow, the last 17.5 km back to my husband and children. Nothing will stop me now. Nothing will stop me being back in their arms again soon.
I am the most blessed and happy woman on the planet.
Thank you God for this day.