The end is near! Wahoo. I am so pleased to announce that the long stage ended with another win! Yea! I was 6th overall with the men =) I cannot believe it. I am currently sitting at the cyber tent watching the last 10 competitors finish who are currently at the 24 hour mark. Cutoff is at 11am today. It is very emotional to see the last ones come in. They have so much tenacity and strength.
Yesterday I had to pull into my own bag of grit, stamina and determination. The ladies field has been pushing nonstop here. It has been very hard. The day yesterday started with a 33.5minute lead over Kathia. To stay ahead, I had to have a perfect day. I began easy and steady and to help with the anxiety of the thought of running 48 miles after running a marathon a day for 4 days prior. To ease the nerves I came up with the idea to run each mile thinking about someone I love and cherish may memories together. It was actually really fun. I would find myself laughing and smiling thinking back on so many amazing times. This program worked until mile 22.24 when I saw someone on my tail. It was Kathia. And then the race began. We exchanged a hello and I had to decide at that moment what I wanted to do. Did I want to settle and run together ad risk something happening where she could obtain the lead again? Did I want to be 2nd? Or did I want to secure my place as the leader. This was the moment to decide what would come to be. I thought about how badly I have wanted to win vs 2nd female at a 4 Deserts race and I imagined myself once again at the top of the podium and then I thought about how hard I would need to push for the next 26 miles to make it happen. I decided I wanted to win! And so I put my head down and increased my heart rate by 5 beats and went back to looking at only heart rate and time and hammered. One foot in front of the other thinking about being a champion and pushing deep. Step by step I charged ahead with a tunnel vision on the finish line. Knowing I could not stop for a second or slow down. At th last 800 meters I was literally crying as I saw the finish line in sight ad was still too afraid to look back. My legs were in so much pain and my mind was nearing exhaustion. Low and behold I finished and collapsed with shock and exhaustion at the finish as 1st female. In the end I gained at 12 minute lead over Kathia in those 26 miles. mind over matter eh?!? So stoked! And even more stoked to relax today.
The course yesterday was much more difficult than expected. It was a mix of gravel, sand, sand dunes, and a 7 mile finish in deep sand. The sand works your legs like no other. Although challenging the scenery was EPIC! On the ridge of the sand dunes you could see dunes for miles and miles to the right. It was magical. Although the beach segment was extremely exhausting it sure is amazing to be running along the coast in Africa non the less. It really is special what we are seeing out here.
Today we get to rest, talk about all of the food we will eat when we get back as we eat our final scraps of freeze dried food that we have. On this day we enjoy the company of everyone as we watch the waves come in to shore. It is a peaceful day full of congratulating each other on such an amazing feat!
Tomorrow we will run a final 10k to the finish line. I am so stoked to do this as the leading lady and none the less in the top 10 overall with a competitive group of men. And then we will eat, and celebrate all day! I hope to break 30 hours total tomorrow which would be a HUGE personal best. Accepting 1st place at the awards will be an extremely emotional moment for me. I am so honored and excited!
Thank you everyone for your notes and emails. They mean the world to me and helped me get to the end goal. I hope that this journey inspires you and that it has raise awareness for Lyme Disease and the LymeLight Foundation. To donate please visit my facebook page at /JaxMariashKoudele or on Instagram the link is in my profile at the username @wonderwomanjax