Just like that I am typing this final blog post from my own laptop en route to Cape Town to rest for one day before continuing the transit over to the USA. The moments after the race are so surreal and magical as you reflect back on what you have taken yourself through in mind, body and spirit over the past week. At times, you almost wonder if it even really happened. Yet, then you feel your chapped and sunburnt lips or little aches here and there as well as many rocking tan lines, as well as taking peeks into your travel bag to see your awards and know it really did!
The last stage was totally surreal for me. I had the normal athlete nerves kick in the night prior as I listened to the wind rocking out tent and I could not sleep. Those thoughts when you are so close to victory that you can almost taste it but you still need to successfully make it through the last 6 miles. Those fears that something totally wild would occur cross, or that you would wake up and be sleeping in your bag and everyone is gone. Those thoughts come and go and you keep visualizing the finish line as the champion to allow them to pass.
The last stage was actually one of my favorites. I love project running along the rocks, rolling sand dunes and granite fields. The wind was mighty strong, but the scenery was epic. And the finish line was one of the most magical moments of my life. My last goals for the race were to maintain my positon as 6th overall with the guys, and run the last 10k in less than an hour. I wanted to break 30 hours as well when the cumulative time came together. In the end all of those goals came to life. I was the female champion officially by a lead of 53 minutes, secured 6th overall, ran the last 10k in 57:41, and had a total cumulative time of 29:10.20. So epic! I cannot believe it!
That moment crossing the finish line was absolutely surreal. I cannot believe it. I am so honored to have the opportunity to inspire the masses with this accomplishment and raise funds and awareness for the LymeLight Foundation. It is truly magical to begin to login to social media and see how folks reacted to Lance's posts. It is the best award ever to see the inspiration grow like wildfire!
As an end to this blogroll, I will leave you with a rough version of the speech I gave at the awards ceremony when accepting my female champion award:
First and foremost, I would like to give a huge round of applause to the Racing The Planet event staff, volunteers, medical team, local ground crew in Namibia, and so many more that worked relentlessly behind the scenes to make this event possible for all of us to accomplish. To my friends, family, sponsors, husband Lance and pup Loki, thank you near and far for supporting me through this quest to achieve my goal today. To tent 16, thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement to help me believe that this was really possible. To the 4 top ladies, including Maki, Kathia and Magdalena congratulations on your hard work this week. The competition was not easy out there. In fact, it was a race all of the way until the last day where Kathia caught up to me. At that point I had to decide how bad I wanted to win. I had to dig so deep and put my head down and for the last 26 miles that day push the pace in order to increase the gap vs reduce it. It took all of my will and might and ended with me completely famished and exhausted as I collapsed at the finish line. To win this race, I could never take a moment to walk and had to run the entire course. I additionally had to speed through every check point and constantly keep pushing nonstop. All of you are incredibly strong, beautiful and talented ladies and runners. To all of the competitors in this room, today all of you are champions. What you have completed less than 1% of the world will ever do. Each and every one of you will come home to your friends and families and even strangers as beacons of inspiration. To Mary and the entire Racing The Planet team, thank you for creating an event that is so epic that it tests our limits in mind, body and spirit. Thank you furthermore for creating the opportunity to compete the Grand Slam and the Grand Slam Plus. I am so honored to attempt to become the first woman in the world to cross the finish line in Antarctica accomplishing the Grand Slam Plus. This opportunity is allowing me to inspire the masses to move their bodies as a way to prevent disease. Additionally, it is allowing an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for Lyme Disease through the LymeLight Foundation. I will leave you with a quote that my husband wrote in his note to me on day 5 from Albert Einstein. “There are two ways that you can live your life. One as though nothing is a miracle. The other as though everything is a miracle.” Thank you all for enjoying this miracle with me. Namaste.
Alright folks. Now we go full steam ahead to recover and then put in 4 weeks of solid training to prepare for the Gobi March that is slated for June 19-25th in China. It will go very quickly so preparations must be right on que. All of my blogs from the 4 Desert races are re-uploaded to my website http://www.wonderwomanjax.com under journal as each race comes to an end. Please also enjoy my daily training and preparations by following me on my Facebook fan page at /JaxMariashKoudele and on Instagram @wonderwomanjax