Leaving Grey College Bloemfontein this morning for our next camp in Kroonstad, I seriously had to take a detailed step-through what I’d done so far to work out what day it actually is.
Two full days feel like four. To say we’ve packed a lot of shit in is a massive understatement.
After the comical afternoon spent in Kroonstad (see previous post), it was onto my shift 2 and shift 5 of our adventure, a cheeky little 80 kilometre meander into Bloemfontein.
After my 40km morning, and a rough 35km per shift target, I decided I’d go for a solid 30km and maybe tack on a bit more dependent on how I felt.
Our shift started at 20h00, an hour later than planned after an excellent shift four reduced a two hour deficit from earlier in the day, with a clear message from Shaun not to stuff around and limit stops to a minimum firmly in mind. So a quick and energetic transition ensued. So much so that it would come back and bite me in the ass.
I rushed off with Devlin and despite tired legs, settled into a nice pace and had a great 15km stretch. Jumped on the bus ready to kit-down and jump into a warm clean set of clothes only to discover that my teammates had unintentionally left my bus-bag on the transition bus.
Initial thoughts on a tired mind were “OH VOK”. It gets pretty chilly in the early morning and I’d relied heavily on my kitbag the previous morning. But after a little reflection I decided that aside from some warm clothes (the life-saving Olaf confirmed he had a long sleeve base layer to loan me) and nutrition (we had food and snacks in abundance), I would be fine. So I sucked it up, changed shirts and took a much-needed nap in the back.
Waking up, I felt surprisingly alert, considering the total 9 hours slept in 3 nights and was excited to see how the body would respond to an under slept all-round state. The shift was moving at a nice solid pace and I was perfectly queued up for a 15km solo session in the dead of night. So I jumped out the vehicle armed with my Bluetooth headphones, my running phone (which had thankfully survived with me) and some super dope tracks courtesy of the fantastic Anjunadeep house label determined to smash it in the face.
What a sublime experience – again. If you’ve never had the opportunity to run in the dead of night and your natural inclination is to ask “why the hell would I?”, I would seriously encourage you to ask “why the hell not?”. It’s a magical experience you can’t explain to someone. You have to experience it personally.
Despite the almost constant uphill of the entire shift and getting seriously cold towards the end, it went really well and the body doesn’t feel too battered which hopefully augurs well for the rest of the week.
What last night’s shift, building on the shift before, also crystallised for me, is how cool everyone on this adventure seem to be. Kind, considerate and helpful in the extreme and pulling together for the greater cause is all I’ve experienced so far. From Hollie and Katie, my permanent teammates for the week, to the super Mel, Dan and Brad from our first shift.
Last night it was the turn of the awesome Hogan Lovell’s team of Hailey, Olaf and Keenan. It started with their superb preparation of snacks and food for the shift and their general kindness and helpfulness with us battered suicide shift peops during the preamble. The loan of a running shirt from Olaf and towel from Keenan to keep me warm in the bus and shirt from Hailey to help me back into the cold camp this morning, I really wouldn’t have survived my bag loss without them.
After an emotional and inspiring meeting with some MAD Leadership foundation scholars this morning, watching the camp pack-up was a similar exercise in teamwork that gives you the warm-fuzzies around the good side of humankind.
And that alone is inspiration enough to undertake what’s still to come.
If you’re reading this and not part of the event, please remember, we’re doing this for the amazing Mad Leadership foundation charity so please consider donating generously by EFT. Details of MAD bank account and Payfast card facility both below.
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