Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 9:30pm, Janjangbureh
Day 5, 125km run!
Today we received the treat we’ve been waiting for, RAIN! Finally! As we were leaving camp this morning, the first few drops began falling. It was blissfully cool, about 24 degrees, during our first 20km run and it rained for most of it. After days running at 37-38 degrees, it was unbelievably lovely. Kebba said he was cold.
We took our rest at the camp as we were only about 10km away at the end of 20km and because, obviously, it was raining out. After a 2 hour rest, the rain had cleared and it was like a new day began. This new day was 37 degrees. Its unbelievable how it different the weather can be in one day.
I was so grateful for the rain today because of how I was feeling. Now when you read this, know that I am fine. But the seams on the bucket were leaking a little bit today.
My first 4 days of running involved a lot of negotiation with my stomach/gut. The runners out there know what I mean. When you run, much of your blood flow gets diverted to your legs to power then. Much of the blood supply to your gut gets shunted to your legs. I am running in 38 degree heat and I absolutely need to drink almost continuously to stay ahead of my fluid and electrolyte loss through sweat. But a gut with little blood flow isn’t so pleased with this.
My first 4 days with “Gut” sounded like this:
Erin: We need to drink 3 sips of Gatorade now (my rule is always 3 sips at once)
Gut: Sigh. If you must. But we aren’t happy about it
Erin: 3 more sips
Gut: Not now, we are dangerously close to the vomit/poo-your-pants threshold
Erin: Ok, but in 500m we must drink.
My negotiations to eat food during our 90 minute rest weren’t as successful as I always hovered closer to the vomit-threshold. I haven’t been able to eat as much as I wanted or as much as Ashley, Pa and Kebba want me to during this period.
Today, negotiations with Gut turned sour.
Erin: Gatorade is coming
Gut: For the love of God, why have you been shaking us up and down for 2.5 hours a day nonstop for 4 days. WTF.
Erin: Because we need to run. Gatorade coming
Gut: So help me God, if you drown us in artificially colored sugar and salt one more time, you’ll be sorry
Erin: Gatorade has to come
Gut: You’ve left us no choice but to squeeze you in protest. For 20km.
And so I ran all of my 20km this morning with waves of gut cramping. I ran behind a tree twice. Kebba and I even walked about 200m so I could calm Gut down. This has nothing to do with African/tropical illness, it’s purely a runner phenomenon. I drank way less than my target today because I just couldn’t put it in my stomach. Luckily with the cool weather and the rain, I wasn’t sweating as much and could survive on less fluid.
My team was brilliant as always. We were laughing tonight about how there is no modesty and no secrets with a team that is trying to run across a country.
Back at camp for rest, I ordered a sandwich about 90 minutes in. It arrived about 2 hours into rest. This is the longest window between running and eating that I’ve had. The waiter brought me a “canned meat” sandwich, aka Spam. On a full load of tapalapa, it was bigger than a footlong sub at Subway. I figured that I already felt really bad, what’s the worst that could happen and I ate almost all of it.
Honest to God, it cured me. I had no problem with my second 5km run. I drank my target of 750ml of Gatorade. The moral of the story is that you can shut your gut up with Spam. Amen.
Aside from my cramping stomach, I’ve had to operate on my left toe blister again. I also took off my socks at 20km and was highly offended to see a huge blood blister on a right toe known for good behavior. I was trying to tell Ashley that despite blister and cramping problems, we could at least be grateful that my legs are fine. And then she reminded me that both of my adductor (groin) muscles are taped.
Anyway, I think that today was a day of struggle to overcome and the good news is that my second 5km run was as comfortable as any run I’ve ever done. I think tomorrow will be a good day. The holes in the bucket have been patched.
My team was really significant to me today. When I get home, it won’t be “Erin Poirier ran across The Gambia.” It’ll be “Team Love4Gambia- Erin, Ashley, Kebba and Pa Modou ran across The Gambia.” I run all of the steps each km but we share this. We share the work. We take care of each other. I only ran 3km solo today, my people, Pa, Kebba and Ashley plan each morning to stagger their runs.
Halfway through this morning’s run, I was feeling like I feel during the mid miles of a marathon. Where you need something to focus on to help the time disappear. On the road to Banjul, you don’t need to look far for this focus. Additionally, running next to me is often Kebba who is like my personal Dalai Lama- so full of inspiration and encouragement and support.
Your support from home helps too. Please continue to support us.