At the River: Last Rest Day

Rest Day #3 of 3

Bwiam, Friday, July 22, 6:30pm

Beautiful, beautiful rest day. We spent it in the best possible way. I got out of bed just before 10am. I called my husband and spoke with him until my D100 ($4 CND) ran out. We ate brunch, prepared by Kebba’s sister Bintou. And then we went swimming!

The Bwiam River, an off-shoot of the Gambian River, is salt water so safe to swim in. We piled into the truck with Kebba’s sons and nephews and headed to the dock. I can’t describe to you how blissfully amazing it felt to jump off the dock, into the water, after running several days with temps hitting 42 degrees. Mind you, the water wasn’t overly cool. It was more like bath water but it felt so refreshing and wonderful. The kids weren’t super swimmers but Spider is a lifeguard and we were in good hands for some fun. Floating, diving, relaxing. We spend most of the afternoon lounging on the dock- the perfect place to spend the hottest hours of the day.

I just tried to nap but as usual, I can’t. My legs and feet have been running 25km a day very comfortably but they are far from comfortable the rest of the day. No surprise here. When we get off the road from our day’s run, the first thing we do is eat a decent size meal. The meal consists of whatever is put in front of us- usually meat and rice with sauce. After that I shower and then I badly want to be unconscious on the bed. But I’m always too much of something: too sore in the legs, too hot or too hungry.
I’m most sore in quads and hip flexors and am also pretty sore in biceps/triceps from being in runner’s stride all day. I had been sleeping with one leg hanging off the edge of the bed. Less leg on the bed means less surface area to heat up the stupidly hot foam mattress. I can’t do that anymore because my hip flexors can’t stand it. There is no comfortable position to put my legs in after my 25km run and my legs exact their revenge on their owner by preventing sleep.

If I’m lucky enough to have a wave of naproxen-induced comfort wash over me, it’s often too hot to nap. 2-3pm is the hottest time of the day, exactly when we are trying to nap. If it’s 42 degrees outside, Kebba agrees that it is likely 45 degrees inside our room. Electricity doesn’t come on until the sun goes down so that means no fan.

It’s a good day if I can grab 10-15 minutes of nap per attempt. Then my stomach will wake me up. Despite having eaten a Gambian-size portion of meat and rice, I wake up ravenous and have to get out of bed to get our snack stash. Cookies, chocolate bars, bananas and pineapple juice tide me over until our evening meal. My Garmin reminds me daily that I burning around 1600 cal over 25km. I am monstrously hungry.

The non-running portion of our Love4Gambia experience has been incredibly enjoyable. I love being around Ashley, Kebba, Pa and now Spider. Good job we are such a tight group, we have been together most waking hours for more than 2 weeks now 

Our team of 4 didn’t realize how much we needed Spider (real name Dodou Bah) until he arrived on the evening of Day 11, ready to run on Day 12. When he started dancing, singing, laughing and running circles around us, it became clear that we had been getting a little bit tired. Spider brought us an infusion of energy and jokes and laughs and we love him for it. Spider and Pa’s tribes, the Fula (Spider) and the Serer (Pa) have what they call a “joking relationship” and they’ve been at each other with tribe jokes for 3 days now. It’s great entertainment. Like a long string of blonde and newfie jokes.

Although with 3 guys and 2 girls, the balance has tipped! Ashley and I are now outnumbered and are the target of most non-tribe jokes  I love these guys. And with love, I must concur with Ashley- there is now a lot of testosterone out here! Along with talk usually reserved for the male gender we get: who can run farther; who will run the most; Pa will run more than Spider; who does the nurse love the most; who does the runner love the most… and on! We are both looking forward to spending at least 4 hours uninterrupted with only our girlfriends when we get home!

That’s all for today. Banjul is calling loudly. We’ve reached kilometer markers for Brikama, which is about 30km from the finish line in Banjul. The last kilometer marker we passed was 51km to Brikama so about 80km to go!

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3 Responses to At the River: Last Rest Day

  1. Kate Keast says:

    Beautiful! That sounds very, very, relaxing! You have only a few days left of this journey, everyone knows you can do it so ” Do your best, and forget the rest!”

  2. Debby Hughes says:

    Sounds like a great rest day and 80 km left to go. Yes you can:):)

  3. Mel Connors says:

    HAha! Sounds like Spider has added a fun new element to the team!! (Minus the extra testosterone!!!)…. You guys are amazing!! You are so close now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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