Crazy shit leads to crazy shit……………..
So with only 2 weeks to go until I run the Marathon Des Sable I have been looking back at just how I ended up staring down the barrel of a gun about to shoot a 156 mile long Desert torture bullet straight at me !!!
I used to think that the day when Greg from Think fitness walked into my shop and asked me run Edinburgh Half Marathon to help him raise funds for the Jumbulance (a borders charity for sick kids) was the catalyst to it all but looking back I don’t think it was , only a few mornings before I had jumped on the scales and topped 14 stone , now this is the point where over the years I have given myself a kick and put myself back on track , you see my life runs in cycles of challenge , completion and lull … its been that way since my early twenties , I find something I “NEED” to do , be it a river or a rock face and I will become obsessed to the point of madness , read/learn everything I can , train obsessively hard and practice my skills until it is done , another challenge laid to rest then I lull , usually for a month or two and usually eat far to much , hence my 14 stone red line …. once this is hit I know its time for something …In my head I was planning a trip over to Chile with the intent to kayak the Futalefu , the grade 5 Inferno Canyon to be exact, we had been discussing it for a while and I was getting closer all the time to committing to the plan and I thought it was definitely time to hit the gym in preparation…. so when Greg walked in and asked me to run the Half marathon I was already primed to make the move back to fitness and thought that joining him might be an ideal way to get out and do some proper running especially as during my last trip out to the Hiamalaya I had been puffing my lungs out carrying boats over mountain passes !! Some good hard aerobic training won’t go wrong.
The training kicked in late however as the winter of 2010 was a hard one but eventually I hit the road, plans were afoot for Chile and everything was going sweet, I ran the Edinburgh half and enjoyed it deciding to go for a full Marathon in Amsterdam later in the year with a goal to keeping motivated until the Chile Trip. Things were going great , I was fit and headed out to the French Alps in early June for a couple of weeks kayaking with friends , the levels were through the roof , kayaking was hard and we were having a ball until disaster !!! I capsized on a gnarly section of water and rolled up with a dislocated shoulder, fuck me!! so I had to bail from the boat , got swept down stream in horrendously fast flowing water , battered over rocks and sucked into pour over’s all with an arm flailing wildly and hurting like a bitch !!! I eventually grabbed a rock midstream and managed to pull myself up with one arm and stand up, right in the middle of a maelstrom of white water, out of the fire in the frying pan!! however we are a strong team with a lot of years experience, soon my mates were setting up a rope system and extracted me nicely, next was a very long walk/climb back to the vehicles then a ride from hell over rough road to the hospital and over an hour sucking gas and getting traction applied to my arm to ease it back into position, after 4 hours of hanging there it wasnt very keen to go back in , probably the single most painful and torturous event in my life. This though is the whole reason for where I am right now … this very dislocation is why my pending trip to the Marathon Des Sable has came about… for it was here that the doctor told me my dislocation was so severe that there was no way that if I wanted a full recovery would I climb or Kayak until at least 2011, I was devastated, Kayaking and climbing was my life for nearly 20 years, holy shit what will I do…. I was lost and all I was allowed to do was running and maybe later some cycling.
So running it was and I ran all summer, entered the Great Scottish, Great North, Amsterdam … I did a lot of running and decided that if I ran off road I could apply my expedition knowledge so entered the Marathon Des Sable , 156 mile stage race across the Sahara in 5 days , one of the worlds toughest stage races …. most people enter 2 years in advance and build it up , I entered 5 months before and have had to go from jogger to ultra runner in what I can only describe as a blink of an eye , it really feels like yesterday I picked up the phone accepted my position and paid my money …… since then a lot has happened and it is already history …… over the years I have done a lot of things , first descents down remote rivers , plunged over huge waterfalls , first ascent and hard repeats on rock but never have I had to cram so much into such a short time as I have had to do to compete in this the most enduring of adventures , The Marathon Des Sable , for years I didn’t even have a camera let alone a diary and I regret this a lot , some of my most amazing adventures are just memories and stories , indeed many people look at me in disbelief and with doubt in their eyes when I tell of my adventures and because of this I sometimes have to hold back but this time I have tried to journal it all and these scribblings can be found here in my blog www.runner786.com …