In. 44km in 6:28:12. What a day! Let me describe it this way: imagine yourself in a bathtub, after a really hard day, with the water temperature being just right. You lean back slowly until you submerge and slowly become one with the water and yourself.
That’s how the morning felt. We started right into a beautiful sunrise and the by now automated running motion slowly but steadily started to take over.
It was for the most part downhill but I don’t think Manu really understands that concept. His downhills appear to have lots of uphills attached to it? Well, what do I know.
The by now proven P&D train started cruising and soon we met up with other fellow runners like Pat. We ended up running and chatting for the next 2-3 hours, while sometimes picking blackberries directly from the bushes.
The terrain is unexpectedly rough but also holds a lot of beauty. Soon enough we picked up the walkers, who had an hour headstart this morning.
For some folks it’s the first race of this kind and they are paying their dues. Getting up early after a 13 hour walk, only to walk another 10 hours and 43 km is no joke. The spirit is good though. It’s a super cohesive and extremely well tempered group of like-minded runners.
The first 20 km didn’t go as fast as I was hoping, my legs clearly showed signs of wear, and during the next 15 km my blisters added some nerve signals as well.
Essentially everything from the hip down is in pain, while your upper body feels untouched. On top and for the first time I feel I have energy reserves left. I could always pick up speed when needed or catch up after a short photo shoot.
I also caught a lot of sunlight today. Almost too much. It became hot from past noon on.
Peter had developed some stomach issues early on and started to suffer. These races have their own rules. Everything is great one day and you come down hard the next. It’s about managing the perfect balance of sleeping, eating and drinking, and still, you never know what muscles will give you grive next.
We took things a little slower, walked for a bit and that helped clear things out. He’s a tough guy, with multiple races under his belt, he knows when to bite through it. Your mind decides in the end.
We are staying in an old monastery. Beautiful and nicely hidden in the rolling hills of the country. It took us the longest time to see it at first. Manu made us come up one final steep hill before we were allowed to come close but it’s totally worth it.
Tonight will be some sitting in with the monks and later I’m excited to participate in a spiritual cleansing, done by a Celtic shaman. I can’t wait.
I might add some text later but need to crash a little for now.
PS: Meet Vivian. She’s 72 years old and racing with us. She’s walking the entire trail. So, slackers, get off the couch and get moving.