- October 28, 2008
Stage 3 is the beginning of what is called “Hamada” in the Bedouin language or “flat out” in English. We were in an area today where only sand was in sight, leading to a dune section known for its harsh and unforgiving winds. The area resembles a paradise with no water.
As far as the run today, I can pretty much sum it up in a single word: “survived.” That ‘bout captures it. The desert landscape was spectacular; spectacular and mercilessly unrelenting. The sand in the Sahara is seemingly infinite, sometimes stretching absolutely flat in every direction, then, for no apparent reason, jutting skyward in these magnificent towering mountains of sand.
We ran through it all. Sometime the footing was stable, more often it was loose and soft. Trying to maintain a steady pace is frustratingly difficult when the sand breaks away underfoot so easily. Even on the flat sections, averaging 15 minute miles is nearly impossible in the soft stuff.
Oh well, I’m still having a remarkable time. If someone had told me ten years ago I’d be running in the Sahara Desert, I never would have believed them. Though, I did have a lengthy heart-to-heart conversation with Paul Liebenberg today after the run. Paul is the other racer left who is vying with me to be the first to complete all 4 Desert races in the same year (four of us set out this year to be the first to accomplish this, only Paul and I are left). He said it’s hard to enjoy the experience when your body is so wrecked from the other two desert events we’ve done. At a point, it becomes grunt work, sheer struggle. As much as I’m enjoying the experience, it wasn’t hard for me to relate to his words. I’ll definitely be glad to see those Pyramids at the finish of this event.
Finally, I’ll include a photo of me typing this blog. I’m using a specially designed Intel PC with their new Atom processor hooked to a satellite receiver. I hope this image puts you in the desert right besides me. Like I said, as ravaged as my body feels, the setting and the overall experience is just too extraordinary to lose sight of.
Sand saturated but still smiling,
Desert Dean- The North Face
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