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Running 444 km in 98 hours: My C2C experience (Part II)

Welcome to the 2nd part of the blog about the 444 km C2C Race experience.If you haven’t read the first part, I strongly recommend for you to do so simply by clicking HERE! If you are all up to date with the story, let’s jump right back into Day 3:

Day 3: 200-278 km

On the night of the 2nd day, my husband installed the tent for the night. I was so dead, we agreed on sleeping for 3 hours but ended up having a really hard time to wake up… Therefore, we extended our rest a little. When we finally got up, we realized that all the others runners were gone already, they were all back on the road… running!

I started to panic!“How many hours in front of me were they? Could I possibly catch them up? This is a really difficult race, 444 km is so long, I don’t like competition, why am I doing this to myself?! How can I push through that and how long? How will my legs react to the hills today?”

Understanding my panic, the race organizer told me that my extra sleep was afterall a good choice and that it would help me later on. At this precise moment though, I had my doubts. I’d rather be with the other runners up ahead instead of alone at the back… panicking.

The organizer told me that I was not far behind, my mind was set: I HAD TO CATCH UP WITH THE OTHERS!I set my mind on focus mode and I just RAN.

In a certain way, the 3rd day was the real start of the race for me.

My nutrition was easy and sorted out. In the morning, I had ‘protein shake’. The kind of stuff runners usually drink after their race. That way I packed enough energy for my muscles to keep me running for a while. I was focused and I simply wanted to keep on going.

My legs were feeling better. After catching up on a few runners, we finally got to the mountain. It was simply MAGICAL! The colors were splendid under the sun. I could hear the sounds of the wild Orang-Outans coming from the jungle. Just listening to their chant was so unique and emotional.

At that precise moment, all my doubts regarding the journey wore off. I was focused on thinking about what was the ‘essence’ of running for me. I was under the impression that I was taking part in something greater than myself. How lucky I was during that precious moment.

My experience from the previous day made me realize that sleeping during the night (rather then during the day) was important for me. I just kept on running to arrive as soon as possible at the 280 km milestone.

My legs were finally in the ‘ultra mode’. So, I knew that I could keep on running and that I would still be able to run for a long time. I focused on maximising my running time during the day, and took really short breaks, so that I could reach the next checkpoint as soon as I could in order to get an early sleep during the evening.

Mid-day, the heat was too intense.I ran out of ice and water. With no shops around for kms, I started to panic. I knew that without water and ice for an extended period of time in those conditions, everything until then would’ve meant nothing.

I started to feel dizzy.

My husband went ahead with the car looking for ice and water leaving me alone for a while. I was walking on the shoulder along the road sharing the space with the huge lorries carrying tree trunks and “Palm Oil” beans.

I couldn’t do much, I focused on calming myself down and not push too much for the time being. I couldn’t afford to lose too much energy. I repeated to myself that my husband was okay and that he would be coming back soon. I knew that if I allowed the panic to win, my heart wouldn’t allow me to survive one more kilometer!

After what I thought was an eternity, my husband got back with precious water and ice. The 3 things in needed the most at the moment! Water in the bladder, ice on my neck and head, I could finally turn back into TURBO MODE once again.

Finally arriving at the next aid station, the medic team was waiting for me with an ice shower and bath!!! 😍😍 AMAZING! These were the second best events during that day (after my husband bravely came back with the ice, of course!). After the sublime bath, a bowl of KFC mashed potato with gravy awaited me, a side dish I normally look down upon as one of the most distasteful food to consume on Earth… But I was far from normal conditions, so at that very moment, this potato gravy bowl was an absolute delicacy for my salt craving needs. Good things were coming in pairs, another amazing dish was awaiting me from another runner’s crew. Since their athlete “DNFed” (Did Not Finished), they offered me some of the food they now had in extra. All of it was homemade cooking!

I was graced with: Chicken Soup, Chicken Teriyaki, and Carbonara Spaghetti Sauce, all worthy of a 5 stars restaurant. I could not be more grateful to them.

In the afternoon, we were running on a countryside highway. Awful experience. Luckily, it was flat. A good change from the previous mountain that we were used to. However, the insane traffic made this experience quite challenging. The narrow road forced me to pay constant attention to where I put my feet. I had to be extra-careful not to fall because of the heavy traffic. A miss-step would be fatal… and we all know how often I tend to fall on my knees. Quite a stressful situation for someone as clumsy as me!My goal was to run past this area as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to be stuck here when the night falls.

Around 17h30, we were out of the traffic hell. We found a relatively quiet spot near a mountain for a 15 minutes break. My husband cooked me a fabulous soup and added an egg to it for the extra protein. A welcomed and re-energising break. But I ended up walking with the soup in my hand save time, knowing that every minute count.

The night time was creeping around, I was then maintaining a solid run-walk strategy until the aid station. I was at 278 km around 22h30. Super stoked and happy of my own performance. I never expected to be as strong as I was in that section of the race.In celebration of my PB, a team member offered me an ice cream treat in honor of my success!

After my evening massage and medical check up, I slept 3 hours to make the most of my 4th day.

3rd and final part of the 444 km C2C blog coming soon!

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