Mainely Running
Join me as I train in Maine and race all over the world in pursuit of my goal to run a marathon on all 7 continents

Monday, February 28, 2011

Race Day!

Kiersten Pfeifer, you are an Antarctica Marathoner. The race was as difficult as I had imagined, and then some. At the race briefing last night they let us know that the glacier was unsafe for running, so we'd be doing a double out and back-course and then running the first leg a third time. We started at the Russian base, Bellingshausen, and ran out to the Chinese base. There was a series of small hills and then one really long steep hill. The hardest part was the 2 miles closest to China where the road surface was very soft and pebbly. It was like running through deep sand littered with big rocks that seemed determined to roll your ankle. We then ran back to Bellinghausen and headed towards the Uruguanian base. The hills in this part, made the hills in the first seem like molehills. This is also where the wind was the most brutal. It was a steady 20 knots all day, with gusts of up to 30. We had been warned about mud, and they were't kidding. Climbing up the hills I was sliding back in the mud, and a couple times sunk up to my knees! I think my shoes were about 10 pounds heavier by the end of the race because they were so filled with mud and water! I think they are beyond hope, so they went straight into the recycle bin on the boat. Coming back through Bellinghausen it was hard to run by the turn-off for the half-marathon. I was more tired at this point than I have ever been in a marathon, and seriously considered stopping. BUT, I didn't come all this way and struggle through a brutal winter just to run a half! I've been told the scenery was fantastic, and the few times I looked it was. The rugged mountains rose up over the ocean, which was a brilliant blue, especially when the sun came out. The glaciers were nested in the valleys of the hills. I heard that there were seals and penguins too. I was too busy looking at my feet, so the only wild-life I saw were the dead penguin and squid carcasses that were on the course. Luckily, I wasn't bothered my the skuas. I wore a bright yellow jacket to make it clear I was not a giant penguin. I didn't think it was that cold, but when I tried to take a bite of my power-bar, it was frozen solid. So, I didn't have anything to eat after 14 miles. I crossed the finish line in 5:15, with just enough left in me to cartwheel across the finish. I think I was the fifth woman to finish, which says something about the difficulty of the course. Staying on my feet long enough to walk to the zodiac was a challenge. We are now on the boat heading towards the Antarctic peninsula and the sun is bright at 6 pm. It also sounds like there is quite a social scene in the bar, but I can't quite get myself up off the bed to check it out!