Jeffrey Chand
official competitor in the 2006 Racing the Planet event in the Sahara desert, Egypt

Thank you all for your support!!


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Helloooooo!!   Wednesday Jan 31/07

I didn't forget you!

Wow, it has been awhile I'd say!  After enjoying Christmas in Nelson, a few windstorms, a couple of power surges to fry my computer, finally finding a computer, and setting it up I am back!  I am still fiddling around with things thinking of what direction I will be taking this site.  Please stick around and check back every now and then and I will continue to add more exciting things here!

The official live website:

Click here!!

Instructions for official website:

The above link will take you to the Racing the Planet live website.  I would recommend signing up for the newsletter on the left.  (just sign your email address in the box)  They will send you daily emails about what is happening.  There is also a section that says "email competitor" on the top right.  You can email me if you would like! 

Monday November 20/06

Hello Friends!


I had to do some digging but I finally got my original emails from the desert!  So if you are interested you can read through day by day.  There are little things that I read that I forgot about.  I'm working on a stellar slideshow for you local Victorians, they will be amazing!

Sunday October 29, 6:48pm
Stage one is complete and oh what an adventure!!  We arrived here late last night after a 8 hour bus trip to the middle of the desert.  It is absolutely amazing here!  I have never experienced anything like this before!  After the bus ride they 4x4 us out to the site of our first camp. It got dark very quickly and everyone in the tent was asleep at 9:30 or so.  Fortunately we had a chorus of snorers in the tent, but the worst one was one tent over.   I slept well and felt quite comfortable considering the new environment.  If anyone thinks that the desert is boring and just mounds of sand you are grossly wrong.  There are formations and shapes that are unlike anything I have seen before.  We had a dinner cooked for us and after taking a huge mountain of rice I hit the sack.  I was up at 4 to watch the sunrise.  I didn't mean to wake up that early but I'm glad I did.  I cooked up my oatmeal and got all set for the big run.  I was quite nervous but anxious to get going.  It turned out to be 31km today and the temperature soared to 39 degrees, which was quite scorching!  My run turned into a jog, which turned into a walk that saw me to the end.  There was a lot of soft powdery sand.  It reaked havoc on some people that didn't have their own wife made gaitors!  First day done, not injuries!  Except for my bag, my left shoulder strap ripped in a bad way.  I spent 2 hours sewing it and hopefully it will hold out.  There is a line forming behind me so I have to head out soon.  Thank you for all the emails, I have been enjoying them!  I am excited to see what tomorrow will bring and I will report it to you too.  I am thinking of everyone back home and keep those emails coming!  Take care, Sandman out!

Monday October 30, 6:01pm
Day 2 complete, stage two, check!  After a 7:30am meeting we started off on an arduous, hot 34km journey.  Today proved to be hotter, flat, and surprisingly difficult.  We were promised to pass by a spring, which turned out to be a trough adequate for a camel!  We had to cross a road and apparently we are close to the Lybia border and it is notorious for smugglers.  The military and police weren't to crazy about 60 people running around with backpacks, and facemasks.  It was quite sandy in some areas, and very beautiful.  I couldn't believe some of the sites that I saw!  The sand turned to be powdery and fine and found its way into everyone's shoes.  Around the camp there are a lot of damaged feet and limping warriors.  The camels are doing well after a rough wake up call this morning, they like their pictures being taken but not walking 35k!  It is interesting watching all the different types of people here.  I enjoy the Koreans the most; if you could win a prize for enthusiasm they would take it!  A line is forming behind me again so I should get moving.  We just got a warning that our long day will be 100km.  I am actually looking forward to that, see what comes up.  Thanks for the emails, keep them coming!

Hello, and welcome to camp 4, 3, day 4, day 5... I don't even know anymore!!  There is a lot of buzz about staying well hydrated, of course, and so in good intentions I've been drinking water like crazy.  Last was one of the wost sleeps I've had here because of that!  It didn't help that it was quite cold and the ground was very rocky.  After 3 days of running a marathon a day the thing that hurts the most is my hips from sleeping!  But tonight should be much better. Thanks for all the emails again, it is becoming a little bit of a joke how many are arriving!  I feel well watched.  I don't know if there are any pictures on the website but apparently there are a few of Kristina and Richard.
Today showed us what we think about when we hear "Sahara."  Today we met the sand dunes, or as it's becoming known around here, the sand dooms!  Jack, an American tentmate, said "let the carnage begin" and looking at all the limping athletes it has!  The stage started off being very flat and Texas like, not that I have been to Texas, then turned absolutely desolate!  It was interesting, the extreme space became almost claustrophobic!  It was there I met a little scarab, an insect similar to a beetle.  That is supposed to be unlikely and very lucky!  After that large expanse we hit the dunes and headed straight up them.  It was absolutely amazing!  I felt like I was on another planet.  Then, the wind storm began and I almost got blown to another planet!  It blew sand with such ferocity that it stung the skin and some people have embedded sand in their exposed areas.   I felt like I  was walking on a dinosaurs back.  Again, the run turned to a jog, then a walk.  I don't know what the temperature is but the wind makes it feel cool,  although we were warned that the tent might blow away.  If that does happen we are instructed to just leave it and continue sleeping.  After the dunes it was pretty flat and medium soft sand.  The dunes were very soft by the way.  I have taken to running with poles like some of the good runners are doing, and even they were sinking a couple feet into the sand.  I stopped to take a picture for all of you and lost my legionnaire hat down the side.  I can tell you that I wasn't very thrilled to say the least.  So I flew down and picked it up but I wanted to just leave it.
Pay no attention to the standings because I am not either.  People who are running for 1st place are top notch and well experienced.  People who are trying to run hard are hanging out in the medical tent right now.  Wanna hear the injuries?  A couple removed toenails, some serious gaping foot wounds, the 'runs,' back abrasions a plenty.  So far I have nothing wrong except the water wasn't hot enough for my meal so my pasta is still crunchy!
Kristina got stuck in the sand storm today and got some sand stuck in her eye in a bad way.  She was at checkpoint 2 and trying to hand out water while she was blind!  She then ran into one of the trucks, took her contacts out and put her glasses on.  However, the sand was still causing a problem so she took her buff and put it over her entire face and then helped people!  Yup, that's my wife ladies and gentlemen!
Richard got to walk a good part of the 38km and really enjoyed it.  I think he is all pumped up feeling like he got a good feeling of the desert.
I feel great, I really do!  I am surprised, but delighted.  There is a tranquility and an intensity that I feel emerging.  Being in environment I first thought that it was harsh and unforgiving.  I now feel like it is peaceful and balanced but I'm an anomaly here!  There is still a feeling of dread knowing that the day after tomorrow is going to be close to 100km.  That is far!  I wonder what will happen, I wonder if the tranquility will be disrupted or will it be intensified.  I feel great joy in the pursuit of happiness and peace but I don't think I need to actually look that far.  I feel it when I see all the email, and comments from all you friends, and family.  I'll report more tomorrow, until then Happy Halloween!!

Jeffrey Sand

I will search for the remaining ones, check out the new video!

Sunday November 12/06

We are back and alive!!  

Hello everyone and it is great to be back in beautiful Victoria BC.  There is a line in a song I once heard that said "It's good to leave home because it's good to come back home.  There is no easier place to find on a map."  And that is the truth.  Kristina and I rolled in at about 8pm last night after a long, horrible flight through Frankfurt, Germany.  We were so happy to be home we just crashed and I still don't know where I am at this point.  I went through a pile of pictures from my camera and the Racing the Planet site, check out the pics section for some updates.

The last couple of days have been a real whirlwind of activity, and we left Egypt in what feels like a sand storm.  I kinda got used to haggling and dealing with the locals, crossing the street like I'm playing Frogger, ignoring through official security checkpoints as if it didn't apply to me, and dismissing people who talk to you.  If you've been there, you'd know what I mean!

Since the emails to webmaster Mark have disappeared I will try to write a review of each day while it is still fresh in my mind.  It seems like it just happened and it also seems like it was a lifetime ago.  It's strange like that.  I still wake up thinking that I have to run somewhere.  I also wake up wondering where I am!  To be continued, look at the pics for now!


Tuesday, November 7/06

Well, Jeff is finished... Here's an update for today:

Well, we are here in Luxor, the hassle capital of the world as it is known! Seriously, that's not my description that is what people say! We went on a little sight seeing and then cruised on the Nile at twilight! It was very picturesque and I took many postcard pictures!

I am still kind of buzzing from the race. I have the feeling like you have after exams in university; you study like crazy, have exams, then it is all done but you have all this momentum built up with no where to direct it. People said that I'll never be the same after doing something like this and I kind of scoffed at the idea at first, thinking it was a romanticized notion. I still thought that for a couple of days but now I do feel a little different. I realized that during my darkest of darkest moments there was energy and enough force to 'keep going.' Something made me go on that 90km day when I thought I wouldn't be able to go anymore. I will update my journals soon as to what actually happened that day but it was ... formative. For me, and for many others I'm sure. There is a need to do something with that new found energy though. For now it will be used to deal with the street vendors, and taxi drivers in this crazy country! I will talk to you soon!


I've been derelict in my duties here... Jeff sent me updates all through the race and I didn't
get any of them.  I'm innocent though, I swear!  I got all the Breaking News updates from the
SaharaRace site, just zippo from our favourite competitor (Number 111, in case you were 
wondering which one I mean).

I guess my computer hacking skills aren't as l33t as they're cracked up to be.

Stay tuned though - Jeff says he's gonna try to locate the missing messages, so hopefully we'll
get to read them after all.

Friday, November 3/06

Tomorrow is the big day.  It's the final stage of the race.  A meager 13km
to the finish line.  It'll be a walk in the park compared to yesterday's
90km stage.

I think I'm still in denial that it's even possible for a person to do what
these competitors did... 90km through the blistering heat of the day AND
the chill of the night.  Amazing.  I'm sure Jeff will have plenty to say
about that when he gets back to his computer.

I was able to find the finish line on Google Maps - you can see the satellite
view of the Sphinx here.  The pyramids are just to the northwest of
the Sphinx.  It's amazing how far you can zoom out and still see them!

Should make a pretty spectacular ending to an amazing event.  The two leaders
are only about three minutes apart, after 30.8 + 31.7 + 38 + 38.5 + 90 + 13 = 242km
Less than a second's difference per kilometer.

It's been an exciting week, and I can't wait to hear a first-hand account!


Tuesday, October 31/06

Happy Halloween!

Things continue unabated over in Egypt - Jeff has completed three sections of 
the race, for a total of about 100 km.  Half way through.

A couple of competitors have now bailed out - Jeff obviously NOT among

I wonder what he's going to dress up as for today's leg of the race?

I haven't gotten an email from him since the race began - I think the email
action is one-way over there.  You can send him stuff, but I don't think he
can reply.

There have finally been some photos of Jeff posted in the Photo Gallery, and
a few new ones of Kristina and Richard.  Some spectacular views of the desert


Sunday, October 29/06

The race started at 1:00am this morning, Victoria time.  
Jeff's time is posted on the SaharaRace site as 4:11:57.
Very impressive!  That time puts Jeff in 19th place,
ahead of more than 40 other competitors!  Great work!

You can see the complete results on the leaderboard.

There are new photos in the gallery too.  I'm hoping
they'll update the gallery with some pictures from the
first stage of the race.  I still haven't been able to
spot Jeff in any of the pictures, but I think I saw
Waldo a couple of times.

Don't forget to send Jeff an email if you have time.


Friday, October 27/06

More News from "Competitor 111":

I'm writing to you from a smoke filled, Enrique Iglasius sounding internet cafe on the 27th and there is 1 and a half days until the event starts. I have been packing and repacking my bag over the last couple of days and I think I got it to a manageable size and weight. I just met a guy who had a look over it and said that it looked pretty good but he recommended not taking so many socks (1 per day). I think I have too much food though, mainly cliff bars. I can't usually eat that much while running but I do know it is important. I have the option of dumping my food at the checkpoints though. I have to go officially sign in soon.

Kristina and Richard are having a good time learning to use radios, put up tents, help competitors, do official timing, and set up camp. They are grouped in teams and Richard is really happy with his! He is at the 3rd checkpoint meaning he will be spending a lot of time out there waiting for people. Kristina is at the 4th, which is at the camp and she brought along some noise makers to use as people finish. There is a joke about Kristina and noisemakers there, but I think I'll just walk away from that one!!

We check in tonight, store our bags in the morning and hop on a bus for a 5 hour journey into the desert where it may get significantly hotter! I can't wait, I think now that my bag is packed I feel that much more ready.

I saw on the website how many people have visited the site and I feel fortunate that there are as many people interested in the event. I feel like I am taking you with me on this amazing journey! I will think of everyone I know and has supported me through this adventure as I run through parts of the planet that have only seen a handful of people. I will speak to you after finishing stage one, 51km through salt flats. Until then!

Competitor 111

PS It is really strange that that is my number, I'll explain later!

Also, I (Mark again) noticed that there are some new photos available on 
the Sahara Race web site -- There are even a few familiar faces (or at least 
Who's that in the back row?
The dynamic duo (from the back)

There are a bunch more too, which you can access from the photo gallery

If you have iTunes, I definitely recommend subscribing to the video 
podcast here.  They've got a cool highlight video from last year's 
race.  It looks like fun!

Tuesday, October 24/06 (Reprise)

Breaking news - Got an update from Jeff:

Welcome to Cairo!

Good evening, we made it here safe and sound! After a brief stop over in Frankfurt we arrived in Cairo to be met with a combination of smog, smells, and many people wanting to help us. I mean "help" us! Egyptians are interested in Kristina and Richard as they walk by, but they tend to think that I myself are Egyptian! Oh well, it reduces the amount of hassling we get. We registered into the Movenpic hotel with a little bit of confusion, to say the least.

I have been getting a little sidetracked as to why I am actually here. Just before leaving Mike gave me a little key chain from the Christopher Reeve foundation that has a Superman logo on it that helps me remember the important event coming up. I will be packing and repacking my bag while Kristina and Richard are training over the next couple of days.

I should get going because I am worried about my 2 travel companions getting themselves into trouble... again!

Tuesday, October 24/06

Hello!  This is Mark's first update on Jeff's behalf.  
By now he'll be in Egypt enjoying fun in the sun!

I haven't heard anything from Jeff yet, but I did 
find some LIVE VIDEO FOOTAGE of his final practices 
before the race gets underway!  Go Jeff Go!

Any feedback for the pinch-webmaster can be directed 
to until the real Jeffrey Chand 
returns to resume the job.

Watch this space for news...



mark ried.jpg (90378 bytes)

This is my buddy Mark!  He will be doing the website updates while we are gone.  So if there are any strange images of animals, weird things, dancing parties, or anything absurd it's Marks' fault!

Sunday October 23/06

Dearly departed!

Good morning all!  It is the morning of Sunday and Kristina, Richard and I are about to leave in a few hours!!  I got about 20 minutes of sleep last night due to excitement, worry, and general "oh yeah what about this?"  I packed my bag and it was enormous!  I am a little concerned going through customs with all the food that I am taking.  Look at the army of supplements, bars, and meals!food.jpg (79901 bytes) (click to enlarge).

Here is a picture of the new gaitors that Kristina made, they cover the entire shoe so it'll be helpful keeping that sand out, real style as well!gaitors.jpg (70622 bytes) (click to enlarge).


The sun has risen moments ago and the sky was a bright pink hue.  I am wondering what staying in the desert for 7 days will be like.  I wonder what that part of the world will be like.  What are camels like? What will the stars look like?  I also will try to figure out why the aliens decided to build the pyramids where they did.

Thank you everyone for your good wishes, and don't anybody worry!  It is a very safe event  despite what it may seem.  There is a ton of staff to make sure the athletes are safe.  Mom, Dad, I know you will be worried too, but fear not if I get tired I'll just get Kristina to carry my pack!

I don't know what I will 'find' there, if anything.  But I am determined to enjoy every moment of the experience.  I have seen a transformation in myself, and the people around me.  I love the look in some peoples eyes when I start talking about the event!  It is part of what keeps me going through the tough runs.  So please continue to share that energy with those around you because is it at the edge of our comfort zones that we truly discover what we are made of.   Talk to you soon!  Jeffrey Chand the Sandman!


Friday October 20/06

2 days until Sand and Sun

Reading the weather reports one can expect a balmy 52 degrees upon arrival!  I had my last day at clinic yesterday and patients were so encouraged and excited... well most of them.  There are still the few who think that I've had one too many acupuncture treatments and lost my marbles!  

I don't know if I mentioned it already but I got a brand new backpack!  My strap was beginning to tear and I was concerned about my home made stitch job so I went into "Valhalla Pure" where I got the pack and told them the story.  Straight away they gave me a new pack and they are going to send the old one back to Salomon.  I was quite happy!  My old pack was beginning to turn white with all the encrusted salt!  I have also decided not to take a sleeping pad.  I was going to get a Thermarest, the Prolite 4, but I was reassured that the sand is soft and one doesn't need one.  I hope they are right!  I tried out my new sleeping bag on the deck a couple nights ago to see if it would actually be warm enough and I was very surprised!  It is so thin yet warm enough in 3 degrees temperature.  Not sure what the neighbors thought but it wouldn't be the first strange thing they've seen!

I just returned from a session with Monica Kingsbury, a counselor, and she taught me a couple pain management techniques.  It was an interesting session because most sports psychology is focused on performance and winning.  Monica was helping connect with the higher purpose of the race.  I can truly say that I don't care if I am dead last but I want to enjoy the experience and somehow 'grow' through it all.  

I have my last session with Mike today as well.  We are going to do just 5 hills as opposed to our normal 10 then having a 'sit down.'  I am not sure what is involved when we 'sit down' but I think it is more on the mental aspect.  I was reading through some running forums and realize how unusual it is to be doing the distances that I have been doing and to be injury free.  Only thing I have are some tight calves but with cutting my mileage (or seeing that we're in Canada my kilometreage!) in half they seem to be relaxing and recuperating.  

I got an email from Rob MacKay, who completed the Marathon Des Sables last year, and said a couple of interesting things; if you are physically ready that is 15% of the battle, and if you make it to the start line you are halfway done.  He said that I'll get it when I'm there!

So here is what I still need to do before leaving; get my wind jacket, get some Gu gels, more cliff bars, nuts or almonds, sew my patches on to shirts and jacket, get a couple more pairs of Smartwool socks, get some AAA batteries, get more Succeed salt tablets,  get some breakfast foods (oatmeal and egg dishes), put some music into my mp3 player, get a little knife,  get some sunscreen, and learn Arabic.  OK, better get to it, later!


Wednesday October 18/06

Training with boxers.

Well, as Mike (my running coach) said, "All the work from the neck down is done."  I did my run at the Gowland Todd on Sunday and it was pretty wet and cold.  I was chilled for a day after.  It was a very exciting run, I saw some very confused deer looking at me, and then had the fortune of being chased by 2 snarling American boxers (the dogs, not Mike Tyson!)  Its' strange to think that the training is basically done.  Over the next 2 weeks I will be doing small recovery runs and hopefully be able to recuperate a bit before leaving.

Things have been extremely busy in the clinic and it is great to hear so many excited patients ask me questions and show interest.  I've gotten some 'good lucks,' 'you'll do fine,' and the occasional 'nice knowing you!'

I went to the vet yesterday (actually it was my family doctor) and got my fill of travel medications, antibiotics, painkillers, and sleeping pills.  Hopefully I won't need any of it but it's good to have it anyways.  Dr.Ballard is a great doctor!  He's one of a dying breed, a doctor that will actually sit and talk with you.  We talked about the race for about 20mintues before even getting to anything medical related.

Kristina got me the book "Fixing your Feet" a very comprehensive text on any and every possible situation I could get myself into in the desert.  We decided that making some gaitors might save me from some sand related injuries.  Kristina bought an old nylon jacket and made the gaitors out of the sleeves, very crafty!  I didn't know she could sew so well!

I just got this information!!

Race Format / Maps


The Sahara Race 2005 (Egypt) will be located between the Farafra and Bahariya Oases in the Sahara Desert of Egypt, considered to be the most spectacular part of the Sahara. The finish line will be in front of the Sphinx just next to the Pyramids of Giza, the only surviving "wonder" of the Seven Wonders of the World.

There are six stages ranging from 10 - 50 miles (20 - 80 kilometers) over seven days. The stages are arranged to cover the most spectacular and varied part of the Sahara. Each stage consists of several legs whereby competitors must pass through a checkpoint to collect water and where medical assistance is also available. A typical day will have three or four checkpoints which includes the finish line checkpoint (or campsite).

The Start Line

The Sahara Race 2006 will start near the Farafra Oases . The six stages that competitors will traverse and their current estimated distances are as follows:

Stage 1 (51km) The Great White Desert Iceberg
Stage 2 (27km) Antarctica in the Sahara
Stage 3 (26km) Sahara Sands
Stage 4 (37km) The Qarawin Dunes
Stage 5 (77km) Naqb El Sellim Plateau
Stage 6 (~10km) The Pyramids to Sphinx Valley

The Finish Line

The Sahara 2006 will come to a grand finish in front of the Sphinx near the Pyramids of Giza.


sahara map.jpg (342042 bytes)

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Wow!! First day is 51km?!  No sense easing into it!  I'll put the link to the live website when I get it.  Gotta run!

Thursday October 12/06

No, I didn't forget about you!

Wow, long time since writing!  It has been an exciting week and with only 10 days left until departure the excitement is building!  A couple people have asked what my current training schedule is like so here it is:

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 13.8km easy run, 20min of resistance training

Wednesday: 20km hard run (155-160 heart rate)

Thursday: 13.8km easy run, 20min of resistance training

Friday: hill training with Mike Suminski 

Saturday: 13.8km easy run, 20min of resistance training

Sunday: 42km

This last Sunday I went out at 4:30am with my full gear and clothes to Elk Lake and ran around the route 4 times.  It surprisingly was not boring because I had swallows diving at my head lamp, spider webs constantly getting in my face, and tons of roots and rocks to trip over!  I knew that I had been running for awhile because after I had broken through one of the many spider webs that span across the trail I had picked up a hitchhiker on my backpack.  Well, turns out the little spider had time to weave a full web on my pack between two straps!

Running in the dark was kind of fun, but admittedly a little scary.  I still have thoughts of "Grizzly Man" in my head, which wasn't good when I noticed 3 sets of glowing green eyes staring at me.  I think they were deer... or maybe the missing links!

sasquatch.jpg (25894 bytes)

I felt pretty good after the long run, but noticed that my backpack strap was starting to tear.  I am a little disappointed seeing that I've only had it for a couple months.  I will talk to Valhalla Pure this week.  I will continue this saga later on tonight!  Cheerio! 


Wednesday October 4/06

Hey, people are actually reading this!

I got myself an "Outdoor Research" legionnaire hat with flaps that protect the neck from the heat and sun.  I thought about wearing around clinic to break it in but I don't think it would inspire too much confidence!  I have been looking for a Patagonia Capilene 1 shirt but I am having a hard time because it's more of a summer item rather than winter.  Never thought it would be that hard to find.  

I'm going to be meeting with Rob MacKay tomorrow and I am really excited about it!  Wonder how many questions I can ask him before annoying him?! 

I am thinking about trying a different pair of shoes again!  I saw a pair of Montrail Hardrocks that are 'wide.'  I have enough space in the front of the shoe but I'm not sure if it is wide enough.  Man, me and the damn shoes!   I did my short run last night and threw 22 pounds in the pack and just ran.  I kept myself amused by feeling the 10 pound plate gradually slide down my back until it got completely wedged in the pack!  I haven't been getting any seizing in the neck anymore which is kinda nice!  It was really painful a few weeks ago.  My neck, specifically the trapezius, would be fine during the run but then an hour or so after I was done it would just stop moving!  The only other issue I have been having is an abrasion on my spine at about T10 (mid back or so).  I keep aggravating it every time I wear my backpack so it never really heals.  I'm sure it will at some point.

I feel so thankful!  There have been individual making personal donations to the 'cause.'  I am still hunting for the corporate sponsors who are lurking around out there!  My sleeves and chest is still available for a  logo or 2.  Maybe I should just put a superman sign there!

Thanksgiving is coming up and I am on pumpkin pie duty again.  I am making it from scratch this year, look out!  My Mom gave me some good ideas like putting whole cinnamon, nutmeg, and spices in while the pumpkin boils.  I just have to remember to take it out before serving!  Kristina is making her special yam dish that is topped with marshmallows!  It is as good as it sounds!  Later gaitor!!

Monday October 2/06

20 Days until Departure!

But, who's counting?!  I took my long run to the trails of Gowlland Tod and for all you locals, get out there and enjoy the beautiful surroundings!  It was quite a different experience running on trails compared to the road.  I had to really really concentrate or I risked becoming one with the moss on the rocks!  

stairs.jpg (99964 bytes) (Don't let the picture fool you, it's more than a 45 degree angle up!)

It started off well when I saw an owl in the trees which got me wondering if they really are smart and wise like they are in the cartoons.  owl in trees.jpg (135523 bytes) 

                                            (if you look closely you can see the owl looking back at you!)

It seemed like the 'meditative' quality of running had been eluding me for the past few months, but after yesterday it felt like it clicked in.  I think running in all the traffic and around so many people made it hard to connect with oneself.  I don't even know how far I went I just tried to run for 4 hours.  The shoes worked out wonderfully, and there were no 'hot spots' where blisters could form.

On Friday I watched Grizzly Man, a story about a man who lived amongst bears for 13 summers up in Alaska until (surprise, surprise) he was the main course for dinner along with his girlfriend.  It was a great movie to watch before running in the middle of the forest by myself!  But it did get me thinking about 'crazy people.'  Most people react to me doing the race by saying "you're crazy!" to which there is a certain amount of truth:)  

There is, however, a part of me that really wonders why I am doing this.  There is the adventure, the challenge, the experience, the travel, the fundraising, but after watching that movie I started wondering if there is something that is a little off- you know a couple bricks short of a load, a sandwich short of a picnic, not playing with a full deck... you get the idea. 

 In analyzing it I found that there is a need to "meet yourself."  I heard a breast cancer survivor refer to going through treatments and illness is where one "meets themselves" and gathers the strength to move forward.  Well, I don't think that one has to wait until they are terminally ill, we can do it now.  This is the way I am choosing to do it right now but I want to "get it."  I have read blogs of others who just can't get enough of adventure racing, adrenaline rushes, and doing dangerous things and I think that is great for them.  But there is an emptiness that seems to follow the rush.  Perhaps they meet themselves, then life seems mundane afterwards because they cannot maintain the connection.  How then, do we keep that connection? Food for thought, what do you think?

Check out the new video in the fun stuff area with more to come!

Strike, I'm out!


Thursday September 28/06

Reality Check please!

I just returned from a presentation by Rob MacKay about the Marathon de Sables, a race very similar if not identical to the Sahara Race.  I enjoyed the many gruesome pictures of mangled feet and backs due to friction, sand, and oh yeah running 250km!  Actually, it didn't concern me as much as I thought it was going to, in fact I was prepared for much worse.  Something kinda interesting is when your feet swell because of the heat it gets to a point where the only place the pressure can be relieved is from under toenails!  Ya!  You guessed it, you then lose your toenails.  Thats alright, mine were never something to write home about.  I had in mind to go and ask a hundred questions but I started to get the sense that it doesn't really matter that much what you do, you just go there and do your best.  I've been second guessing my shoes a lot, unwilling to commit to my Montrails.  But, it will be fine and I've just decided to not worry about it anymore.

Kristina came with me and I am concerned that she's going to go crazy worrying about me.  I'm not sure yet how to reassure her that I'll be fine, and I'll probably even enjoy it!

I did my 19.2km run yesterday and felt great!  I had moments when I felt like I was flying!  It was a stark contrast to my Sunday run.  Up and down I guess.  I know now that I changed too many things too quickly and Sundays run was the price I paid.

I met an interesting character in the gym the other day.  I call him Romanian Romeo. (not actually him!) I don't know if he is from Romania, or if his name is Romeo but he kinda looks like someone who should have that name!  He asked me "Gooo worrrr oud?" (Good workout?)  To which I said yes, and he responded with a guttural "Yaaaaa!" as he pumped his arm.  We exchanged few other words but I actually don't think he understood anything I was saying!  For some reason I have thought about him a couple times over the last couple of days.  After a few minutes I thought he was going to invite me over to meet his family and come for dinner and it wouldn't have been strange at all.  But if he were just a normal North American one would think he's a weirdo! Sometimes I feel so formal with people we meet and even people we've know for a long time.

I also decided to do a couple minutes of stairs in the sauna to get used to the heat.  I was getting into it when I lady walked in to this strange site of me with my full backpack and gear on.  I said "Hi, come on in!"  She looked at me blankly, closed the door and walked out!  I didn't think I was doing anything THAT strange!

Stay tuned, I finally got our wedding pictures in, so check in the pics section soon!  3 2 1 Blast off!

Monday, September 25/06

I saw myself on TV today!  

The story of the race aired on "The Daily" a news show on Shaw TV (Channel 11 here in Victoria).  I didn't say anything too ridiculous thankfully!  I don't know if I can ever get used to hearing my own voice though.   

I did my long run yesterday of 38.4km and oh my goodness it was... a character builder!  It by far was the toughest run I've had to date, perhaps in my entire life!  I'm not even exaggerating!  In reflection I had changed a lot of things this week; I have been doing my runs in the early morning (usually at 5:15 or so), had missed a few lunches because of being too busy, was missing sleep, and had a really busy day on Saturday.  Oh yeah, I also ran Elk lake on Saturday and I went way too hard!  I wasn't even in my target heart rate zone for 1 minute.  I had an average heart rate of 174 bpm which, of course, is extremely high for an average.  I  knew at the time that I was going too hard but I just didn't stop myself.  I always get a little agitated at Elk lake because of all the runners who seem to take up the entire trail and never move out of the way for oncomers.  Anyways, I paid for that hard run yesterday and I was forced to walk at some points oddly. I actually  found myself getting a little emotional.  I felt a little like a nut job!That's alright though, better now than in the blistering hot sun in 4 weeks.  I have to admit that that is part of the reason why I want to do this.  I want to see what is buried deep in the closets, so to speak.  I wonder if I'm going to see any mirages?

I also was the guest speaker at a Diabetes Support group today talking about acupuncture and TCM.  It was at 1pm, and I think I got out of there at about 3:30!  Very attentive group and a lot of good questions.  I left there feeling appreciative of the health that I do have and am reminded of how many people suffer from conditions alone and in silence. 

Don't forget to check back regularly and email me your comments if you'd  like!  Jeff has left the building!


Friday, September 22, 2006

It is officially 1 month until departure to Cairo!  

I just got an email from a fellow competitor in the Sahara Race who will be in town and wants to get together.  That will be interesting meeting another like minded person.  I am really tempted to enter the marathon that is happening in 2 weeks but I think I shouldn't.  I know if I did it I would be tempted to get a decent time and end up throwing off all my training!

 I did my hill training run with Mike today and it started off feeling like the gas tank was empty but 15 minutes into it I started feeling good.  As Mike follows behind me with his bike sometimes I feel like he is my entourage and I'm someone important!

I have some shopping that I have to do this weekend plus my 38.7km run on Sunday.   I need to gather some other pieces of gear.  I got a sleeping mat already but as comfortable as it is I think it is too heavy.  One of the main things I have to sort out is my shirt.  I still can't decide between long sleeve or short.  I don't think I really have to worry about getting sun burned but I think a long sleeve will keep me a little cooler.

I also received word that it will be OK to bring the local TV reporters down to film the final segment of the race so if all goes well it will be on A Channel and possibly CH.  I have to remember to hold it together when I finish an am doing the interview!

Alright, I am going to go back to my evening project of writing one song of something random.  Ever notice how some of the most popular songs are about nothing at all!  I can do that... I think! 

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Today I had the opportunity to again be filmed for TV by Shaw cable.  The very tall Dan Kahn and his cameraman Orlando met me on Lobthinere Street behind Government House.  I don't know what I was thinking choosing the toughest hill in Victoria to be filmed running on!  The interview went well but I think I said some dumb things though!  I usually get all excited talking about the race and start speaking a mile a minute so I told myself to slow down and speak clearly.  I think all I accomplished was sounding like I had a head injury!

People seem to be hearing about the story more and more.  Other patients coming into the clinic are asking me about it and few of them have even made donations!  I heard back from Thrifty Foods, as I had approached them about sponsorship.  They informed me that they do not sponsor individual endeavors.  

I had my first chiropractic treatment yesterday from Dr. Sean Starr.  He worked on my tight calves which Kristina says look like Heron legs!

I gotta go on my 12km run tonight plus throw around some weights for a bit.  I have noticed that I definitely feel better when I do a little bit of strength training along with all the running.   I am still awaiting my size 12 Montrail trail runners to arrive.  I'm not sure how it'll feel wearing shoes that are 2 and a half sizes bigger than my normal shoe.  Talk to you soon!!


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Well, here goes, I'm blogging!

Things are getting pretty serious these days!  I just received word from Shaw cable and we are going to be doing an interview and shooting this Thursday for "The Daily," a program that circulates stories 24hrs a day on TV.  Also A Channel, a local Victoria news program, will also happen to be in Cairo on the last 2 days of the race and we are trying to figure out if it would work to have them film part of it.  I emailed Jason, who would be doing the interviewing, and told him that he would have to get around by camel.  I hope he knows that I am kidding and they actually do have powered vehicles in Egypt!

This morning I decided to do my run first thing in the morning.  A brisk 12km jaunt.  It was nice being up early and getting it out of the way.  I felt all buzzed afterwards, which is always a nice side effect of running!  Today I will deliver sponsorship packages to a couple businesses around town and see what the response is.  Check back regularly to see updates and please feel free to email your comments and suggestions!  Jeff out!