Sunday, March 25, 2012
As I wipe my brow and take one more step I look around and see that there are no more trees around. I am instead surrounded by large sand dunes. The wind is blowing and I hear sand crunching and turning, sounding like distant earthquakes. I take a look down at my hands. They have wounds on them. They are hardened and firm like leather. A carpenters hands. The woods have hardened my hands as I broke through branches, chopped through brush, and crawled through the muck, and now I stand in the soft sand and only 59 others are standing around with me. Some have been beaten down horrifically by the dark woods, having to go back to the start many times, retracing there steps. Others took more efficient routes to get here. No matter though, regardless of the path taken, or who broke through the forest first, 60 still stand on the brink of The Dunes.
Though The Dunes are only a 5 week hike, they contain obstacles and obscure paths that can lead even the strongest competitor astray. The Dunes are a wet stone that will hone and sharpen me to a fine edge. The next few weeks will be rough, but I must focus on how to become even more efficient, how to recover properly, my pacing, fueling, and sleep.
I hear another crash, but it is not an earthquake this time, it is the sound of waves in the distance. For just beyond The Dunes lies the next test....The Ocean. The Ocean is where the men will enter to swim across to the Land of Luck. The competitors must remember, the farther they swim from shore, the farther they have to swim back if they get scared or they are overcome with exhaustion. I don't plan on saving anything for the swim back......