“The desert is a fascinating place, and the MARATHON DES SABLES, an incomparable way to enjoy it. Indeed, it's a huge challenge, and competitors must certainly have masochistic tendencies…” Gudrun SIEGLE was forced to withdraw during last year's MDS because of a closure… This year, she's back and definitely wants to be a finisher!
Has anything changed between her two participations? “Having already taken part in the race is very helpful, and although I didn't finish, I think there's no better preparation than having been in the sand and suffered from heat and lack of water.”
Now that she knows what to expect, Gudrun feels less stressed. The equipment issue, which had worried her during her first participation, seems less frightening this year: she has tested it and is OK with it. She even used it during a few running sessions –something she had not done the first time. But running is not her strong point: “Frankly, after that desert experience, I know that running will be very difficult for me. So I decided to do active walking throughout the race, and I trained both with my rucksack and sticks and without. I hope it will be beneficial to me!”
But Gudrun didn't stop there: she also did three 90-min. workout sessions a week in a sauna (hot yoga and Bikram yoga) during the month preceding the MDS. This is a heavy training programme also used by some athletes aiming for a top position in the overall classification.
Something else Gudrun has improved: the weight of her bag. Last year, she realized it was too heavy and that she probably had brought too much food. And since “coming up smelling of roses in the desert is somewhat superfluous,” as she puts it, she got rid of unessential items and of excessively sweet food: “The combination of sugary food and heat made me feel sick. So this time, I chose salty products and tasty meals.”
Last point of improvement, but not the least important: hydration. Last year, our German racer didn't correctly manage her water intake, drinking too much too fast and running out of water before reaching the CP. This will change this year: “I'll try to walk faster and drink less but more often and in smaller quantities.”
What are the results on the race course? Gudrun made it to the finish line of the first stage, in 6:50:29 (1,064th out of 1,163 stage finishers). Keep on the good job!