After completing the Vipava 50 km trail race in Slovenia at the end of April I didn't have much on the horizon in terms of running goals. I was kept busy by, selling my house and moving to Barrie, working, several short trips that didn't revolve around running and getting settled in to my new community. The travel bug was there even with an upcoming trip to Colombia in the works I still was itching for more...
I follow many different running sites on social media and right about the time I was getting restless, I received an email from Canal Adventures that there were openings for their upcoming stage run in Mozambique. This piqued my interest and the timing seemed to be right with work. So soon I started researching flights and asking endless questions to the race director and within 2 weeks I had decided to do the race. This was in July so that didn't leave me a ton of time to prepare for a October 30th departure. Thankfully I have put in a solid base of training since January and hadn't had any interruptions or injuries. So I figured I would carry on with my current regime, adding in some B2B runs and training with a heavier pack when time permitted.
The planning and logistics took up a fair bit of time as I only had just over 3 months to get everything in order, including vaccines, travel visas and gear. This is my first self-supported event. I have an idea of what is involved with a multi-day event in terms of fatigue, recovery and pace. However at my previous multi-day events ( Scotland, Tanzania and the Bruce trail) I had support which included someone else carrying the heavier gear and preparing food for me. I did some research and decided on the ultimate direction Fast pack and summer weight light western mountaineering sleeping bag. I have tested the sleeping bag out on a canoe trip and one solo camping trip this summer. When temps got down to 2 Celsius I was quite cold. But the temps shouldn't get below 10 Celsius in Mozambique. My pack is 20 liters and is able to fit all of my gear so far. I raced 25 k at Vulture Bait and it didn't interfere too much with my performance. I managed a 6:40 km pace, my shoulders and collar bone were definitely achy and I ended up with some chafing on my back, but I had forgotten to wear a t shirt and to use a lubricant, so I think the pack will be
OK. The one thing I dont like is that the straps are too high, I feel a waist or hip strap would help balance it out. When pack was fully loaded minus my sleeping pad and 1 liter of water it weighed in at 19.5 lbs. I think I can do some further tweaking to lower the weight prior to starting the event. As for other gear I am taking a super simple stove with fuel tabs, that I have tested out on a recent camping trip and the required safety gear.
I plan to use just one sports bra, my running skirt, technical t shirt, smart wool socks, and my Hokas. I am still debating about using poles. The elevation profile is not too bad and the terrain isn't supposed to be too technical, I may pack them and decide when I get to Maputo.
The biggest worry aside from the 36 hour journey, travelling solo to a new country, running 220 km in 5 days self supported, not getting lost or injured is of course FOOD. I am still a bit stressed that I am underestimating how hungry I will be. I have tried to keep my plan simple with breakfast of instant oatmeal with PB and hemp seed and coffee. Daytime with gels, chews, bars and nuts, salt tabs and a recovery drink. Dinners with backpacker dehydrated food, tea and chocolate bar and more nuts. My calories work out to be over the recommend bare minimum of 2000 a day.
The temperature should be hot 20-30 degrees everyday, we are not at elevation, terrain is mix of dirt road, trail, beach. Day 1 is 36 km, Day 2 is 40 km, Day 3 is 47 km, Day 4 is 48 km, and Day 5 is 49 k.
The most elevation change is 800 m up and about the same in descent with some days being less than that.
Each day we have 10 hours to complete the distance.
My plan is do 5 km increments and than walk for fuel break, and to keep moving forward as much as possible and enjoy the scenery and take it all in.
Environment: I have been to Tanzania before, which borders Mozambique, but I know very little about the country. I know which countries it borders and that it is on the Indian Ocean. I know they speak Portuguese. I know it is known for beautiful beaches and diving. I got my Lonely Planet guide to Mozambique today. So I am hoping to have much more to say on my next entry and not be so ignorant.
I leave in 2 weeks, I hope to do a short update when I get to Maputo.
Here is a pic of me with my bag and my gear