“Be brave enough to live life creatively. Looking for the creative place where nobody else has ever been ”
Here I leave you my most personal chronicle / story of what happened in Stadtoldendorf, Germany.
I hope you enjoy it with as much passion and affection as I have tried to transmit it. You know, if you like it, I would appreciate it if you shared it, commented on it or gave it to “I like it”, it would be of great help to continue reaching the maximum possible people and with it to be able to continue CREATING SMILES around the world .
“We arrived in Stadtoldendorf (Germany) after two days of travel and more than 2000km traveled by road in a van. It was not a simple or comfortable trip, because we had to eat, sleep and live in it as we could, but in a way it was fun and with an adventurous touch that we will always remember with great happiness, although during this long journey there everything was rosy.
Before arriving at our destination we had a tremendous “mishap” on the German highway. I do not want to go into details because fortunately and for a few centimeters only was in an anecdote, which will take time to forget and that made us realize again how fragile we are in this life, in what little time can change everything and what we should enjoy and value our existence day by day.
With all this…
It seemed that we were never going to arrive, but … with the overflowing illusion that we carried in our hearts nothing could stop us.
Upon arrival we were “destroyed”, exhausted. We rested what we could and in a couple of hours we were practically recovered from the beating of the trip and with the strength to 100% to give everything in which would be in the end another unforgettable competition .
Without realizing the time passed flying like in a dream and we were having breakfast / lunch on the day of the race.
I had a hungry hunger, typical of me the hours before the competition, so I swallowed a good plate of rice with broth, bananas and honey with my family on the terrace of the rural house where we were.
The competition schedule was different than usual, since the test would start at 2:00 pm, this made me have to modify my pre-competition “routines” and improvise some small changes.
At the end I rested for more than an hour lying on the bed with my favorite music playing softly in the background, quietly visualizing with my eyes closed everything that would happen hours later.
I was not really nervous because everything was created in my imagination, so it was simple, all that was needed was to capture it in the simplest reality, which everyone sees / sees. I got up and loaded all the necessary material in the van.
I took my inseparable bottle of water and some more food for the road (a couple of dried fruits, fresh dates and some sandwich bread) and headed for the athletics track in Stadtoldendorf.
Upon arrival we were amazed at first sight. It was a really immense and beautiful sports complex in the middle of a natural place that dazzled by its beauty. We got out of the van and entered the main track.
The atmosphere at this time of the “morning” was already tremendous and breathed a beautiful aroma of athletics, happiness and joy that I would not know how to describe.
The place was full of athletes, media, families, volunteers and a large influx of people that made the environment a dream for everyone who loves this sport.
It was fascinating the enthusiasm and passion that came from this event in the town and the surrounding cities.
I was really amazed. I went to pick up the number and spoke with Hank (organizer of the test) to clarify all the strict rules related to the competition (they had an exhaustive control with all the details).
I went back to my parents and my grandmother to place our table, umbrella and chairs in an interior part of the track. We leave the baskets and coolers on the floor and review the supply plan in detail.
We had everything prepared and under control so we relaxed drinking coffee (mine with enough honey) on the trees, chatting quietly while hallucinating with everything around us. The sun shone timidly and a small cool breeze blew making us be in glory,
That was the closest thing to paradise I can imagine!
For the first time, my grandmother was going to compete live, without a doubt it would be an extra motivation for me.
Maybe for all this I was euphoric, with confidence in the clouds and willing simply to enjoy, flow on the track and evade reality, to again enter into that beautiful world of “dreams” in which so well and happy I am That place that can only be accessed with a big smile and through your true passion.
I kissed them and went to the bathroom a long time to “relax and expel the last tensions.” When I finished I went to the locker room next door, I was alone, quiet.
The time has come
I sat on the deteriorated wooden bench and had the opportunity to talk with a couple of friends and Mr. Fabian Campanini to finalize details. I read a couple of sentences and the odd short poem. I went back to the bathroom, I soaked my face, I looked in the mirror and I smiled, I saw everything so clear in my eyes … I felt that I was totally ready.
I tied my shoes, my inseparable Adidas Adizero Boston 6 (I want to thank the teacher Rodrigo Rorro Morath for giving me his opinion and confidence to decide and compete with them, without any doubt) and I left the bathroom running towards the track where I warmed up a couple of minutes.
After a couple of laps trotting smooth and some dynamic stretches, I stood on the starting line with the other athletes, another dream was “about” to begin to be fulfilled. 12 hours separated me from him.
Hank, again, explained the rules and with an unexpected start shot started the timer to add and add seconds …
Like a herd of buffaloes, all the athletes willing to pursue our dreams went to the last bit of physical and mental energy we possessed.
The euphoria invaded me and without realizing it I was going at a higher rate than I had planned, but I was really comfortable, so I let myself go. I rode around 4:15 the km, without effort, soaking up the happiness, the festive atmosphere and especially the spirits that gave us in each round during the 400m.
I began to concentrate and look for my optimal spiritual state and after a couple of kilometers (surprisingly faster than normal) I found it. All that remained was to let go, not stop savoring every sensation I felt and learn from each lesson that the minutes and miles were giving me in this incredible experience I was living.
I started being in “trance”, this was the best news for me.
I was in a cloud, time passed quickly and the distance traveled at each moment was greater than the one I had planned for each part. I controlled it for hours and everything was going better than expected.
The first hour I only drank water and from there I started to take the supplies I had planned. It was a liquid combination of simple and complex carbohydrates adding some salt pill at some specific moments, depending on how the weather conditions were and how I was doing.
I have months / years studying my body and my feelings in detail at each moment of the race to be able to improvise at any time one option or another, I think that this is one of the great keys of an ultra distance test since no one can or should know better than yourself what you need in each moment. Even so, he had a pre-established “plan” that Mr. Fabián and I worked to the fullest (always leaving a door open to improvisation) that was working correctly.
It was a changing climate, I went from being unbearably hot because of the scorching sun that shone in the highest part of the sky, to feel quite cold, when I soaked when it sparkled or the fresh wind blew from the mountains that surrounded us … so in some sections I had to improvise according to the nutritional options available to me.
It was not very complicated in these early hours, because every 15′-20 ‘was taking the drink I had prepared, the odd date or piece of sandwich with natural honey and plenty of water.
The plan was working, I felt energetic, being able to keep the constant rhythm below 4: 17-18 without difficulties. So it took about 5 hours, everything seemed like a dream, but there is a friend …
In these ultra-distance tests at any time everything can go wrong and get uphill in a sudden and that’s what happened (maybe that’s why I’m passionate about these tests.
Everything must be precise but at the same time so variable to know how to improvise a solution that is really a physical game, of intelligence and above all psychological).
I think that during an official competition I have never experienced a “crisis” so strong, long and difficult to overcome like this one, for which I am really proud and happy about how everything was finally solved and for that reason I still give more value to what has been achieved .
After spending the 5th hour I began to feel an excruciating pain in my bladder as I could not urinate (one of my Achilles heels lately). I continued to drink in abundance and taking my supplies as normal, but everything was getting complicated. The pain of not being able to urinate was getting stronger.
I noticed how my stomach began to swell. This, in addition to the terrible discomfort, caused her to start to feel feverish and dizzy. I sweated jets at times and at other times I froze. I knew I was on the ropes, but I was also clear that I was not going to give up or throw in the towel without doing my best to try to recover.
Surrendering is not and never will be an option in my mind.
He was really pale without strength, feeling a tremendous prick in the belly and on the sides. In the eyes of concern of my parents and my grandmother I could clearly see the “gravity” of the moment.
I tried to calm down and find the solution to urinate, because there I think there was the key to solving everything, but … It was impossible! How could he do it?
The pace plummeted from 5:30 am, I could not practically run decently, I was literally doubled, fighting against this unexpected circumstance. “This will make me really hard, if I manage to overcome it, I will be invincible,” I said to myself, trying not to decay.
It was not being easy, even so I could spend the 6 hours exceeding almost 83km, more or less was planned until now. In those moments it was the least, everything was entering a really dangerous loop. [I would be lying if I said it was not hard, extremely hard but again under this circumstance I appreciated why I do this and what I really love and feel running this kind of tests.
In these moments I was only supported by the tremendous passion I feel when joining sport and solidarity and what I enjoy doing it. Through this union I try to inspire the world with my eternal smile to implant values that I believe can change the world a lot, for the better, and for a long time I decided to try to be the best example of it. I could not stop!
I did not know what to do and we called Mr. Fabián Campanini, it was perhaps one of the last jokers that I had left in this game, that of the call.
“Do not worry, it’s a crisis that is going on too long, but it will happen, to pee and everything will be solved”.
I promised to do it after 100km, until then I did not want to stop, although maybe I should have.
I held on as long as I could until the 250 laps (100km), the chip marked my official time and at that moment I stopped and walked hesitantly. It went a little from side to side, it seemed that he had a few extra drinks. Now when I remember it I find it funny, but at the time it was not so funny.
In spite of everything I was aware that I was not really in danger, or that I felt, that’s why I was not really worried about my health, my concern was simply to be able to continue in the race but enjoying it, which is what I look for in each competition I dispute
After a little conversation again with Fabián we drastically changed the nutrition we had until then and improvised some alternatives. It was an all or nothing.
I felt great impotence, because physically I was strong, stronger than ever! and the occasion did not deserve to have such an end.
The encouragement and confidence of Fabián literally revived me and his nutritional decision gave in the center of the bullseye.
All these changes, along with the eternal smile that, at every turn I saw in the face of my family made the situation began to change little by little as if by magic.
In spite of everything, at no time I doubted or stopped believing, dreaming and still trusting 100% that this would happen and I could get everything I had inside, I think this was a determining factor.
I walked 2 laps, I looked at what I had written in the palm of my hand, “I want, I can and I feel like it”. “Of course, I really like it,” I said to myself, and what a crazy possessed I shouted a “Come on!” From the depths of my soul that echoed throughout the stadium causing many of those present to observe me with a face of amazement . It was funny, I smiled.
After the 2nd lap walking I felt a wonderful desire to urinate, Blessed feeling! I stopped in some bushes outside the track and I pissed like I never had, what a pleasure and liberation!
When I saw the color of the urine I realized that I was dehydrated, I did not understand it very well but the important thing is that the worst was over, I was fully aware that from now on I would not have this problem, so nothing could stop me .
I smiled fully, I had done the hardest thing. With great joy I shouted to my family, “I’ve already pissed.”
It was funny because we celebrated it as the achievement of a great world championship won by the sprint.
I started to run as if the competition began again, radiant with happiness. We had more than 7 hours and my muscles were totally fresh, without pain, without just a hint of fatigue and best of all, my mind completely re-started, confident and willing to make history. It was the time and the day, I felt it more than ever in my heart!
From here everything happened as in a dream, the hours passed and passed while I kept repeating the same pattern of nutrition that had saved me hours ago. I kept it to the detail and tried to seek to exceed 150km at 12 o’clock.
Now or never!
As time passed and miles passed I saw it becoming more feasible. I was “flying / floating” effortlessly through the tartan under the gaze and encouragement of the hundreds and hundreds of people who crowded the track and most importantly, I was enjoying myself again and having fun as a child discovering its limits. At the tenth hour, seeing that it would exceed 150km if there were no big problems, I decided to “accelerate” and try to get the maximum possible kilometers in these 2 hours that remained.
I found myself immeasurable, feeling that this day was the day we all look for athletes and
that maybe it is rare, I had to take advantage of it and squeeze it to the fullest!
As the 11th hour passed, my mind, eternally dreamy and non-conformist, began to create another dream quickly.
What if I continue for 24 hours and try to beat my personal brand and maybe the record of Spain?
In a few minutes my mind convinced my body and my heart, how easy they are to convince!
It was like a vision, a feeling that burned in the depths of my soul and made me look terribly clear, I was sure it would be more than 260km away if I continued.
I continued a couple of kilometers while thinking and developing the new and improvised plan in my head.
Who does not risk does not win
– “What do I prepare you for what is left? I’m going to collect everything, “my father told me.
+ “Do not collect anything” I yelled. He was surprised, he did not understand anything.
I passed the 150km and there were still several minutes ahead, I accelerated and at the sound of the horn I left my piece of wood on the ground, officially had traveled 151,974km. I let myself go a few meters, I sighed, “If you do not take risks, you will have a lost soul” I thought.
The people were excited and applauded with great energy and joy, congratulating me on what I had achieved, nobody had any record of my decision to continue, but I knew that this was not over.
“Hank” congratulated me and I confessed, “I’ll continue until 24 hours.” He smiled, and slapped me on the back, “Good Luck” whispered to me and I kept going around the tartan under the beautiful dark night that fell on Stadtoldendorf.
It was 2:00 in the morning. I approached my family, “I’m very sorry, but we have to stay, I’m going to do 24 hours, I’m going to do more than 260km, I’m sure, today is the day,” I said.
My father was slow to assimilate, it was difficult to do, but there was no turning back.
“If you want, go, I’ll stay, I feel it’s the day I dreamed, I can not waste it”.
After a few minutes they were back to 100% to give everything to me. It was crazy but I remembered the words of one of the most influential people in my life, which totally changed my way of thinking, feeling and seeing life.
He is a legend of our sport, an eminence in the ultra-depth and above all a friend whom I consider my sporting father from South Africa, Johan Vd Merwe.
He always repeated me and still does when we speak; “The moment is now, the day is today, do not ever leave for later what you can get right now”.
Why would not I continue if I was with an energy that overflowed my soul and felt deep in my heart that it was the day I always dreamed of living sportingly?
We quickly decided to simplify everything to the maximum and continue with the same nutritional plan, simply adding some other solid food in small portions.
There were several interesting solid carbohydrate alternatives. Cooked potatoes, sandwiches, rice, pasta …
I decided to make sandwiches with lots of honey to alternate with drinks. This in the past had worked for me and we thought it was the most “safe” and pleasant option for me. I love honey!
Sportingly I decided to try to do more than 10km every hour, this projected some 172km,
This seemed unthinkable before we started, but at that moment I really saw it very simple, it was amazing. My mind was totally “possessed” and my legs and heart surprisingly believed them in all these “crazy” thoughts that sprang up in her. He had body and soul magically united.
On the 13th hour the sky completely closed and started to sparkle, it was something that I did not like too much because I am a runner that I develop and I feel better in dry and hot environments.
This caused me to catch some cold so I quickly put on the raincoat and tried to continue without thinking too much about this circumstance.
The saddest hours
The wind began to blow with something more intense. I saw the trees swaying in the middle of the night while many of their leaves gently fell on the wet ground.
Having less public, these were the most “sad” and quietest hours “on the track.
It seemed that everything was becoming more complicated, which undoubtedly would also make it more epic and this motivated me. In these moments is when the body tends to disconnect and relax completely.
The night is really hard if you are not able to keep alive and intact the flame of passion for what you are doing, for that reason the mind is the key to keep maintaining the “alertness” and the “commitment” for what you are taking to cape.
[When circumstances become adverse, the true character arises, the fighting and passionate gene that we carry in the deepest part of our heart, at that point there are two options; to break down or become gigantic].
This was what I thought and I continued to concentrate 100% in adding as fast as possible the 10km every hour that I had set as “micro-objective” at this time, always, looking to do it with good feelings and not exceed in the effort to not pay it later.
The clock was moving and I felt how I was getting closer to my own limits. Discovering that there was something beyond them seemed really exciting to me.
Everything was an improvised game in which, until now, I was very clear about how to move my cards. This gave me an amazing security and tranquility which made me enjoy every moment without any worries.
To my surprise, I added 10km every hour without major difficulties and I still had enough minutes left, which “I took advantage of” to avoid wasting this mattress of kilometers that I had “won”.
The “external” circumstances got very complicated at night and they became terribly complex and at times practically unbearable.
My grandmother went to rest in the van and after her departure were 4-5 hours to the limit (some of the people closest to me, you know what I mean). However, it was something that I knew could happen and that probably would happen but with my father, we became strong and we knew how to overcome ourselves in the best way possible to overcome them and …
We got it!
[This is the most intimate part of my life, and that with time you will probably know and make what I achieved proud me in an unimaginable way].
The final stretch
Sportingly and physically everything remained the same, the pace was practically the same and at all times it added 10km minimum. I did not give myself a break, I did not stop at all, except to kiss my mother in many moments of the test. I was comfortable running and dreaming of overcoming these great limits that seemed unattainable a few months ago.
When there were only 3 hours left, they showed up at the stadium … The landlords of the hostel where we were staying! (We had booked until 10 in the morning and it was about 11). The improvised change of plan had these consequences. My father asked for forgiveness and he explained everything, there was no excuse but fortunately they understood it without putting any major problems, from here I thank them with all my heart for understanding. The hostel was «Ferienhaus Am Bauernhof».
My father had to leave the track quickly to collect everything and my grandmother gave him the relief to feed me these last hours. It was very simple what I had to give myself in these last moments so there would be no problem to continue fulfilling the “plan”.
When there were a few hours left and since it would probably break the record if everything continued like this, some members of the organization came to examine my supplies in detail. They wanted to check that everything was correct, it was something surprising, I had never seen this in a competition, but in a way I liked this “seriousness”, although my grandmother was somewhat perplexed.
The minutes were running out, I had passed the 260km and there was still more than 1 hour, I had the strength to squeeze and so I did. Fabian did not stop following the race hour by hour, inculcating in my mind that he did not lower the piston, which was the day of making history and discovering my new limits. That’s how it went.
My father returned smiling and ready to give me the last push. We were euphoric, we looked in the eyes. The organization sang and celebrated effusively when I surpassed my personal mark and even more when I surpassed the Spanish national record.
Explosion of joy
The people exploded with joy and they did not stop congratulating me in the middle of the race, I was overwhelmed, I used to cry when receiving this tremendous affection and admiration. They put the Spanish anthem. It was unforgettable.
In spite of everything I had not yet finished, and seeing that I was in “good condition” I tried to raise the pace again, this made my left quadriceps stiffen, but it did not matter, I was willing to leave everything on the track. They gave me the piece of wood with the unforgettable number of my dorsal (10) and accelerated as if it were the last series of a quality session in full preparation.
It was around 4 ‘the kilometer or even below, it was amazing, the adrenaline of the end made my legs fly, float and squeeze the last meters of this dreamed and unforgettable event.
I really could not fully understand this tremendous energy, I simply let myself go as I felt the gentle breeze blowing on my face refreshing my radiant smile. It was plethoric, all the months of hard preparations had been worth it, although I am one of those who I think is always worth everything when it honestly comes from the depths of your soul indistinctly the result ….
[Very few people (even those around me can not believe it) can imagine the tremendous daily effort, discipline, perseverance and love that must be had by the ultra-background to be able to enjoy it and achieve a smile These hard tests.
I would simply define it as a lifestyle that goes beyond sports and life that we all know as “normal”. It is something that is born very within oneself, and that when you feel it, you simply have to let it out and conquer the world. And I, in it I am. It’s amazing!]
… the volunteers, my family and the incredible mass of fans that crowded the enclosure did not stop panting, clapping and shouting at me in these last seconds.
All of them, without intending it, were turning this moment into something tremendously magical, dreamy and unforgettable. I can never thank you for making me feel and discover in myself such a large amount of feelings, which I will never have enough intellect to describe.
And the result is …
The horn sounded and I left the wooden board with the 10 on the ground so that the last meters could be counted. Finally he had been champion, enhancing 273,964km.
It was right on the other side of the trail from where my family was. I closed my eyes, I opened them excitedly and I burst into tears without being able to contain myself, I was totally “broken” with joy.
I walked quietly to the other side of the track while dozens of people asked me for pictures and they hugged me, I was in shock. I could not believe anything that was happening in those moments.
I saw my family come quickly and although I had already run a lot (it’s never enough), I could not contain myself and I started to run towards them again.
It was wonderful. In the middle of the lawn inside the track we melt into an eternal embrace, of those who mark your life forever and are marked by fire in your heart. There we were, my grandmother, my mother, my father, my grandfather from the top (how I felt his tremendous energy and eternal smile!) And me. Together, excited, overflowing love and happiness.
After the relevant controls, greetings, photos and interviews for the local media, I went to where our refreshment station was and swallowed everything that was left in the baskets. Despite having devoured more than 273km surprisingly I was hungry for more, much more.
The awards ceremony was ready, I enjoyed it to the fullest, savoring every second and after its completion I took a long cold shower that tasted like glory.
I felt really good, I guess the slump would come hours later (that’s how it was), but at the moment it seemed that nothing had happened, I could not assimilate it no matter how hard I tried, my mind was not able to react, I just had a clear thought ;
“If the test had been 48 hours it would have continued, I’m sure. It was the day, the time and the place, I could not describe very well why, or perhaps analyzing everything in detail could find the reason for this feeling, but on June 17, 2018 I felt invincible “.