Cold night air nestles against my exposed face. Click. Cone of bright white light projected by the headlamp cuts through ink-dark night and reveals breath condensing into swirling column of steam. Managed to check the watch, 15 minutes to 1am, Sunday August 17th, 2014. Time to unzip protective shell, get out and warm up for another run. I have done almost 30km in three slots since the race started yesterday morning and there are 3 of same distance for me to go. Together with other 5 runners in our team we should cover 345km in less than 30 hours.
The idea of changing into running gear is not exciting at all. The distance is not a problem. Or not the only problem, I should say. It is more combination of being constantly moving since I woke up at 6am yesterday, lack of sleep, dehydration, messed up food intake, heat of August day and chill of August night, repetitive runs - at odd hours, mental awareness running and navigating through unknown terrain resulting in sensory overload and fatigue, etc.
Slept for not even 45 minutes. Once received relay chip from one of the team mates, all discomfort evaporates quickly. Only the headlamp, stopwatch and the brain cross-checking memorized map against the landscape and the checkpoints. For fifty minutes or so, I’ll become just a tiny red flashlight in the darkness.