17 September 2013

Foot infection

A long race report from Tor des Geánts is coming, but has to wait a little bit for several reasons. Firstly, it is difficult to collect your thoughts after an 118 hour adventure and summarize them into a short (and hopefully readable and interesting) story. Secondly, I have felt myself quite swollen and not myself after the race. In particular my right foot and ankle have been quite swollen. I attributed this to general stress and the numerous foot blisters I have had, but yesterday after work I suddenly developed high fever and my right leg became even more swollen and almost painful. I realized that I had developed an infection, most likely from two small wounds on the inside of my right ankle, and was started on the antibiotic Clindamycin.  I went to bed exhausted and woke up completely drenched in sweat, but without fever. Quite scary actually when you realize what could have happen without antibiotics that work.

Look at the swelling of the infected right foot and ankle

In a short summary of TDG, not replacing the race report, I note that fewer completed the race this year as there were 385/706 (55%) finishers, perhaps due to the rainy conditions the first day making everything wet and then later on in the race due to the cold nightly conditions. Also, that there was one more pass this year for most runners might have been an influencing factor. The pass was not any pass but Col Malatra, a 2925 meter high pass involving some really steep ascent, almost to the point of making use of a rope necessary. I passed this in the middle of the last night, completely exhausted with sleep deprivation, but it is still one of the highlights of the TDG as it had been one of my mantras during the long race to reach this point. Passing a col in the middle of a starry night is always beautiful as well and as it was not windy this night I could switch of the headlight and just look at the myriad of stars, rest for a moment and feel the presence of the nature around you, before starting the descent.

Col Malatra is really steep also in daylight. It was quite icy on the night I passed.
You come to love these yellow signs during TDG - one more accomplished
At that point in time I did not know that I had the most difficult part of the track in front of me, the supposedly easy and very beautiful section, as you have the whole Mont Blanc massif on your right handside, between the Rifugio Bonatti and Rifiugio Bertone mountain huts just before the descent to Courmayeur. I had however pressed myself so hard at this point, not physically as my legs actually felt really fine and I could run most of the sections, but in terms of sleep exhaustion so that I actually literary fell asleep running. That would be fine if you were on a city street where you could reach out for the nearest bench, but here I was on a single track path less than two feet wide with a cliff of probably more than 1000 meter down just a few inches on my right side. With all my capabilities I tried to wake myself up by thinking about my family and trying to create as strong emotions as possible just to keep going. In the end I succeeded and came down to the finish line in Courmayeur, but the hours around sunrise on Friday September 14, 2013 will always be at the same time one of the both scariest and most beautiful experiences in my life.

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