Date: 25th August 08
Location: Cahorra Bassa, Mozambique
Weather: Very hot, no wind and sunny, 33°c
Status: Rach’s not well at all, looking drained, having stomach cramps and other associated nastiness. Ben’s good and feeling happy.
I woke before my alarm at 6am, one of the good things about having several early starts in a row so I decided to don my running kit and go for a good long jog. Rach also woke as I left and told me she’d had a bad nights sleep and that she’d been to the loo 11 times in the night, so I sorted her out some medication, green tea and left her to sleep.
Left the camp at just before 7am and ran the 2kms along the dirt to the tarred road, then headed left in the direction of the dam wall which we’d driven along the day before. A slight incline greeted me which went on for a good 3kms before levelling out, its amazing quite how slight they feel when you’re driving a car along them but how steep they are when you run them. But it felt good.
The scenery around the lake is simply awesome; large rock outcrops, baobab trees and steep sided valleys which caught the morning sunrise perfectly and were bathed in a warm, orange glow. The sounds are another noticeable thing, the absence of anything apart from birdsong, the odd rustle of leaves in the verges as I approached and the distant bleating of goats added to the very special feeling I got in one of my best training locations yet!
The second of the large hills I encountered went on for around 2kms and at the summit I was able to look down to the dam below. Unlike yesterday the power generation plant was at full whack and the spray being sent up by the enormous plumes of water exiting from the rear of the dam wall spiralled high into the air creating a false horizon and leaving rainbows hovering above the walls.
As I dropped down in altitude by some 500m towards the huge engineering plant which produces the electrical power I thought to myself quite how taxing the run back up the same slope would be as the sun would by then be beating down on my back as it rose in the morning sky! It felt good to be out there though putting in the effort as I try and train myself up enough to be able to take on the next few challenges.
The public aren’t allowed past the security barrier at the entrance to the dam without prior arrangement, so I stopped briefly at the guard house, had a quick chat and a slug of their ice-cold water and turned around to take on the hill which I’d just come down.
Slow, progressive, calculated running has always been my approach to long hills and this was no different. I try and avoid looking at the slope ahead and always focus on my feet, the ground beneath them, my arm movement and breathing. Not once over the 5km rise did I stop, slow or rest which makes the arrival at the summit all that more rewarding! I passed several locals all walking the same slope carrying all manner of personal belongings from one location to another…I often wonder what they must think about me as this gangly, white man runs past them with a beaming smile and a pleasant “Morning!”
The drop back down to the turn off for the dirt track which leads back to the camp was uneventful and I increased my pace as the remaining distance reduced. It also gave me time to ponder over the remaining part of the expedition, the challenges involved and ideas which are already blossoming in my head about the next fundraising challenges I’d like to take on. Watch this space as I know already that something will happen!
I arrived back in camp and by now Rach was up so did some exercises and stretches on the veranda and then had some breakfast in the hot morning sunshine.
We laid low for the morning as Rach still wasn’t feeling 100%, watched Sky news and found out just quite how well the UK had done in the Olympics….well done! Walked down to the pontoon where I unrewardingly cast a fishing rod and lure into the lake, read a book and headed back to the room for an afternoon siesta!
End of day location: Songa, Mozambique