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Monday, 25 April 2011

The True Meaning of Easter

The more i think about it and more i read weird books, the more i realise that actually Easter does has a particular strong symbolic meaning, but rather a different meaning from what the Church tell the 'sheep'. 

Ill keep this post short and i think ill take some time to write properly on this subject to do it justice but heres a summary of my main thoughts.

If you actually read the Bible from the perspective of a few different assumptions - i.e

1. The whole story was lifted from earlier texts -(for example Osiris rising from the dead in the Egyptian Book of the dead) 
2. This doesn't negate the message thats being given here, it just means that there may have been more than one 'Christ' , and maybe even Jesus Christ didnt exist at all as an actual single man.
3. The whole meaning in all the cases of Christs death and resurrection was basically the idea that Christ was 'reborn' - but not in the literal sense - in the sense that he became one of the initiated. i.e. he was 'reborn' with the knowledge and wisdom of the Esoteric teachers. There are accounts that say actually it was Simon, a disciple, who was crucified, not Jesus.

Then the whole Bible actually reads in a different way. Assuming the parts of the Old Testament that your local preacher will totally ignore and wont answer your questions on (like most of Genesis, especially when you ask about the Nepheliim or the Watchers - check for more info ) or the book of Enoch which was not included in the Bible because it actually talks about things that are probably scary to normal serfs.

You can see then two things

1. The Bible was written in that way in order for the not so smart man to understand it and is choc full of meanings behind meanings.

2. It totally ignores whole swathes of the real knowledge and the major mysteries. Jesus Christ would be turning in his grave if he read what crap the guys who put together the Bible left out.

No wonder he pissed off to India.

Ok more on this subject later but i welcoem any thoughts or comments

Tallinn in Spring, and random Easter blethering

An Estonian Woman, in February
Well, despite the usual death threats, here I am back in Tallinn for the spring. I think Spring is the best tme of year. Ok ok i hear you say. Its already 20 degrees in London and twats there are probabaly wearing some new metrosexual summer cardigans or somthing. And yes, it's already beach weather in Spain. But when you look out the window here, it looks crisp and beautiful. The birds are chirping and singing on the mounds of cigarette encrusted brown snow. And when you go outside, its just when the wind blows that you remember that you should have brought a hat with you.

But the most special thing about this time of year in Estonia, is that this is the time when the women begin to thaw into human beings. During winter they usually wrap up and dont laugh at my (ok ok not very funny) jokes. Or stay home whenever it goes below minus 20. But walking around now, you can a host of beautiful human beings, smiling, doing sport, even God forbid laughing. And its a fine sight, for the time being.

Now that the hell that was the Marathon Des Sables is no longer interfering with my drinking or writing, or attempts to live as a semi normal member of society, I plan to now ignore the fact i have no home for a little time more.

I have however whittled it down though to 5 semi-potentials.

1. London? Yes, good for the biz, lots of old and good freinds there, surprisingly nice weather, lots to do, and the odd interesting person to meet, but generally overpriced city with no imagination, full of self absorbed full of shit rat race twats who pretend they have a life because they drink in shoreditch once a month, or people jumping on whatever bandwagon they may find to pose as 'cool' . Idiots. Living here permanately will turn me to setting up a vigilante movement to inflict violence on a large number fo the population.

2. Glasgow. Yes, my old home, a beautiful city, and a good place and good atmosphere to be a 'creative' type, but borderline parochial and conservative for a freak like me, and my mum would want to iron my shirts every week. Its also likely a mob would lynch me at some point here in the future for my political views.

3. Buffalo - Really where i should be for the next while for the business. And cheap and bursting full of 'artists' But what the hell, id kill myself in a year in a small cold city surrounded by fat rednecks.

4. Tallinn -  Good freinds, good vibe but severe lack of inspiration and that, the sheer tininess of the city, and the fact most Estonians hate me probably has to knock this on the head as a permanant place to live (unless i of course the miracle happens that a girl actually decides to put up with my weirdness and marry me)

5. Tokyo - No reason to be here, im just thinking with my penis.

So basically the jury is out. A common theme seems to emerge connected to my general arrogance and dislike of people of non-genius IQ's here, which isnt good for my long term personal safety. But what do i care, i know what happens when you die anyway and its quite ok.

The becoming a monk for a while in Tibet and learn kung-fu still sounds good but i dont think my libido would allow that to happen - there may be some very sore goats in that monastary after a few months.

Anyway for the short time while the weather is above zero in Estonia, im going to take a cottage in the countryside, to actually focus on this book ive been writing for the last trillion years and actually get it into a publishable format. Then i can actually forget about business and become a whore to writing hard boiled cynical noir cannibal slavery Beethoven inspired fiction, based sadly enough on my own tragically dysfunctional life (except the cannibal part, thats illegal here)

Id like to say here that im fully recovered from the race now, but actually my toenail just fell off so i'd be lying. next stop Arctic Yukon Ultra ! Then I can actually have the immense fun of losing toes, not just toenails...

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Marathon Des Sables Diary, Stage 5 and 6

Stage 5 (42km)
The penultimate day was 42km which feels quite daunting after the state of most peoples bodies and feet – The race seems to break a man day by day, little by little, until you just cant fight anymore. However, although i could barely walk, because of the blisters and my being too stubborn to take painkillers, my diarrhea had gone and I had eaten well the day before, so i was fresh with energy for once, and i could run, so i did a brisk pace for the whole day, apart from the depressingly high series of craggy hills on the first leg (just to tire you out for the rest) I was surprised at my ability to be honest, but running i see now, almost too late, is the only way to do this race - walking is much harder if you're used to running, and the reason a lot of runners get blisters (walking you rub differentparts of the foot)

no water? superhot? terrain from hell? 36km still to go? no problem!

Stage 6 (17.5km)
The final day was of course the strangest. The whole trip, even at night, my heart was beating rather fast (i’m guessing it’s the adrenelin/fear) and here we were with a tiny 17.5km to the finish line of the whole race. The mood is positive as I forced down half a repulsive breakfast, then when we start up I get in behind a little Japanese nutcase who was almost sprinting, pace with him until i'm worn out, then join a pleasant Scotsman for a more sedentary jog into the one and only checkpoint. The final 7km after that, I think everyone found the energy or at least the adrenelin to run through. Just thinking of eating proper food, or washing, or having a bath, or a toilet or a coca cola was driving me straight to the line as fast as my exhausted legs would carry me. (I'll put in some photos here later, some freinds are sending them.)

The Finish Line! -  first world guys get to eat first, while Mexicans as usual starve

So here i am, in a hotel in a shabby town in a forgotten corner of the Sahara desert. Its a strange feeling afterwards, but im pretty releived its over. My feet look a mess but apart from that i feel quite ok apart from the deep tiredness.

And what did i learn from this race? Well first the only way to prepare for the Marathon De Sables is to do it. I brought all the wrong food, did a lot of the wrong training, and expected a totally different race (and result) But it does bring some of the fittest extreme sportsmen in the world (plus me) together, and speaking to these nutcases is in itself inspiring. Trying to compare myself to some of the achievements was pretty impossible...i had many a conversation along the lines of ‘ahh yeah i trained a little bit, but not much. Did the such and such Ultra the other day, you know the 150km one in the Arctic where you have to drag your sled behind you. Yeah i came 4th though i was so pissed’ type of thing, which kind of makes my 20km runs twice a week look a bit silly really.

I also learned that nutrition is THE most important thing in Ultramarathon, except maybe technique (which ive covered in other posts on ) Im 100% sure i could have jumped a leap of places if id brought calorie rich and light pot noodles, supernoodles, isotonic drink tablets, glucose, more of the liquid food (Peronin, i definitely recommend it) and a host of other tasty but calorific foods that don’t make me retch when i try to eat them. Please avoid at ALL costs ‘expedition food’ – everyone i know took it was on the verge of being sick (in fact some were unfortunately) Here is a comparison of a few food reviews.

ok so thats it for one year....more mundane and random stories after ive slept for a week.....

Friday, 15 April 2011

Marathon Des Sables Diary, Stage 4

Stage 4 (82km)
Today truly is the highway to Hell. 82km of it. This stage is what the Marathon Des Sables is all about, and what makes a man of you. Your whole race time and ending race position is really all about this day – if you are (unlike me) well fuelled you can do the full stretch without a break, and jump up 200 places at least.

As we start off,  it’s a hot morning, and getting hotter, and takes us up and down craggy hills and through sand dunes, sapping the energy ahead of the long parts to go. At lunchtime it gets to 51degrees and people start to get heatstroke. The change of the terrain and the fact i can’t run through much of it(I simply don’t have enough energy in my body because of the dairea and my food deficiency) makes my blisters worse. Going slow on these days is worse and harder than going fast as your out in this heat longer than the others. I haven’t been affected by the heat though fortunately, but as i spend 30minutes in the medical tent at sundown at checkpoint 3 (39km in) to tape together my feet (they are a bloody mess) I notice some pretty strong runners dropping from heatstroke – it’s a dangerous and even fatal business out here but they often drug themselves up to the eyeballs and carry on.

 Anyway, I get my headtorch on and set off in the dark up a rocky hill. One guy in front dropped his water bottle so i pick it up and start shouting after him. I realise he was also going the wrong direction so i chase after him and after 500m caught him, he was an old Frenchie who spoke no English, so i walked with him back to the right path as some people get a bit crazy around now. Talking of crazy guys, after some time we catch up with the only Finnish and Swedish runners. the Finn eats Lard for breakfast and foxtails for snacks. He tells me they taste like crap but i would like to try one anyway. So we run with them a fast pace until we all start to get delirious, and then in time reach the checkpoint 4 (55km). Quite lucky timing though as i started shivering uncontrollably, I think due to my body having nothing in it, so i have no choice but to force my last remaining liquid food down me (very tasty actually, my only good food option) and eat my last sausage and get myself inside my sleeping bag on my ground mat and hidden under there until my body got back to normal functioning again. It was 10pm by this time so i drifted in and out of consciousness and eventually dropped off.  This, for the first time in the race im thinking that it could all over for me. My mind and spirit are still strong but my body had finally broken down. I simply don’t have enough fuel to keep going. However, bizzarely throughout surreal and crazy dreams, at 1am i woke up again and force myself to pack up and go, otherwise i would be out of the race and would feel a total fool– but I still have almost 30km to go and have to do that before the sun got hot again – another 50+degree day could finish me off and I need to rest properly.
However, destiny had another plan.  9 km into the next set of sand dunes, and there are no more markers. It's 3am and pitch black except for the sliver in front you can see from the headtorch (the stars are beautiful in the desert if you switch it off) The light sticks that guide you every 500m had disappeared so i had to take an executive decision (it was too cold to stand still) and march (with my sleeping bag wrapped round me to keep warm) on towards a vague light ahead which i guessed from the map to be the next checkpoint. Luckily after 30mins or so a buggy comes towards me and  tells me children from a village a few km away had stolen the lightsticks but i was going pretty much the right way.

But by checkpoint 5 im frozen solid as its 5am, the coldest time of night (around freezing) so I had no choice but to lie down in my sleeping bag with the hat on for 2 hours until the sun came up and started heating the place up. The final 20km i run straight into the increasing heat, and in the same direction so i now have my left arm much darker than my right because I was slogging all morning in a straight line with the sun on my left. Finally i arrived at the finish at 12.30 – a pretty awful time but i was at least in good shape and a lot of people were behind me (18 dropped out that stage, more than any other)

  Out of my tent, 2 of the 5 dropped out here – one guy sensibly said that he’d taken painkillers and when they wore off he knew he needed to stop or injure himself badly (if only all the runners were sensible enough to do that!) and the other, the veterans champion of the 2009 race, was utterly broken and simply couldn’t walk, let alone run,poor bugger.  The day rest though was useful to rehydrate, wash for the first time, change socks and underwear (I even brought 2 pairs of both- luxury), and eat – surprisingly todays food tasted almost ok, and I was able to put down 2 full meals, rest, and get my feet bandaged together at the clinic. It turned out to be a scorcher of a day again, over 55 degrees, and the Scandinavians managed to sleep in until 6am at that checkpoint, then get properly lost in the desert, losing over 4km and coming in late afternoon, spending 2 full days completing the 82km stretch which is damn hard work (much harder than sprinting through in 9 hours, when you have limited food and energy) 

Anyway, with almost no food left, I cheerfully lounge around, forget that my feet look like theyve been mangled in industrial machinery, and fall asleep as soon as it gets dark, totally unprepared for the 42km marathon stage which start with the sunrise the next morning....

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Marathon Des Sables Diary, Stage 2 and 3

Stage 2 (38km)
Lovely morning for a run
Wake up is at 6 again. I had my eyes closed anyway, but the gloomy light tells me what i guessed, that a big sandstorm is ripping through us and me and all my kit is covered in sand. Dammit. It makes for a miserable breakfast and and we cant get a fire lit to make a hot one, so a sickness inducing cold freeze dried food has to do. The start is as before, except with the sand still blowing all around. ‘Highway to Hell’ seems more apt than ever as the run begins. 

The day however was on paper, at least, lot easier than yesterday, with 38km of relatively mixed sand, smaller dunes, rocks, and stones, but no big hills. I paced with a fellow Scot for the first 2 stages, overtaking quite a few people, until i got a bad cramp in my left calf. My muscles had run out of fuel, so probably i’d been overdoing it (and had to bear in mind my stomach issue would drain all the good stuff out of me)  I had to limp the 5km to the next checkpoint and got some electrolytes from the medic, and the cramp largely went away, so i take the rest of the day steadily and eat into the one packet of nuts i had been given by my (experienced veteran) tentmate after he looks at my meagre food supply and laughed heartily, the bastard. 

Anyway, that night I eat my shit and get a good sleep compared to the night before and feel fresh when i wake. 
Better to run the right direction though

Stage 3  (38km)
The breakfast again didn’t go down too well, but I force half of it down at least. My perfect desert Ultramarathon friend, Diarhea was still hanging with me. Today 3 was another 38km, just shy of a marathon, and a day full of the most difficult terrain you could put out there, combining dunes with steep hills, then dunes again, just in case your legs were feeling in any way fresh or you feet felt they hadn’t been beaten to a pulp enough. It was also the day before the looming 82km so it was a day to take a gentle pace and prepare for the big day ahead. I'm now realising how important nutrition is to this race – protein, salt, sugar, electrolytes, calories, carbs..i must admit, being a fish and chip eating slacker hadn’t done me a bit of good here and my nutritional knowledge is still pitifully low. The minimum required for the race was 2000Kcal a day, but i only have 1600 plus a few random (but tasty) snacks donated by other more experience runners feeling sorry for me (thanks Maichael, your snoring is forgiven). That coupled with the ongoing diarhea is eating into me and causeing a real fatigue to set in. I suppose my dwindling body fat is being used for the most part but im already thin as a mountain goat (and smellier) Fortunately i still have a little in me to burn off before it starts eating into me properly.

Late in the day i meet a girl who’d just taken 8 anadin and was high as a kite, to ease the pain, so I helped her through to the next checkpoint. Her freinds consider that she should keep taking them because otherwise she doesnt stop talking. But to be honest a chatterbox is exactly what you need in this race, to keep the boredom from setting in. Either that or a nice female bottom to follow (note to self - marry a chatty girl with a nice bottom)
I’d begun to get a few blisters here, so after the race day i pretend im some kind of Rambo and burn a knife and slice them, and pour iodine in to clean them out. It was pretty sore. There were beginning to be a number of injuries and dropouts as the first 3 days takes its toll.

I think everyone in the race gets a nervous sleep the night before day 4 (we go to sleep at 7.30-8pm here and wake at 6.)

I dreampt that all the healthy racers had decided to eat the injured ones and that i woke up to all these guys tucking into the raw human meat. I think it was connected to the fact that i was myself absolutely starving, but with no alternative but to force down inedible gunge. I took ‘expedition food’ much to the amusement of my Austrian tent mates ‘hehe the Englander has typical British food yah’ they would quip as i grimaced trying to actually eat it. The breakfast looks, smells and tasted like vomit, while the dinner looks smells and tastes like shit. I decide make ‘chicken korma’ with the crazy idea that there may be some chicken or korma resemblance in it. Again i couldn’t force half of it down before retching, and then the next morning i noticed my shit looked identical. So theres the proof. 

The ‘toilets’ consist of 8 brown bgs you are given at the start, to do your stuff in and put into special bins. But the organisers did make little shelters to at least do it behind, although the wind often still made a mockery of that. Hygene is a big issue here and i’ve been obsessively cleaning my hands with this foul smelling cleaning gel i bought, as i’m desperate for my diahrea to go away – it’s been sapping my energy and i’m concerned that considering im already undernourished then my body could have some issues here on the long day.

I wish i could say that im successfully blagging this race but im learning that hard way that you just can’t cut corners in the desert  (unless you dope yourself up with pain killers of course..)

ps my camera broke in the sandstorm so ill wait on some photos from freinds to add here

Marathon Des Sables Diary, Stage 1

So im finally back in the cold again, after blundering through the Marathon Des Sables, leaving hundreds of offended people (mostly French so they dont count) in my wake. I wrote a little diary of my escapades anyway, so what follows is the beginning...

Day 1 - 33km  
Everyone looking clean and fresh on Stage 1
Ok so, a fine start, I have a one hour penalty for not bringing a medical cert. with me, which is fair enough. We received the maps and distances for each day the night before so i was able to see that instead of (as is usual) making day 1 a gentle ‘breaking in’ day, it was now one of the most difficult days, with 13km of large sand dunes. We were woken at a freezing 6am (thanks God for Marmot Sleeping bags) by our bivouacs being taken down over us, and after my first homemade breakfast (nasty Porridge) made our way to the start line. The starting gun went off to the apt tune of AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ which was repeated every morning.

So Off we went, lambs to the slaughter, into the desert. The first 11km was pretty straightforward, mostly flat along a barren stony plateau. I was keeping up good speed, following one Spanish girl with a lovely bottom, daydreaming my marathon away, when my stomach starts rumbling and I have diahrrea. What kind of a 'worst possible case' start is that? Fortunately there was a tiny hill up ahead and i sprint behind it to let go of bowels, but this didn’t feel good and it sapped my energy for the day and i fell back a fair bit. At the checkpoint they gave me some pills for it which blocked me up for 24 hours at least. The sand dunes were enormous, and were as tough a  terrain as you could move on. Fortunately it was only 35 degrees today and though it was nigh on impossible to run them, the 13km trudge up and down fairly drained most of the runners. The big concern for the first day is to take it easy, not get injured, not overdo it, and get the hang of manageing the nutrition and water correctly, which will be key for the rest of the race. So bearing in mind my earlier diahrea, I guiltily walked the last 7km (which i should have really ran, lazy bugger) and got home feeling quite ok to be honest.
I could think of better places to get Diarhea

Dinner was more freeze dried food, which tasted of shit, but I had to force down as i don’t have another option. Fortunately I also had some beef jerky which is full of protein and helps my muscle recharge a bit ready for the next day. However, all being equal, I feel good so far (apart from the diarea and the awful food) and have no blisters yet. Since im bored after 5 minutes checking how lovely the stars are there is nothing much to do after dark in a desert full of blokes, I fall asleep at 8pm, not caring about the Austrian snoring loudly next to me.