If you think you are tired, think again… it can only get worse. Sleep is an interesting thing. You can barely stay awake, your eyelids close with every step you take, every paddle stroke. You close your eyes and sleep a few minutes without stopping. And then after a few days you get into T.A. Drop your backpack and all of a sudden you feel so light, you take your shoes off and it’s party time. You know you need to sleep, it’s only a few hours until you need to pack up and go again but it feels so good to chat with the volunteers, drink something warm, warm your wet and stinky feet by the fire. You take your socks off and hold your breath waiting for the worst, and count your toes and nails.
I somehow lost a few hours when we got off the glacier. I am 100% sure I stayed awake since we walked on a dirt road. If you can sleep with your eyes open, that’s probably what happened. I had a bottle with warm tea in my hand and suddenly the tea felt cold and I asked how long we had walked. Over an hour. And I turned around and realized that I had no idea where I was. At the same time I saw a big group of deer dancing on the side of the road and a black bear waving. That road was of course empty but that’s how I realized I was hallucinating. And it kept going. I saw animals, TV screens and houses. The first time was after 20 something hours on the glacier. I saw a group of big houses and a big playground. And I was looking for the helicopter because it would be impossible to get there by car. And when I told Eric about the nice looking houses he just nodded and said that he saw them too… liar. I laugh a little bit and feel really stupid but at the same time I think I am so right and I am a bit sad that they can’t see it.
Napping is great. Sitting on a tree stump, laying down on rocks, standing and leaning on your poles, floating in the pack raft… everything works. A rescue blanket on and it feels like the Four Seasons. I used a lot of blankets. As soon as I stopped someone wrapped me up knowing that I would be a big problem if I got cold again. 10 minutes felt like 8 hours. And when you finally get in to a TA, get some of your wet clothes off, get your sleeping bag out and lay down on the asphalt or the gravel, it takes less than 20 seconds and you are out.
Sleep got a bit more complicated after the race. Exhausted the first short night in a too hot hotel room, woke up like the Michelin man. Swollen. Could barely open my eyes and legs, feet, arms, hands, etc. were double sized. Flew back the second night and thought I would get a good night sleep on the plane but stayed awake the whole flight. And then, finally home. And the nightmares started. I woke up staring out the window at the mountaintops (our neighbors’ house) and couldn’t find a way to get down from the glacier. Steep climbs, lots of ice and no shoes. And all my gear was gone. The rope was tied wrong. Sweaty and breathing really hard, impossible to sleep. And I woke up coughing, not able to breathe, under water. And it goes on… I wake up every night looking for my shoes… I am really looking forward to a good night’s sleep. And a long, slow run with dry shoes.