Day 1, Sunday 25 March 2007, 29.3km
First day at last. All the waiting planning and training is finally over. We wake up quiet early, c. 6am, and the tent is taken from over us pretty soon afterwards....
while we are still in sleeping bags, namely because it is so cold. The temperature is freezing, I’m glad I upped the fill in my sleeping bag, as I’m the only person in out tent who wasn’t too cold during the night. An additional 400g well spent!! And so begins the routine in our new regime; P20, breakfast, water collection, tape feet and get ready. By the time we move over to the start line at 8:30-9am its beginning to warm up. By lunchtime the temperature would exceed 40 oC.
The countdown finally arrives and we’re off. Everybody runs! I settled down into a happy lollop, 12 min miles maybe, and ran most of the way to CP1. Here I stopped, changed socks and set off again after a 15 minute stop. Something that would change in future days. I then walked the majority of section 2 with Rory Coleman, the man behind Ambition Events and a number of  the ‘preparation’ ultras such as the Tring-2-Town (also the ’British Bulldog’ from the various programmes on the MDS). I’m pleased I walked this section, had I not, I think I would have overheated. My heart rate is easily running up by 20 beats plus more than usual, at my training level of 80% of max, even though we’re just walking, reflecting the heat and weight of my pack. After CP2, and another sock change, I run and walk my way into the finish. Overall, six hours taken, having spent around 30 mins in the two check points. This puts me in position 567.  My aim was to finish the Mds, nothing more. However, you look at your position and can’t help but become a little competitive, seeing names of those you know just ahead. 567 out of 760, I would have to do better tomorrow!
I did feel weakened when I got back, a lack of acclimatisation perhaps. My feet are fine, and I am pleased that I have taken the effort to change socks every CP, although I do wonder if this is overkill. The MdS shoes are also performing well, I’ve not had any sand in my shoes despite compete ‘gaiter-failure’! Unfortunately, my shorts have split across the crotch, not ideal for Day 1, with no alternatives! Luckily I have a needle and thread for blister treatment, so I spend the first night (and every subsequent night!) stitching them back up again.
We eat, send messages back home from the e-mail tent and find ourselves in bed ready to sleep soon after dark. Every evening we receive our ‘post’, a print out of any messages from home. It’s amazing what a boost this becomes.

Tonight’s entertainment was laid on by Alex, who injected her blisters with iodine, one of the great ways to self-treat blisters; one up from my personal favourite of threading an iodine soaked length of cotton through the blister. There is no doubting Alex’s bravery, I couldn’t take that much pain, see the photo page for details!!
We got our first taste of a proper sandstorm last night, which seemed to pick up around midnight. The tents are basically sacks stitched together which are held up by sticks, open on one side, as per the photos. We struggled to keep the tent up for about an hour, but were getting basically nowhere. Eying the e-mail tent with a pang of jealousy, Jason came up with the bright idea of moving in. What a great idea! This was positively palatial in comparison and much more secure. The only downside to this was being evicted even early than usual, as the empty admin tents are the first to go.