When I finally recovered and was allowed to take the moon boot off, I went for an acclimatisation run in Santiago before the event. I learned that I’d lost some of my fitness, which dropped my ego and made me more conservative in my pacing.
In hindsight, it was the best thing that could have happened to me, as I’d never done an ultramarathon before. All my training and preparation before the event led me to believe that I was going to be amazing, which was naïve. I would’ve simply started way too hard, burned out and blew up. I wouldn’t have stepped across the finish line and may have ended my running career altogether.
Slowing down helped me adapt to my surroundings and finish the race with a great time. I was in the driest desert on earth, running across salt flats and sand dunes while carrying a heavy pack, and I started at the very back of the pack. That slow start led me to flourish on day five – the longest stage of the race. I performed the best I had on the entire race, and finished first in my age group and fifth female overall.
Challenges are often gifts in disguise, and you don’t always know what they are at the time. But if you keep moving forward and keep looking for the silver lining in life, you’ll find yourself in a much better place most of the time – I've experienced this time and time again in my life.