Loona Järvloo covered 250 kilometers in five days
UltraX Jordan | Loona JärvlooWords & Images: Loona Järvloo
There are many ways to test yourself.. One option is to run 250 kilometers in five days through the Jordanian desert. It was this option that 32-year-old Estonian Loona Järvloo used to push her limits and take out second female at the recent @ultraxco Jordan event.
Battling mental and physical fatigue, the natural elements and even scorpions, Loona was able to overcome all the challenges the race through at her...
"I’m still taking it all in and will write longer posts soon. My goal was to try to finish it and enjoy the experience and the environment around me as much as possible. I was not checking my rankings after every race and rather focused running at my own pace and just seeing every day what my body is capable of. There was a lot of running into unknown, learning a lot about yourself, a lot of self talk and all kinds of different pain (that I did not know even exists) but also enjoyment of finding out that you might be stronger than you think you are.
Sleeping & camping
There were big open tents. You shared it with 15 other people. There were no showers. Most nights I got on average 2-3 hours of sleep. My muscles were hurting so badly that I just couldn’t fall asleep. The only night when I slept about 4 hours was after day 3 when I ran 10 hours during the day and we slept under the stars with no tents - which was pretty magical experience! The only worry was the scorpions but at that point I didn’t even care too much about that either.
You need to bring your own food for the whole week. You only get hot water so you need to eat ready made dry food. Eating food and getting enough calories in with that heat was one of the hardest things for many runners. I have never eaten that much in my entire life. While running, I was eating every 30min. One of my “highlights” was waiting in a queue for the medics who were getting runners blisters and feet “sorted” and eating my breakfast.
It was on average around 33+ degrees. Some days it was hotter than “usual” and the organisers added more water stops. The trails were a mix of “runnable” sand and a lot of soft sand and dunes. It was all much more hilly than I expected. Sometimes it was just like about 20KM uphill climbing. First day my heart rate was off the roof and I thought there is no way I can run like this for 5 days. Most runners were very fast on a first day but I was taking it very slow and just trying to understand if my body is even capable of running in the desert. The blisters were just brutal. I had some serious low points. Crying, forcing myself to eat and just try to keep on going. But in general I tried to keep positive mindset which is why I think I survived the whole thing.
The right gear was a key. For shoes, I had special gaiters fitted which helped to prevent sand to get in. There was a lot of soft sand running. And I was running with a Fractel LEGIONNAIRE hat which has UPF+50 panels all over and laser-cut ventilation for extra breathability. The underbill of my hat was dark which is important because it helps to reduce the glare in the desert."
Keep up to data with Loona and her adventures via Instagram here