It has been a while since I have been posting to my blog, simply because life, work, training all took over. So the final installment of my 100 Mile Challenge, my big charity run is now here. I have chosen to combine the last 2 days for reasons which will become apparent. . . . .
We woke on day 3 to what can only be described as torrential rain, a continuation of the weather we had run to our tents to sleep in. I opened my eyes to the calming sound of rain bouncing of my tent but un-nervingly it was also causing my lining of my tent to stick to the outside sheet. It was a case of pile on a load of clothes and run for breakfast.
At breakfast it was really quite inspiring to see so many folks brushing off the difficulties they had faced the previous day after hearing the stories told by Jamie McDonald(http://jamiemcdonald.org/). Check out his website, pretty awesome guy! I was not one of these people, a tired head maybe, I was sore, aching, hobbling when I walked. Lots of us were trying to get out early envisaging it being another awful day but purely due to the weather we were about to face. The storm had finally found us!
The staff as always were incredibly helpful and cheery despite the weather. I headed off at a weary pace while I could move well and actually felt like I found my rhythm quickly and it was back onto the trail. We ran through a wooded area and onto a golf course, it actually felt at oints like you were running through a river, massive puddles, golfers with their huge brollies. The rain was simply drumming down and I had to really pay attention as I felt it was difficult to work out your direction as the markers seemed few and far.
At some point the rain eased and it felt very mild, soaked through I began to enjoy myself, the cooling effect of the rain had really worked for me. I clearly needed to get used to running in the mild heat. Now this day I remmeber vividly because, well, I had to deal with the delicate matter of needing the toilet . Of course I was, as mentioned soaked to the skin. Now we all know there is nothing worse than hauling doon wet knickers for a piddle in the underbrush, actually praying, YES, I was praying that no-one would appear on the path from either end as they would have a clear view of me in all my glory! NOT a pretty sight I have to tell you. Not only that I managed to sting my arse on the nettles, aye not the best. It was a now or never moment but on the other hand there was never going to be a never moment.
This day by far felt and was the shortest, I arrived at the camp along with several others ahead of the expected time. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed day 3 way more, I think because of the coolness of the day and the weather, true scots.
I felt alot better after my run today, my legs had eased, it felt good, yes I ached but who wouldn’t after taking on this. But I was tired, all through my run I had gone over and over the order I would do things when I got into camp. Then I would re-think it, and again, and again. It changed as soon as I arrived in camp for numerous reasons outside of my control and the best way forward? Sleep!
Day 4 was a strange day with the weather going on and off all day, now I mean ALL day! I would leave each checkpoint dry and become soaked. I started the day talking to myself over and over, giving myself a pep talk. I had packed my bag, unpacked, re-packed it and repeat. This was the longest day but also our final day.
There was a slight deviation to the route, this was fine, my mantra today was – ‘Do not get lost, do not get lost’. In fact I had several, ‘keep going Louise’, everytime I passed an acorn, for some reason unknown to myself, ‘Carry on sir’ with a chuckle to myself. Its the little things that keep us going. For alot of today I would be on my own, with groups of folks in front or behind me to some degree. Again, some incredible scenery, along the way. I passed sections with telephone wires overhead, I swear they sounded like sizzling bacon! I had a few dodgy moments on day 4, a few wobblers, I had to steady myself.
In fact coming up toward the half way checkpoint, I believe I lost myself for a period, almost got myself run over but I was still going. Not intentional of course, it was a really bad section of road where cars flew round the corner, one minute clear, the next not. It was a bad period in the run. My head went down for a while, a long while it seemed. I was working on, for example, checkpoint 1 out of 4, then 2 out of 4 = half way. There was also a very long section I had to count down the miles on that section also. I had to keep it in my head so that I was always, where feasible, I was making progress and winning. It was tough, reall tough, I began to start hurting. And then . . . . . .
I came to the bottom of a field and looked up, I couldn’t see another post but I could see loads and loads of cows! All paths led to the cows, so off I went, only to find they were all hanging about at my next gate, hahah. This cheered me up no end, while we eye-balled each other wondering who was moving. Well I decided I wasnt spending all day witing and no one was appearing behind me to save me, damsel in distress style.
This has to be one of my greatest feats to date. To be able to push my own boundaries and combine this with raising funds for a local charity which is using physical activity to help their users is simply an amazing feeling! I dont want to give too much away for those doing this in the future. But without doubt I would highly recommend it! As a runner I found it diffiuclt to adjust my mindset from a competitive one, but there was great banter from staff and fellow runners alike. However, it is alittle dangerous – major discussion point is other races.
I had to dig deep to do this and complete my chosen task, remembering that so many people believed in me, they had sponsored me to complete this. The more I focused on this the more determination and grit I was able to take from it and keep pushing. Have alook at my pictures, pop any comments or questions below and Ill get back to as many as I can.
Finally, I would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to every single person who sponsored me, who text me and motivated me and encouraged me. For my feel good package I recieved on my return because I was full of the cold from day 3, simply to everyone who took the time to support and help me in any way. I cant say how much I appreciate it.