Deadwater . . . . unfinished business!!

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I write this blog the day after it all finished. A massive congrats to the 12 finishers of Deadwater! Gutted I could not be amongst you.

What is Deadwater?

Run by the company Beyond Marathon – Deadwater by race director Richard, this is a 6 day, multi-stage event.  You begin by running from a place called Deadwater, yep it exists on the Scottish/English border, it is an old dis-used railway station, to 1.5 miles shy of the Welsh border in Chester.  It is all of 225 miles, each day is an A to B route,  all of which are ultra-marathons. Relatively self-sufficient, you carry the majority of your kit with hot water, drinking water and tents all supplied, as are maps (GPX as well).

Copied from Beyond Marathon website

It is a race description that draws in any runner that thrives on challenge, adventure, seeing the English countryside and being surrounded by like-minded individuals who get it! We get why we put ourselves at what can be described as misery at times, you question yourself, you question whether your mind and body can take anymore and then you keep going.  Who on earth does that?  Ultra-runners!

My Experience – Albeit a brief one:
Could I be less Prepared?

Registration was on Friday 28th July 2017 in Keilder Forest at the campsite. I headed down from sunny Dundee, relatively lovely morning to get me started and I thought, “yasss this is a great start”. Easy train rides got me all the way to Hexham train station and there the comfort stopped. Enroute to Hexham train station I realised I had left practically all my rations for the week at home!!! I mean how stupid could you get?! I would normally panic in this situation but I stayed calm, how could I rectify this, what options were available to me right now?IMG_2869

Hexham was probably too small to be off any use

Google maps outdoor stores

I needed dehydrated food for 6 days and snacks for daytime.

Back to Newcastle it was, so I basically walked straight over to the other side of the station and jumped on the next train to Newcastle. I would have been in dire straights if we had not been approximately 20 mins out.  But I knew that I had until 7pm (last pick-up to the campsite) and I was there in plenty time for first pick-up.

Go Outdoors was the main store in the town centre, straight there and practically cleared them out of specific dehydrated foods, unfortunately it was a make I had never used before but it was the only viable one I had from their store. Next up I needed a Tesco or supermarket to get the rest of my snacks/food. Luckily I had brought my food lists with me and used this to whiz around the store picking up a second batch of food, I only needed minimal adjustments due to specific items being unavailable.

Can you believe I made it back to Hexham in time for the first pick-up? No me either! Owen, Patrick (a fellow OCR racer) and Ivan shared the taxi to the registration campsite.

Registration

This was the most impressive kit-check I have ever had! Is that because I haven’t done enough races of this size? I don’t know but nevertheless, Tom and Darren were thorough and checked EVERY item on the mandatory kit list and informed us waterproof trousers,

due to conditions, had been changed from optional to mandatory, as well as a second long-sleeved layer. This would prove essential in the conditions we were facing.

Then into the hut, we met Janet, we registered our names, received our trackers, ordered food for the meal at the end and received a map protector and Day 1 map.

We were the first few to arrive and register, others started to trickle in. At this point I found out that only 18 people were making the start line if they all arrived! OMG! That was scary, I love the smaller races but this scared me as it reinforced that I was likely to be on my own a lot and I am not the most confident at navigation.  I need to sort this out! But I felt better that we had trackers on constantly and would be contacted if we went off route or we could phone Rich if needed to get us back on track.

(From 45 possible entries down to what I thought was 28 in the final few weeks and is small enough as it was, it had apparently fallen further.)

I was relatively quiet at this point, just observing, taking it all in.

Again, that fear that everyone is more experienced than I, that they all sound like they’ve managed to recce the route, they have prepped better than me.  All these are simply magnified concerns and based on fear, not reality.

Jo and I headed for the females tent, getting in was like the Krypton factor, this did not change and would prove to be a huge source of amusement (it’s the small things).

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Pre-run Feast

The weather we received on this day was to prove an indicator of things to come, wet, wet, wet, winds, did I say wet? As evening came in the sun did emerge and we managed to enjoy a sliver of sunshine and a break in the clouds around mealtime.

 

 

 

Day 1 – The Forest20641397_10210530313962204_1939068621_o

Expected: 29 miles

Actual: 33.7 miles

Time taken: 7 hours 08 mins

We were ferried to the start area, where we could take the obligatory photos of the border. We then moved to the actual start line a short walk away. We had to run back along a trail that was the old Deadwater railway line to the campsite we had just left. It’s always good to hear some cheers, these came from other campers and of course the old cow bell is just brilliant!

We were following a trail sign posted by bananas – yes you really did read that correctly. How awesome and novel haha.  I was pretty pleased each time I came upon a banana excitedly announcing “there’s the banana”. (It’s definitely the small things)

We followed the lakeside for several miles, viewing some pretty awesome views to be honest but it was just too wet to pull out my mobile or my camera. They are forever consigned to my memory.

It was at a point alongside the reservoir, I saw some of the other runners going over a road crossing which seemed to contradict my direction of movement.  I backtracked until I bumped into Charl and a few others who said that I was in fact on the correct path.  Together we carried on and got directly onto the right track, each key point brought back a recollection from the race briefing. It was nice moving forward with others, I tended to be with Charl for a lot of the next section before breaking off a little.

This section was mainly track up to checkpoint 2 at 19 miles before it turned into road. We had a route change due to forestry works, which meant a long section on road, it hurt the feet and the legs.  These roads were incredibly quiet but had water running down a lot of them with the rain we were getting.  I thought I’d had my fill of weather at the West Highland Way race. Heading into Gilsland, we were getting a lift 6 miles along Hadrian Wall to the point we would have come out on the original track to cover the last 1 mile to camp. It was not far.

My aches and pains were in full flow when I reached Gilsland, it really was affecting how I was feeling about my capabilities in the race. I questioned myself and whether I had been stupid to start this race. I ached from head to toe, a lot of it featured around the niggles I had had in the West Highland Way. The pack was heavy as day 1 was fullest it was going to be and Day 4.  I was warm enough but definitely soaked through. On reflection I don’t know if this is just a rite of passage I have to endure on multi-stage events – day one aches/ adjustments to the pack, it has been the same on others.

Something to consider both from a mental and physical perspective. My lower back was covered in welts, from my bag we think – the medics were great: Jono and Sue from Trailmed.  Not just looking at what was bothering us but how to reduce the impact moving forwards for the week.

The campsite had a great drying room, this was brilliant to get our kit dried of for Day 2. I was shattered, not hungry, this could be a problem for my energy levels but I had a

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Day 1 Camp

quick kip which was miraculous in its powers! I woke up after my kip and was able to move, deep squat, move around camp = I felt great. . . .  well nearly haha.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – The Pennine Way

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Day 2 – Partial Recording

Expected: 36 miles

Actual: 37 miles

Time Taken: 11hours 28 mins

This was a tough day at the office, we knew we would be hitting the highest point of the course, the previous evening we had been told there may be a route change due to weather conditions. There was predicted thunder and lightening for the top of Cross Fell, fortunately this changed and we could stay on the designated route. It just seemed like “oh more rain – fabulous”.

We started in sunshine, it was so nice, we headed across the the fields, we hit the dreaded ‘field of cows’. After the first half of the group crossed the fields, the cows decided to thunder straight across between us. They got to the other side, great we started nervously forward but then they decided to head back, none of us wanted to get 20629991_10210530328282562_1807931261_oin the way. We got a teeny tiny bit lost but not lost haha.  Anyway, we got out of that situation, always good to be with others in this scenario. We were quickly on track, but not before I got my first warning – rolled that right ankle slightly in the field but easily ran this off.  But as in the MDS it set my nerve off for the next 15 miles or so.  It was in these stages that I realised Jo was really struggling with her knee, it looked really sore.

We were then on the cycle path all the way to Alston, we met the first checkpoint along the cycle path.  It was flat and surrounded by lovely scenery, great for distracting you.  I spoke to a lot of people along this way which was really nice after not really meeting anyone the previous day.  I was around a couple of other lads at this point but we separated into individuals as we were moving.  My nerve was still firing on all cylinders, nerve pain travelling up and down my right leg, my little ones were lumps in my shoe, I was aware they were there but that was it.  The muscles were stiffening up as I progressed but I was trying my best to stay loose. At Alston we crossed the railway line and I was again stopped and asked what wee were up to, randomly the fella had family in Glasgow, Glenrothes and the surrounding area – small world!

We were now on the Pennine Way all the way to Garrigil, this again was a lovely scenery.  The aim was to get as far as possible on this day before the weather came in. At one point I thought I had come off track, so back-tracked to the last acorn (Pennine Way symbol) but met Charl and Gaz.  I hadn’t actually gone of track, I was in the right area but with all the sheep tracks it was a case of picking the correct track to carry on.  It was nice being with the. Guys again, it always boosts the spirits. Charl can move at a cracking pace with his poles, my wee short legs had to work hard to keep up!

A good check in at checkpoint 2 for the day with Janet, Sue (medic) checking in with us all. My collarbones had started to get really sore and uncomfortable with the bag weight so I stretched off.  The medics were really good at getting you to think about what we had done previously for issues and what had worked which is important when you are tired and possibly not thinking clearly.  Charl and I headed off for the climb with Janet wishing us well and hopefully little weather on Cross Fell.

100 yards or so down the road and the rain started, that was quick.  But we had done well in terms of our progress for the day. I was keen to see Gregs Hut, Charl had described it to me the previous day and I was keen to see this fantastic place shelter from the elements. Before we even got to the shelter the weather was really coming in, we both had full waterproofs on. We were quite exposed throughout, it was windy and wet but still relatively warm.  I had my shorts on for most of this part leading up to Gregs Hut until the last little bit. We took shelter here for 5-10 mins to get out of the elements and eat something, I added another layer at this point as we were going to become more and more exposed.

If it were not for Charl I would have struggled, the path was virtually nonexistent, it was boggy and quickly your feet were soaked through, I was glad for my trail shoes choice today.  The cloud cover had come in and took away our visibility, the advice of following the cairns was impossible as you could not see the next one from the one you were at. I drove on following the shadowing of Charl disappearing in the cloud. We quickly moved over the boggy top and started heading down the other side and this is where I came a cropper – my right ankle rolled on a tuft of grass. I knew instantly this was diffferent from most of those ankle rolls that you can run off.  It hurt instantly, a sharp pain over the lateral part of my ankle.  After an instant I just kept moving, limping from one clump to another but kept having to pause due to the pain. I knew this was different but I was also aware there really wasn’t any way of the hill except on my own feet.  Charl had noticed I was struggling and stopped to wait, I have to say he was brilliant, he got me to put my ankle/ foot under a running stream and any water deep enough to cover my ankle on the way down to help keep swelling down and allow me to keep going.

As we were heading for the the masts where Richard had said he would try to get to to meet us if we needed any spare water. As we moved across Little Dun Fell and up to Great Dun Fell the cloud had periods of clearing.  It was truly amazing to be up there and see it, stunning.  20641454_10210530322642421_443257698_oWe could literally lean into the wind and not fall over, it was strong and I was struggling to walk in a straight line. Since I rolled my ankle we still had approximately 7 or so miles to go to camp, I really believe getting my ankle in the stream, and having company made the difference. I had to walk the majority of the remainder miles but we got there eventually.

I was shattered and in pain but made it which is what matters, the medics apparently thought I was looking a bit grey but I think I was just tired and sore. Everyone rallied round to help, Hayley (my tent mate) got my sleeping bag out and sorted things, Jono helped me with my pack and food and Sue had a look at my ankle. Remarkably I walked into camp not too badly despite my ankle.  I had an awful nights sleep, in fact I’m not sure you could call it sleep – I was sore, both my knee and my ankle disturbing me every time I tried to turn. The rain was hammering of the tents all night.

I woke on day 3 struggling to walk properly, Anna did her best to convince me to start the day and see.  I also met Sue and realised she was right , it wasn’t going to get any better. I didn’t want to break my body down doing this race, I was risking the rest of my year. It was the right decision, but it’s not an easy decision, it seems like giving up and I don’t give up.

I have unfinished business with Deadwater and in true Arnie style, Ill be back! This was my first race with Richard at Beyond Marathin and I would not hesitate to recommend his events based on this very short experience. The marshalls, medics and attention to detail by Richard made this race. A thought has to go to the marshalls who have the raw end of the deal with the weather, they have to stand out there while we at least are moving. Yet they never fail to stay positive, cheer you on, give you tips, ask the right questions. It makes the difference.

I feel a bit of a con even writing a blog on a def but it was truly an experience as wanted others to hear about and highly recommend. As I say at the start of this blog, it is the people you meet, like-minded people are incredibly energising by their very nature. You spend perhaps part of day, a run with these guys but they nevertheless impact on you, you have a shared experience and it is always interesting.  I always come away from these races so chuffed with who I meet, the memories created and experience.  More and more it reinforces the importance of appreciating the journey.

 

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Finish Line on Day 2 Photo Credit: Jonny Davies

Spartan Sprint Scotland

Relaxation – Post race

I have just hauled myself out of my bath, that is the most unrelaxing bath I have ever had, my neighbours must have been scared by the howling as I scrubbed my nettle stings and scrapes from this weekends adventures – OCR kisses – Hell Yeah!

Spartan Sprint

I was facing this weekend with trepidation, I didn’t really know if my body was going to let me down after having to cancel 4 races since returning from holiday with an injury.  Karen and I drove through to the Edinburgh venue wondering what faced us.  We were welcomed with rolling hills and good old Scottish summer, howling winds and a downpour, lovely!

Registration was a nightmare, again the Trumin booking system causing me issues but with that all sorted and nowhere to stand in the awful weather everyone gathered in the registration tent.  Unfortunately, the first heat was delayed for 45 minutes as the hills and race village were battered by the winds.  Thankfully, once this passed, in true Scottish tradition we were led to the start with a piper, we weren’t held here for too long which was good after all the hanging about.

We were into our first obstacle fairly quick, up and over some hay bales coated in spartan plastic – made for a bit of a slippy ascent and descent.  Then it started the long auld climbs of the magical Pentland hills.  It was still possible to run at this point, onwards and upwards, I was running with a friend today for the sprint, Jen, we kept each other in our sights.  This went on for what seemed an age and gave us a pretty good idea of how the race was going to pan out, The A-frame high on the hill was great, if alittle scary with the wind really hitting you at the top of the frame.  A fantastic down-hill, I think everyone let go alittle at this first down section.

Then a long, long, long crawl under barbed wire, this did need to be wider but was great with it being partially over a stream.  No-one else was going up the middle, so what you gonna do?  If you are wee like myself, go up the middle.  First introduction to getting wet!   Our second climb was a straight up affair, I could only run at the bottom quarter, which I berated myself for but everyone else was doing it, so as they same when in Rome. . . .

Unfortunately, a number of the obstacles had to be cancelled due to the weather as they were on top of the massive hills at the mercy of the driving rain and brutal winds.  One of the obstacles on Saturday was definitely the wind, it just pushed and pulled you in different directions constantly and when you were trying (I emphasise ‘trying’) to run downhill it was like trying to run into a wall – of wind.  One of these obstacles unfortunately, was the rope climbs, love these, a quick drink of water instead and onto another downhill section.  Do you think I could see anything, nope, the wind was watering my eyes, this did not bode well!

But I made it down in one piece, in and out of streams with varying depths, slipping and sliding on the banks of the streams, crawling under barbed wire and netting in the streams and under wooden fences, this was all about getting us wet.

It worked!!

The hercules hoist was great, 20kg for the women and 40kg kettlebells for the men, quick water stop then onto the next downhill section, which was really, waaaaay to brief.  The next uphill section was one breat big slog, of water, mud and what should have been grassy mounds.  We climbed, we climbed and we climbed, then we had to climb over a fence, now sounds simple and after all the climbing, do you know how hard it is to get your leg over?  More climbing on more solid ground before we hit the top and started another descent, oh it was heaven.  We still had a torturous sandbell carry (1 x 20lb for women, 2 x 20lbs for men) up a short but steep section, a quick pose for the camera and onwards again.

The next section was the water dip of the day, not too bad for the most part but then you hit the end and given I m a dwarf, everything disappears under your feet but thank god for the rope to pull on and your out.  Now if you know me you know I HATE water, I mean hate it, and very terrified of it haha so if I am saying it wasnt too bad, it probably isnt, onto a mud fest to get to the next 4 ditches which varied in depth and size, actually not too bad to get in and out of.

We went onto a few more obstacles, the traverse wall with a few corners thrown in to change it up which was great, I enjoyed this one, we could hear the event village, it always sounds tantilisingly close and yet it is so far.  We headed through a wooded section, in and out of a river, ducking and diving to get over and under all the tree branches and roots.  Then you emerged to the spear throw.  This has to be one of the dreaded obstacles, a burpee fest if ever there was going to be.  But I did it, with an arm pump to celebrate, given the conditions, very chuffed with myself but Jen’s spear didn’t quite make it – burpees, all 30 of them.  An 8 foot wall and a 10 footer, phew, and over the fire jump we went to finish in the top ten.  Really chuffed  with that given how tough the course was, my complete lack of  training due to injury and, and no sign of my hip injury anywhere – roaring success.  Btw the medals are epic, first piece of the pie!  Karen as always a great supporter and ready with the camera to capture some moments for myself and Jen.  I had another run through to conquer so preparation was next

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No-one gets left behind!

A few of my clients (Kimberly and Carol with my PT business, Louise’s PT 4 U) were running in the final heat of the day, I was running in support (Karen and Graeme).  OMG I was blown away!  Their determination, their approach and attitude made the day for me, as well as that of my support runners who were helping.  Carols calfs unfortunately gave her some problems from the very first hill but we broke it up and made our way to the A-frame, a quick stretch and re-group of the thoughts and we headed up what was a decidedly windy affair.  Graeme and I up either side with Carol, not one ‘can’t left her mouth – brilliant, just focus and concentration.  Kimberly zoomed up and over, it was like just another day in the hills 😉  nae bather!  Carol had just overcome something massive, our fears can truly hold us back, but with a little belief it is amazing what we can do.

Onto the barbed wire crawls, when Carol heard there was a photographer at the end, well that was it, a pause to sort the top out and make sure, you know, everything was in teh right place, nothing escaping the tops or showing too much 😉  The volunteers were awesome – giving us loads of encouragement, never really stopping just constant high spirits and encouragement.  We attacked the next hill in sections, Graeme or I would move back and forth to keep our heat levels up and we picked up someone else who was stuggling and supported them as much as we could.  Carol did great, deep breath at each pause and onwards to the next flat . . . . ish section.  The rope section had come back in play, so Graeme and I attacked them with great gusto, BOOM!  Walk in the park, Graeme flew up the rope like a true monkey, we were blown about a bit in the wind but nonethless made it.  Unfortunately the other guys didnt so we got stuck in to help with the burpees, its about team support, ‘no-one gets left behind!’.

We had more descending and climbing of the hills, then our Hercules hoist, Carol attacked this, I had no worries that she would manage this given the strength work she had been doing.  We stopped here and were supplied  with a few biscuits to get Carols energy levels back up and some water to share.

I’ve already gone through the majority of obstacles in my own account of the race above, I wanted to mention doing this run through with the guys because, you know what – this, right here is what it is all about!  Yes there are placings and those who are competitive are racing for them BUT I really believe and wholeheartedly support those who take on these races as challenges and step outside of their comfort zones.  I really think it is when we step outside of our comfort zones that we really know what we are made of, what we are capable of when things get tough.  This might be an old feeling or it may be a very new one, embrace the courage and sense of achievement it gives you!  I really love supporting and helping people around these courses or over an obstacle.  By helping others, those who struggle see that they don’t need to know someone to be helped that the true nature of spartan and these OCR races is a community, if you choose to to get involved, everyone helps one another.

Carol and Kimberly both did amazing and were able to work to their own abilities and still achieve massive goals in their own ways.  Despite wanting to hold back and stay with Carol, Kimberly was encouraged to push on to stay warm, equally important in these situations, especially given she hadnt felt great leading up to the race.

The next obstacle Carol took on was again, her own body, I think many will share her pain, the knees on the downhill sections, she winced and growled at the pain as she chose to push on, at her own pace, with determination we made progress.  At every obstacle the guys (event staff/ volunteers) were amazing, so supportive and upbeat which is just what you needed when you were tored, able to have a bit of banter to help raise spirits.  Although, Carol was doing remarkably well, at the sandbell carry, this is where we heard it, ‘I can’t’, well you can imagine my response 😉  those who know me.  With encouragement, I said, ‘sorry I think I misheard you there . .. ‘ and I had, she was simply having a tough moment.  Carol pushed on a few more steps, Karen led our way and kept feeding back how far to go and what was coming up.  The pain on the next section of the sandbell carry that Carol popped down on her backside and bumped down this steep section.  Get down anyway you can I say – great choice!

It takes true spirit, true determination and courage to keep on going, knowing how long you have been out on the course, in pain, knowing youa re the last people out on the course!  This is spartan spirit – the never give up attitude!  I’d like to say a massive thank you to Karen and Graeme, without their support and help this would have been even harder, Graeme was on true form giving loads of banter, if only some of the other runners would take him on, and Karen quietly supported with her patience and own determination, knowing what its like to find these courses hard.

In the final sections of the course, the volunteers took their support to a whole new level, cheering, encouraging, clapping and never ever allowing Carol to feel negative!  I nailed my spear throw for the second time on the day and then joined in to support the girls doing their burpees due to missing – damn those spears!  With a line of volunteers leading us to the walls, we high fived and were whooped as we headed to the last obstacle.  How immense is that – truly amazing is what I call it.  Rich, Spartan ambassador trailed us the whole way round, holding back alittle so that we didnt feel pressurised and just checking on us when he thought we were maybe having issues.

True displays of Spartan teamwork and spirit today!!  Well done everyone who raced!!  How did you get on?!

100 Mile Challenge – The Cotswolds Way – Day 3 & 4

Day 3

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!

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Day 4

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

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