9 days prior to the Ultra I had 4 teeth removed. An hour in the chair and numerous injections left me sore. No running was ordered for a few days and I thought this would work well with a taper assuming 9 days was more than long enough to get over things! I might have been too optimistic on this. I was taking pain killers all week and knew I needed to come off these for the Ultra, carb loading was tricky, in fact eating was tricky. I never doubted I would get to the start line, but did fear things would not go so well.
Hubby dropped me off at the start for 9 am. I met 4 other club members doing the 50k, a surprise for them, I knew they were doing it, however they had not got a clue that I planned on doing it also! An Ultra by stealth it has since become known as! As I stood waiting for 9:30 I looked around and really wondered what the **** I was doing there. There was 100 marathon club t-shirts, iron man tattoos, finally toned athletic bodies everywhere and me with my handkerchief tucked in to my bra strap! Too late to run for the hills but tempting.
Then we were off. The first few miles were very warm, it was very humid. I ran on my own for the first 6 miles, plodding along happy in my own company taking in the countryside. Having taken a wrong turn in the week during the clubs 1.5 mile woodland relay the chances of me running an extended 50k was strong, but one I wanted to avoid obviously. Checkpoint 1 came up at mile 9. I had a small drink and headed off. For me stopping for any length of time was not an option, my body does not cope well with stop start. Wrong turn part one came up soon after, this might have turned in to a short cut, thankfully someone got us back on the correct route. I soon learnt not to just follow those in front but to check for signage myself, runners following me soon learnt the same lesson. Thank goodness for a man with a whistle who kept setting us straight!
Checkpoint 2 was at mile 15 right outside a church. Quick drink, handful of haribo and off. Things were going well. I was having fun, what’s not to like about a run on the footpaths and countryside of Britain? Mile 20 my water had run out. I knew it was three miles to next checkpoint, I thought I would be fine. Then I hit the wall, head on, full force at the bottom of a mountainous hill. I have never felt so ill before on a run, I could not decide if I was going to be sick or pass out. Then angels appeared at my side. Despite me thinking I had hidden my struggling so well, they knew I was not coping well and walked with me up that hill.
Once at the top Checkpoint 3 (23 miles) came in to view through the mist. COKE! The answer to my prayers. Coke and cake and a re fill of my hydration pack and I was off again. The wall was conquered. I ran with my angels then for quite a while, across the fields, walking up the hills, through a wedding venue, eyes peeled for tape, on we plodded.
Checkpoint 4 was at mile 28 right by a main road. More coke, some pretzels to go and I was off leaving my angels to fuel. Not far now Shaz you can do this, you are going to do this, I think this might have been spoken out loud.
You know what, I did make it, I got to the end of 50K, in one piece.
What an experience. Just under 6.5 hours on my feet, those hours and miles flew by. I think because I was running on my own, other runners befriended me and helped pass the miles by chatting to me. The comradeship in this event was like in no other I have done before and if they are all like this I might have to do more!
Great course, lovely countryside, scrummy checkpoint offerings, encouraging volunteers, masses of course marking (although you have to keep your eyes peeled and maybe stop yakking!) oh and the most amazing medal!