Tuesday, 9 September 2014

When life gets in the way

As the title suggests my blogging has taken a bit of a back seat of late due to life getting in the way.
Work has been crazy, training has been time consuming and then just for laughs my lady and I have been working on the house, trying to save space and clear the clutter.

What was I doing last time?
Oh yes! It was the story of the NDW100. Lets have a quick catch up......

The weekend of the 9th August saw a bunch of folks line up at 6 in the morning to run 102 miles over extremely challenging terrain with a possible hurricane approaching.....nice!
The North Downs Way is tough.....really tough. I have covered 50 miles of it myself as my first ultra and it remains one of my favorite challenges so far. It is as hilly as it is beautiful and I remember thinking during my perfect spring day how tough it would be to do this in the rain.

I had been asked by Dennis "The Machine" if I would pace him from halfway to the finish. 52 miles of giggles? How could I resist?!
Mummysaurus had volunteered to be at the 82 mile aid station to get a feel for the "Ultra life" so it all worked out really well.
I text Dennis at 11am, 5 hours into the race knowing that he should be fine and giving him chance to settle in a bit. The text back however had me worried. He was barely at mile 24 and was already feeling sick. Not good. After my recent....shall we call it "miscalculation" at my last 50k where I over drank, this became my first question. He said he had been drinking loads but still felt thirsty. WARNING!
I told him to stay off the water for a bit and try and eat something. Its going to feel really wrong but trust me, stay off the water!
We kept up the texting for a bit but he wasn't sounding great.

Meanwhile in Gotham City.....

Mummysaurus and myself set off for Knockholt Pound (mile 50) at 2pm and arrived at 4pm right on schedule, giving Mummysaurus an hour to get to Detling (mile 82) 32 miles away to start her shift.
I was happy milling about chatting to folks I had met before at other ultras. It felt like more of a social gathering than a 102 mile race! I met up with Faye, the wife of Dennis, and we had a good natter.
We both continued to coax Dennis along with text messages as the time slowly moved on.
We clapped and cheered runners in until we got the text we were hoping to not get.
After putting up a brave fight, Dennis was done. He was a couple of miles away but was in a lot of pain and just couldn't see himself limping for the next 12+ hours to try and pick up a finish.
Fair enough!!

Plan B is it then.....

So what now? Mummysaurus was going to be at Detling till about 7:30am, its now 7:30pm.
Very kindly Faye offered to drop me off at Detling after taking the stinking carcass of Dennis back to the hotel for a hose down.
He was moving slowly but was still in good spirits despite the DNF. Sometimes you just have to chalk it up to experience and move on with a smile.
Dennis now smelling human again, we made our way to Detling, arriving at about 8:30pm. We all had a good chat and then they left to go and crash out in the hotel.

Right only 11 hours to kill then!

Mummysaurus had the duty of timekeeper....scary stuff! I mingled around with the other crew and tried to make myself useful by cheering folks in as they came over the bridge into the aid station.
There was a little road right at the bottom of the bridge which we would walk into to make sure the traffic stopped. Once people came out of the aid station we would give them instructions to the next turning...."Down the road, slight right to the pub then sharp left and you will see the tape, good luck!" I must have said that, or variations of it maybe 400 times! aaaaaaand that pretty much sums up what I did until 7:30am.
It was great to see all the familiar faces arrive at Detling still looking strong despite the rather nasty weather that was starting to creep up on us. You guys are very inspiring and well done to each of you!
We started to pack up around 7:15am but knew we had one guy left out there who had left the last aid station but hadn't made it to us yet. Time wise he was done, he would be stopped here as he wouldn't make the next cut off. I went up onto the bridge to get a better view down the road in the hope that we could spot him.
A little while later I could see him staggering badly down the road so I made my way across the bridge to walk him in. The moment I saw him I knew he was in a bad way. I tried to get him to chat but what I got back was a garbled mess. We slowly swayed over the bridge and I text Mummysaurus that I was with the last guy and we needed to get a chair ready.
Everyone clapped him into the aid station and quickly sat him down and made sure he was OK.
The paramedic arrived shortly after, give him a look over and then bundled him inside the ambulance.
Job done!
We had intended on trying to make it to watch people finish but we were both pretty shattered and Mummysaurus was getting worried about driving on that much sleep deprivation......I wasn't going to argue it was a good call!
We drove around and got lost a bit due to some flippin cycle race but eventually got home for some much needed shut eye.

Fast forward to the present day...

With Tooting 24 looming ever so close now with just 2 little weeks to go, I had some deep tissue massage on my hamstring on Saturday in the hope of working out the kinks.
The nerves haven't really started to kick in just yet but I`m sure they are in there somewhere!
I don't really have many plans in mind right now other than just give it everything I have and try and keep smiling!
Its strange how much I am actually looking forward to running around in circles for 24 mind numbing hours.
Time to get my head in the game.....I WILL last 24 hours, I will NOT be last......hopefully

Till next time, don't forget to smile! :)

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