Well as some of you might have been aware, this weekend was the "thunder Run" aka 24 hour relay race which a bunch of us took part in.
arrived at Catton park on saturday late morning, to find Penny, Martin, Katie, Kathy (and smalll boy) and a flurry of tent erecting (marquee in the case of penny) i vaguely said hello as i fell out the car holding up my trousers (which the button had popped off earlier in the day due to larger than normal gut!) and ran to the loo's.
After relieving myself i returned to the group to say hello properly. I pretended to assist for a while til katie took me to register. Picked up race number, chip and a pretty blinking good goodie bag and our "baton" (which was a rubber bracelet)Went back to tent errection area, and Lauren turned up, took her to register (somehow shirking more tent errecting duties) back and "errected" my tent - essentially letting it pop up and throwing the rain sheet loosely over the top.
Once tents were up, we lunched on Pennys yumtastic pasta, veggie combo, and she flaunted in front of us "THE MOST AMAZING LOOKING CHOC CAKE", I changed into my running kit as i was first to run (we had a slight plan of acction thanks to martin) we then went to the race briefing (all i could think of was "THE MOST AMAZING LOOKING CHOC CAKE"After briefing we popped back to tents, downed an energy drink, then headed to the start.
The gun went and the clock started counting the loooong 24 hours to the end of the race. I'd been under the impression that the route would be at worst a trail type bridal way material - ideally road , alas, off the route went, across some grassland - it'd been raining prior so was a bit damp under foot... ahem!
after maybe 400m the course went up a steep incline of muddy stone where it zigzagged steeply and continued to climb. From here it turned to mud. mud more mud. I had on my road shoes, so was slip sliding all over the shop! uppy downy, mudslide, all i was thinking was i was going to the adidas tent as soon as i got back to get me some xc shoes. the first 4k of the course was realy unpleasant, at about 3.5k i went careering down hill sideways gravity pulling me into the bushes where i grabbed a trees and branches. (this happened at the same placcce for nearly every lap!) after 4k the route was a bit nicer, thuogh still a mud pit, and my trainers were now soggy and slippping everywhere. it was all i could do to stay upright.
The route was round a horse XC course and was realyl quite interesting ut it was just very very muddy and technical it varied, from graass tracks (turned mud) to woods, hills, more mud, ditches, streams.It started throwing it down with rain half way round and when i finally made it round i was pretty wet and muddy, passed the baton to martin who set off at break necks speed (thanks julia for correcting me on that previously) i went straight tothe adidas tent where the most beautiful man i've seen said that they were loaning out xc shoes and there was an option of buying them at the end of the weekend (or not and just giving them back) so i snapped up a pair and went ack to camp.
The rain was hammering down whilst we sat in Pennys party tent (whih was bigger than my flat) i had some nesquik, and a slice of a banana and choc cake that penny had also made, oh and some of kathys cherry choc flapjack (both of which we blooming amazing!) .... where was "THE MOST AMAZING LOOKING CHOC CAKE"???
My next 2 legs were back to back, immediately the xc shoes (albeit damn ugly) helped a lot, well they kept me upright, the technicalitly of the course didnt help the speed however, got round the first lap fine, came through the timing section to see the others all cheering.
I ran back on, and as soon as i got to the first zig zaggy section ouch. The 3rd leg was pretty tough, following straight on from one previously. after passing on the baton, back to camp once more, it was getting dark now and runners wer to wear hedatorches.
I was told i coluld have an extra hour in bed before my next run as kathy was going to do a double.... sincce id just come back from one, i was going to warn against it... Had some cgrub and finally i got to taste "THE MOST AMAZING LOOKING CHOC CAKE".... and oh my god!!!!! it realyly was "THE MOST AMAZING CHOC CAKE". After telling penny how i had fallen in love with her, and gobbling down "THE MOST AMAZING CHOC CAKE" and other grub i started to settle down for a nap.... after an incident involving losing some car keys i eventually got into my sleeping bag at aronud 11pm... i was awoken at 12.30 by martin just come back from his last legs.
I said "i'm thinking of doing a triple next rather than 2 doubles""no! dont! its horrid!" hmmm..... Tried to get back to sleep but couldnt, so got up made some porridge, had a coffee and started getting sorted for my next legs, i told martin i'd ring him on my 2nd leg to see if i was up for 3 in a row.
I set off with a headtorcch on my chestnut after taking the baton from a sad looking kathy who told me she was then off to get drunk at 3.30am.
(my body likes this time of day), immediately i fell in love with the dark run, it was so exciting, i didnt see another runner for the whole lap, it was a bit ddgy in places in the slippiness but i was really enjoying myself. I set off on the 2nd lap, still feeling bouncy, the usual first few k of the course was unpleasant, and by then i'd already decided to do a 3rd lap, dwan was starting to break and the gras was layered with mist, it looked eerie but lovely. I rang martin as i got to the water station, took a couple more painkillers and arranged to see him in a ccouple of hours at the change over.
Abuot 6k in the most beautiful man from teh adiads tent was on the course running with a nother guy and we all ran together for a while, sometimes together somtimes overtaking each other, they stopped after the 2nd but i carried on like a trooper The laps were getting progressively slower as the relay went on for me, as i was acchy and tired and the mud relentless.
The 3rd leg saw sunrise and it was such a lovely sight, i took a few pics on my phone and carried on. The ground had drained considerably from the day before but it was still really sticky and slippy, i had blisters and my left achilles was beginning to hurt from the constant cambre of the hill causing my ankle to strain more.
I got back and passed on the baton, went back to camp (via the bacon butty shop) and was tired, achcy but really happy and upbeat as id really enjoyed it. a triple for me was as hard as a doble, as onccce you're out and in pain it makes little difference!
After bacon butty, i was still hungry so had a slice of banana cake, then some of "THE MOST AMAZING CHOC CAKE"..... mmmm... i just wanted to bury my face in it!! i finally had a hot shower (i stank) My 7th and final lap was the penultimate of the race, i took over from penny who sprinted through the finish, the weather was beautiful, i took the baton and tried to run, but my legs wouldnt work.... i trotted like a hackney horse for 2 km, at the speed of a sloth! every step was agony, i got to half way and my acchilles was so sore i could no longer trudge through the mud, and had to walk pretty much the whole way, when i wasnt walking i was limping like a lame dog, the lap took aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaages!!
i was running kilometers slower than i run miles! Got back and apologised to martin who took the baton and gave me a big hug. I got ack to ccamp and burst out ccrying, i dont know if it was relief, emotion, pain or what but it was done. the last leg was being run. Penny got me a cider, and i was ordered to eat a large slicce of "THE MOST AMAZING CHOC CAKE". i didnt want to appear rude and say no. i was hobbling around
Most of camp had been tidied up earlier in the day so we headed across to see the finish. Martin sprinted through the finish at 24hr00.03 (if he'd come in before he;d have had to do another lap there were rules that i'm too tired to go into)
We got our medals and went back to camp to get martin a beer and penny came out with some "buckinghams cider" - home brew, which was bloomin lovely!
might well have eaten some more cake i cant recalll.... I'm missing big chunks out but i had the best weekend with an amzing bunch of people, who have been part of what i consider my biggest running achievement to date.
The course was tough, and like nothing i've eveer run before. I thouroughly enjoyed it, and even though i ccan no longer walk, i'm really happy with how we did. everyone was well outside their comfort zone and pulled their weight to complete the whole 24 hours.
Sorry if i've missed heaps, but i'm so very tired, and i feel ive sold it short but it was really an amazing weekend. Sponsored by adidas, Party tent and "THE MOST AMAZING CHOC CAKE" xxThanks everyone for a brilliant weekend xxxx