Spoiler: For those who want to just know the result - yes I got to the end and I was the 3rd woman.
For those who want to read this tyre-some story to find out how much damage I did, here it is....
- according to Merriam-Webster: is the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest
- according to Wikipedia: is an emotional state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do, and not interested in their surroundings
The longer the distance, the more determination I believe long distance runners must have in order to stave off one's own mind games and boredom. Boredom is an emotion that can manifest during training and during the event itself, causing CBB (Can't Be Bothered) syndrome and apathy. After all, training to run long distances takes large amounts of time and non-running "stuff" happening in one's daily lives can either be resolved in one's head or serve as a distraction and become a complete obstacle. I know at times I wanted to be sorting out a problem rather than running for another 5 hours. In fact being injured was a perfect excuse for sorting out my non-running "stuff" without me feeling guilty about not running.Though at the same time, I recognised that without achieving enough long runs, a 100 mile run can potentially cause damage.
I started off with ambivalent feelings. I knew I could complete a 100 mile event with a run/walk strategy, especially without the resistance of my tyre buddy and despite having only completed 40 miles as my longest event. However, having had a 4 week lay-off (which was good as I could focus on completing "stuff"), the real challenge would be on how I could complete the event with minimal damage.
0-10 Miles: CP1: Too Fast
Within the first 10 miles, my head told my body it did not feel like running today, however the mind was distracted by other runners chatting to me. The first 10 miles was in 1:45 and Rory (RD) told the group of us to slow it down or risk burning out later on. Prior to the event, I had planned to complete each 10 miles (CPs were every 10 miles) within 2:30-3:00 hours.
(Mundane reminder: Ate a couple of sweets + refilled with water at CP1)
10-20 Miles: CP2: Schizophrenic Moments
As a a novice at this distance, I listened and went into tyre dragging mode. The group of runners I was with were more experienced and carried on at a faster pace than myself. Without their chattering distractions, I began to struggle with myself. The anti-histamine had certainly worked to keep the itch at bay however has sleepy side effects (yes even the non-drowsy pills make me drowsy). I normally take 1/2 of one but early paranoia made me take a whole one.
Neg mind: I'm tired, I want to go to sleep.
Pos mind: Just keep going, I said I'd run for the church.
Neg mind: But the body doesn't really feel like running.
Pos mind: Well we'll walk up hills like everyone else and run down them.
Neg mind: A bed would be far more preferably
Pos mind: You can have one at the end
.....and I began to sing a power ballard to distract myself (sing - 'cos I don't like ear plugs in my ears)
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When I wake up, I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be some miles right down the road
When I go out, I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be at check point two...
'cos I can walk 100 miles and I can run some more of that...yeah...
ahhhh....Sing it out Proclaimers......the readers want to hear the right words!
So I walked/jogged up hills and ran back down them. However I missed my tyre and couldn't quite get my step right down the hills. The tyre keeps my posture more upright going down a hill, allowing me to comfortably fly down them.....more on that later.
(Mundane reminder: Ate some cereal bars during this leg + chocolate + refilled with 1/4 coke + 3/4 water at CP2)
20-30 Miles: CP3: Spiritual Moments
Leaving CP2, and still not quite getting the downhill posture correct, meant I pushed on one leg and landed slightly ahead with the other leg on the downhill portions. A slight knee discomfort was beginning to establish itself. I knew it was not good to have and needed to change the way I stepped. I walked on the downhill. Very quickly CBB was invading my thoughts.
Neg mind: I'm tired, I want to go to sleep, maybe my back feels a little tight, my feet feel hot and the bunions are feeling a little sore. Perhaps you should stop, after all this is a training run and you could damage yourself.
Pos mind: You're rather whiney. I don't want to let the church down and I can take it gently. So go away.
Gosh I'm talking to myself and I'm feeling a little bored.
Neg mind: Well that is going to be a problem because you've only got yourself to entertain yourself!
Pos mind: So be it....
I tuned in to the rhythm of my run and last Sunday's poem from the sermon played in my head
"Make way make way for the King is near,
Make way make way for the King is here"
Looped that round in my head, sang a couple of songs of praise and soon was able to lift myself out of CBB mode, shifting gear into a slow jog.
A participant (Oscar) came up behind and was soon breathing down my back. Thought I would play with him and picked up a little more speed. He kicked a little harder and soon we had propelled each other over 3 miles to CP3.
Oscar: I'll be glad if I can make it to 70 miles as I'll have friends there.
Me: Don't worry, I'll make sure you get there. I'll make sure you go all the way!
I'll make sure he'll get there?! A bold statement from me, as he had already picked up on my pace and would surely leave me in the dust on the next leg. He laughed and said that would be great. I laughed too, but was getting anxious as Oscar did not seem in any hurry to leave, as he relaxed drinking a can of pop and began to take off his shoes and socks to address his legs.
Me: Okay I've got to move, but I will see you soon out later on.
Oscar: I don't blame you. I've got to faff. I'll see you soon.
I don't like hanging around in the early stages of an event. My preference is to have the psychological knowledge of having time in the bag to use later on if I had to.
(Mundane reminder: Ate sausage rolls + chocolate bars + refilled on more watery coke at CP3)
Departing from CP3, the hills were really bothering my right knee. My tight, right ITB told me it had been working hard for me which meant that my running posture was out of alignment. I walked, trying to correct myself on the move. When I ran a sharp pain radiated over the knee. I was concerned about screwing up the knee if I couldn't figure out how to correct myself on the move but I was also concerned about the ticking of the clock. Thus, about 35 miles, I put an ankle support band around my knee. This caused a slightly bent knee, and helped improve my pull on my right leg. I could now run
down hills without pain. (On hindsight I should have stopped and done some corrective reps to help improve my proprioperception
of how I should be running)
seemed to be renewed. I was soon slow jogging up hills and running down them,
enjoying running in the rain. A deer casually strolled out in front of me and then surprised that I was almost within touching distance dashed back into the bushes. Brushes with nature always brings a smile to me.
Oscar caught up with me a mile to go before CP4. He had a long faff and rest at CP3 which appeared to allow him to move more quickly between CPs. It seemed a good strategy. I asked him about his knee (as it had a knee support), which he said was feeling strong.
I needed to have a nature call but first decided to check in.
At CP4, the rain had stopped where we met Alan, our marshal and an experienced ultra runner. We learned that 9 runners had now dropped out due to burning out and somehow we got to shark stories. Alan told us stories about running a number of ultras with a fractured hip and had run through his pain. The only reason how he knew he had a fractured hip was because on this event last year, he had to DNF at mile 60 as he had begun to urinate blood and then was kept on an intravenous drip for 2 weeks with kidney failure. This is the second time I've heard of this. The first being from Eddie Izzard's aborted attempt of 25 consecutive marathon this year.
Here are some stories and information I have found about kidney failure and ultra running: http://www.ultrarunning.com/ultra/9/9_1/running-rhabdomyolosis-an.shtml and http://www.lehigh.edu/~dmd1/kidney.html
Again Oscar raised some doubts about completing and again I told him I would get him there. Oscar had also only completed a 40 mile event as his longest event and humbly said that if he got to mile 70 he would be happy as he would have friends waiting for him. He had a goal....and so if he got to mile 70, he might as well complete the event.
I tried to relax a little longer at this checkpoint, however Oscar was only getting started on his legs after our 10 minute chat with the marshal. I had to get going for my nature call and told him I had to move and that I hoped to see him earlier over this next distance. Oscar confirmed he would see me sooner!
(Mundane reminder: Ate sausage rolls + refilled on more watery coke at CP3)
Approximately, 200 metres down the road from CP4, my first "nature call' after over 9 hours on the road appeared to show
extreme dehydration. I had rarely finished my bottle of 750ml before each CP. I did not want to return to the CP4 as it was uphill so I continued towards CP5 taking much more regular sips of fluid.
2 miles on from CP4, I met a man walking his dog, who kindly offered to refill my bottle of water with fresh water as his house was literally on the corner of the route. He apologised for not knowing it was the ultra 100 as he normally supports it every year. Grateful and thankful to him and God, I asked him to look out for Oscar who could possibly be about 1/2 an hour behind me depending on the time he took at the CP. However it was the twilight hours at about 10pm in the evening.
I took my time to ascertain the correct direction and began to enjoy the challenge of simply finding the stickers. I work best at night, perhaps a left over from my student days of toiling on write ups and essays through the quiet solitude of the night.
As I approached CP5 at midnight, still no Oscar. Gut feeling told me he was getting lost and I again had a flush of guilt. Rory and Jen (RDs) manned CP5 and as I downed 2 bottles of water. Rory advised me to eat salt, so I consumed 2 packets of crisps with a couple of jam sandwiches. Rory was a little perplexed as he had received countless calls from Oscar for directions. I apologised for leaving him and said I would wait for him at this CP. I changed over to sandals as the bunions on my feet were sore in the shoes. The feet thanked me.
Oscar: Can't see anything with this light. Was missing the signs and got lost.
Me: Yeah been waiting for you as my head torch is okay.
Rory: Yes, as TG is a girl by herself, it is dark and it would be great if you could keep her company.
Oscar: Ok, understand.
I looked at Rory and accepted if that is what man needs to justify a girl accompanying him, that was okay by me!
Injuries are coming up and we are both hobbling, however, work is beckoning. More later if you want to continue following my tale of 100.