Four days, 100 miles through the Cotswolds, I could do that I thought many months ago as I sat with the iPad on my lap looking at the website for The 100 Mile Run, nice few days away in the summer, it would be great, so I booked it! A friend saw my post about it and we changed the entry to a pair and Kasia and I were signed up for a nice running break.
Now 2 days after the event my legs are in bits, have a dodgy ankle but as a good friend often tells me 'pain is temporary, pride is forever' (thanks Simon)
So let me tell you about the event, we travelled to Chipping Campden in glorious sunshine, I sat on the train thinking 'please don't be this hot tomorrow!'
The hotel was good, we laughed at the double bed but managed to separate it into two singles lol!! Nice meal and an early night ready for day 1.
Ok so it didn't start well, woke up with a blinding headache and felt very sick, managed coffee and a few cornflakes, painkillers and laid on the bed dozing a bit. Soon it was time to register, was feeling better and once at the registration, excitement kicked in, was still a bit hot for my liking.
The event began at 12 once everyone had arrived from Bath and all too soon we were heading off for our first day of 17 miles, nice climb out of Chipping Campden and into beautiful countryside, we ran/walked, no hurry, no pressure. Found it difficult to get into a good running rhythm but we plodded along and had the lovely surprise of day one only being 16 miles, soon we were at the campsite, showered, nice dinner and early night ready for day 2, was woken in the night by torrential rain but otherwise the tent was cosy enough!!!
Woke to glorious sunshine, slightly cooler, so after a breakfast of porridge and toast we were ready to tackle day 2!
This was by far the toughest terrain, hills, hills and more hills (note to my Colchester Park Run friends - that isn't a hill ha ha ha!!!) From about mile one I had a pain in the side of my thigh so another day of run walking, the medics were great, ice packs at checkpoints and a promise of being able to jump the queue to see the Physio and I plodded onwards (poor Kasia could have been miles ahead but kept with me until we were nearing the end) the scenery again was stunning, the other runners were great and although my running was pretty rubbish I was having a great time, the stresses of the previous weeks were disappearing and I was having fun! Was missing my kids, Ian and the puppy but enjoying the countryside and the feeling of pushing your body to it's max. Day 2 turned out to be 29 miles and I was so pleased to finally reach the campsite, thanks to Russell for the company and route finding in those final miles. I nearly laughed hysterically as I crossed the finish line and was told archery had just started if I'd like to have a go!!! I declined and had an ice bath and a massage, was glad to be told the pain in my thigh was tight IT band and after a good massage it felt a lot better, hopefully day 3 would see me doing some better running!
I was happier today, leg felt better and it was a little breezy and raining much better running conditions. All through day 2 I had craved milkshake, and not long into day 3 we passed though a village with a shop, that was the best milkshake ever!! Today we were running about 25 miles, I didn't run it all but it was my best running day of the event, it was still slow, I still moaned at every hill especially the one just before Dursley (it was so steep) but I was happy in myself, and thoroughly enjoying the event. Another massage at the end of the run and I was ready for the big push for the final day. I had dry trainers in my bag, running kit was ready I could do the final 33 miles on the last day!! One thing that made me smile today was the half way stone, on one side Bath 55 miles on the other side Chipping Campden 47 miles, how is that half way ha ha!!
It had rained all night! But was dry when we set off at 7am, Kasia and I had already agreed to split up if need be, she was still going strong and could finish the day a lot quicker than me so about 3 miles in a quick hug and she was off ( thanks Kasia for all of you support and encouragement) I plodded on running a bit and walking a bit and when I got to checkpoint 1 I was told Kasia was only a few minutes in front. I was feeling ok, I topped up my water had my now favourite running food of a banana and a mars bar and off I went! Had only gone another mile when I had a sharp pain in the top of my ankle, this continued for mile after mile, I took some pain killers and hobbled onto the next checkpoint, Andy the medic was lurking on a road 2 miles from the next checkpoint and offered me a lift! I declined but accepted some tubigrip and carried on. I hobbled into the next checkpoint and the other medics Simon and Simon (we were introduced to the medics at the beginning of the event as Andy and the Simons, made me smile, sounded like a boy band!) we're waiting. They were brave enough to examine my ankle, my feet weren't pretty by this stage! Probably soft tissue damage they said, but stress fracture was mentioned, so half hour break with an ice pack and did I want a lift to the end? Again I declined, I was given a cup of tea and a pain au chocolat (was amazing!!!) took more pain killers and off I went. I staggered through torrential rain, I laughed, I talked to cows and horses, I swore at gates and one stage as I was nearing Bath and again the heavens opened I wanted to sit and cry I could see Bath but it just wasn't getting any closer. I plodded onwards and then the whole thing became hysterically funny, I was about to enter a beautiful city full of tourists and there I was soaked through to my knickers, looking like a drowned rat, I laughed and laughed and found the energy to p,lid those last few miles to Bath Abbey! Seeing that finish line was awesome, photo taken, medal given. I just wanted to cry!! I had done it 102 miles over 12000ft of ascent, various aches and pains but I did it!
So a final note of thanks to everyone, fellow runners, especially Kasia, the team, the medics, the physio, you were all awesome. Would I do it again, Hell Yeah course I would.