|Team Support team talk on the start line! :-)|
|New hobby... island bagging!|
It felt like my first day at school; lots of new faces, my shiny new Montane uniform and parents there taking photos! I wondered if everyone else was confident that they'd get round, I certainly didn't expect to and was just seeing how far I'd get! The plan was to take it steady Friday and Saturday, then if I still cared about my time on Sunday, I'd press on! After the obligatory play of Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash, we were on our way, all humming along, ensuring it was stuck in our head for the next few days despite nobody knowing the words! The way of out Holyhead was clearly marked with smiling marshalls and we were soon on the scenic coastal path we would be following all the way round! After leaving Holyhead Island, the first off-piste section of the route was encountered - an estuary! I removed my running socks and trainers but not my compression socks as it seemed like too much faff and from then on the survival epic of the feet began!
|Estuary crossing fun!|
|Up on the cliffs, heading for the day 1 finish :-)|
|Start of day 2 - still keen!|
|Enjoying the views and chatting races with Andy :-)|
|Loving a bit of mud!|
|Engulfing a cheeky sandwich before the Menai Bridge|
Barry and I stuffed some food in our mouths and jogged on, knowing that the quicker we did the last leg, the more rest we'd get before the 6am start on Sunday...it was already Sunday! It was getting chilly now and I started to get a bit confused. I saw a baboons head on the floor and couldn't think of what else it was, I consulted Baz on the whereabouts of nearby zoos but he told me it was a runover hedgehog...I couldn't see it personally but knew he was definitely in a better state than me, so pushed really hard to keep up with him! I kept imagining finishing line flags, although I knew we still had a few kms to go and I kept having little dozes and waking up when my head nodded down, but somehow we were still jogging along! Barry's friend came to meet us and, after a little detour, took us to the cosy village hall. I couldn't believe we'd made it and Q gave us some delicious pasta before I curled up into my already laid out sleeping bag (thanks support team!) barely managing to take my waterproofs off before closing my eyes forever.
Sunday - 35 Miles
The pain in my feet was unbelievable! Each toenail had moved out of place and had a blister under it, some toes stuck together by the juice they were leaking and my whole foot was white and prune-like! I hobbled to the support van, where my blisters were popped and bandaged whilst I devoured cheesy pasta like it was going out of fashion! There's no way I would have made it without Father Bear and Anna! With all this help, I was still somehow unorganised (we got in about 1.30am and the start was at 6am!) and vaguely shoved some things in my rucksack...I heard the call for the start outside as I was still in the village hall, so sprinted out to chase down the pack, knowing if I was left behind then motivation would be harder! In my rush, I forgot my map! Thankfully, support grabbed it and ran along to deliver :-) Surprisingly, after 100 miles, the legs felt okay as they had been feet-limited. The team spirit of the surviving runners was great and we were treated to a wonderful beach route with views of Holyhead Island to spur us on! The coastal path then entered some fields and felt like it was going in every direction possible, then through a field with a sign 'Beware of the Bull'. I decided if a bull came charging at me, it could have me, I wouldn't even summon the energy to blink! Time for another energy gel!
|Getting the yearly beach trips done in one weekend|
|Stuffing our faces and waaay past remembering to smile for photos!|
|Mark cracks out the smile! ;-) Bit of Welsh sunburn for me. Alan managed to smile the whole way!|
Thanks to the Ring O' Fire team for such a great race! And to Father Bear and Anna, the best support team in the whole world... I'd still definitely be asleep under the table at some cafe in Beaumaris right now without them! :-)
|Father Bear likes Photoshop! The blue signs became the stuff of nightmares...just look at that evil seagull about to attack!!|
For several days, I had a recurring nightmare of running along an endless coastal path...I'm sure my legs were still shuffling along! Many toenails decided they'd had enough and ejected, along with quite a bit of foot skin! My level of optimism about running distances has reached an even higher high! The Ring of Fire song now induces extreme lethargy or excitement at random.
30th Sept: Robin Hood Half Marathon
7th Oct: The Nottingham Ultra (50km)
20th Oct: Round Rotherham (50 miles)
27th-28th Oct: The OMM! :-)