Finish Time — 8:17:40
Average Pace — 18:59 per mile
Steps Taken — 69,460
Mantra of the Day — “Embrace your fear”
This morning I woke up to bad thoughts of not finishing today’s marathon, and worse, to thoughts of what would happen if I could not start. My left ankle was still swollen and inflamed, painful from the first step of the day. I didn’t feel much like walking down to the main house, let alone going out for another 26.2 miles around the lake.
Still, we are not here to give up so easily. At breakfast I chose my mantra of the day from Class 4’s card — “embrace your fear” — and lodged it firmly in my mind. Then I headed for Body Rehab where Maria, Tracy and Tamara did some amazing work to get me back on my feet. Against all expectations I took to the road at 8:30am, feeling that I might actually make it to the finish line.
The outward stretch to Newby Bridge was tough, but manageable. I walked the uphills and jogged the descents, trying to preserve my ankle and minimise any further damage — while also trying not to over-compensate which could cause problems elsewhere in the body. Above all I forced myself to think in terms of a 7-day strategy that would get me to Sunday’s finish line, not just today’s.
After making the turn at the foot of the lake, the ankle was starting to make its presence felt. Matt cruised past me, then Sally and Keith and the other front-runners of the main pack. It’s good to see your friends after 3 or more hours grinding it out on your own…
From mile 14 onwards the task became progressively more difficult. Although I was running certain stretches, my biggest goal was to avoid additional damage to the ankle. Not easy when you have to take thousands of steps on it to complete the course!
Aly and Mac and Andrea were incredibly supportive up this back stretch, as were the rest of my 10-in-10 friends who stopped and chatted as they came by. The weather turned nasty after Bowness, but having anticipated a long day with changeable weather, I was wearing full protective gear so managed to stay warm and dry.
After a long, long time I finally made it back to Brathay and was actually able to run most of the last two miles. With the help of the miracle workers at Body Rehab, I am hoping that I might actually begin to improve over the next few days and actually enjoy a couple of the remaining runs rather than having to endure them!
I had a lot of time today to think about why I am doing this event in the first place. So many young lives will be changed for the better by the funds we raise; and when you focus on this, it suddenly becomes easier to get through the tough moments. Then too I remembered the day’s mantra, and on more than a couple of occasions I literally put my arms out to embrace the shadows and doubts that were dragging me down, and said “No way you’re stopping me, you’re coming all the way back to Brathay with me”. Sounds weird, I know, but after a couple of bad days in an event like this, I think you get into place in your mind that is very intense and primal.
A special mention goes to Howard, who interrupts his pre-race routine to come and cheer me off at the early start (as well as scolding me to get to bed earlier!); and also to Foxy, who popped out of the bushes today at mile 24. He had finished his race, then came back to run the last couple of miles with me. True 10-in-10 spirit! His timing was perfect, I was beginning to flag even though the end was in sight. I hope that before the end of the week I will be able to repay the favour or pay it forward to someone else who needs the support.
To end on a positive note, I have now covered 104.8 miles so triple digits are in the bag, tomorrow marks the halfway point, and I still believe that I can finish this challenge!
Oh, a little challenge for Class 4 and anyone else who wants to play — see if you can guess why I have chosen today’s picture… If you think you know then leave your comment below!