When entering this race the only real aim I had was to finish it and get over 62 miles. 62 miles is the longest I have ever ran. The last time I attempted to go over 62 miles in a 24 race it ended in disaster and never finishing the race. The other aim was to try to enjoy the race, well as much as you can.
With everything that happened last year and the sale of my dad's house it has been quite a upsetting and stressful time so the idea of going away seemed like a good idea. I was going to do the race and have some time each side of the race to rest and recover.
My number one support was also going to be in Spain but sadly not in Barcelona with me but away to watch football in Marid. When i happened to mention at work that i was going to be doing this race i got some offers of support for during the race. My support crew for the race was to be three nurses and the house keeper (who i call Auntie Cathy) Stevie briefed them what to expect and what was sort of expected of them. Auntie Cathy gave them there orders on race day and was keeping them all in order.
The day of the race I was a little nervous but eager to get started. I didn't really understand the race briefing as it was in Spanish. But hey am running round the track and got to change direction every three hours really what else did i need to know. Oh stop when i get to twelve hours, simple.
The gun went off and i wasn't really sure what lanes of the track i was meant to be in but after a couple of laps and abit of pointing from a race official i was sent into the outside lanes and got a thumbs up from the official so i was sorted for the next 12hours.
Right from the off I wasn't happy and things didn't seem right. Looking back the only thing i can think of what was wrong was that there was too many people around me running. What ultras i have done it is normal to run most of them on your own with small amounts of passing company of other runners for a short period of time. This was strange and difficult at times avoiding other runners when attempting to pass them. Thank goodness for my razor sharp elbows. There was music playing throughout the run on a loud speaker sometimes it is just nice to have some peace and quite. Or your choice of music, I did use my i pod more than I thought I would. It helped take my mind off all the runners around me and noisy supporters around the track.
It was at this point that I knew i was going to struggle and it wasn't going to be the legs that would let me down. It was going to be a mental battle. There is times when you have to give your self a good talking too, I told myself it didn't matter that I hated it I was just going to have to get on with it for the next twelve hours and put the head down. It was during this talk to myself that I said to myself No Surrender and which was repeated many times during the race.
With the music being so loud I did have difficulty speaking with my support crew and found at times I felt like I was barking my orders at them. They where great they stood there the whole race taking turns to look after me and give me what ever I needed.
Am not sure it's what they expected but it helped explain why I come to work some Monday's unable to walk and feeling sick. One good thing about having nurses there is I was worried if I became ill during the race they would pull me out of the race, so there was no option to stop or even the dreaded sit down anywhere near them. Which worked for keeping me moving during the race.
I got up up six and bit hours and the sickness kicked in, you try to run through but it got to stage I had to slow down and that eased the sickness feeling. Anytime i upped the pace and feeling of being sick grew. Thankfully I was sick and felt slightly better. While attempting to be sick this nice long haired man kept asking me if i was ok, thankfully what i was saying in my head I didn't say to him. What i told him was i still felt sick and had been sick. He offered me a tablet telling me that it would help, i took the tablet and it did help. I got back running but wasn't able to push the pace as the sickness feeling started again. The tablet really did help and while being sick i thought i was going to have to spend the next six hours walking and vomiting.
There was no point during the whole race that i ever thought about leaving the track and not finishing. I feel i showed some true mental strength, the race didn't go to plan but I stuck with it and finished it.
The last 20 minute's of the race was great the relief that this hell would soon be over. It felt like i was sprinting round the track, it felt so nice to be flying round and round.
Thankfully when it got to twelve hours I was stopped near my support crew which was so nice to share the moment with them. I also got a nice hug from part of the GB train. It's at this point I should say without there chat round the track i could have easily stopped, i looked forward to them passing me. Boy's you made me laugh and it was a pleasure to see you make it look so easy. Vicky, you so deserved your pb.
I finished first female and second overall, first male two laps just in front of me. Thank you to my support crew, i couldn't have done it without you.