The penultimate day! Pensive, almost proud, perhaps it's still possible, but, the pain! The quad has been rock-taped over night, I've tried to keep the leg elevated, to ease the pain and swellings in my legs and feet. It's not too bad though, I'm in a much better state than when I completed the challenge in 2018. I know how painful that was and I'm barely on the scale of that. This is largely thanks to Dr Katie Walker-Small and her team of third year physios from Cumbria University, but especially Georgia who must have had more mentions than anyone else in my diary.
We've had a blast though, we started doing high-fives the other day, without thinking about it, we seem to nail it every time, its a satisfying clap. We've failed at the Top Gun high five though. More practice required, but with just one day left our strive for perfection may not have the time needed to finesse the execution.
Although, the pain in my back, hip and hamstring have largely dissipated the new pain in my quad seemed at first light to be, well light. How silly of me, I forgot there are a few hills around Windermere. The up is okay, the down is well, less so. Once again, I go to go, not last. Never good for my happy head space. It's a chance to try to say something encouraging to anyone I might manage to run with. By the end of the first mile, guess what? The quad had other ideas to a pleasant run. I'd not taken any pain relief and as I attempted to shuffle up (but definitely not down) any inclines, the area above the knee appeared to seize up and become more and more tight. I kept thinking about how Avril was doing with her quad that had been taped in near enough the same spot. Sensible head chipped in with comments that pain and the endurance of pain is somewhat subjective. Regardless of how strong Avril is, she's not experiencing what you are and vice versa. When you are walking for such a long way, you (I) began to feel fake. You know how to be hip you'd spell 'fat' with a 'ph', well I felt like a ph-raud. I know I can run faster, I know I can be more consistent (I've done it before) but I'm older, wiser (perhaps) and aware that I'm not as 'good' as I think I should be. That said, I've just completed 9 consecutive marathons so all in all, I've done okay. Out on the course, down at the start and checking in on me for the first ten miles was Darren Jenness (last year's 2020 10in10 winner, now holding the 10th faster position on the all time list). It was a little embarrassing not being able to run, when people are encouraging you, supporting you and telling you what an achievement when you are hardly shuffling. Greg checked in on me as I was struggling so much. I know now that you just have to keep moving. At the top of Devil's Gallop I did have a moment when I questioned when it was all worth it, luckily there were no support crew around so by keeping moving and getting down the incline, I was able to get myself to the next Box. Herein, lies the key, just get from box to box, if they are too far, mile to mile, and if they are too far just a point in the road to the next point in the road. Graham Dewar (who looked incredibly svelte) was also out on the course, positively handsome I hardly recognised him!
As I went by Lakeside Hotel, listening to The Beetles, 'Let it Be', a friendly face in the form of Aly Knowles greeted me with 'pain au fromage' (cheese baguette). How does she know to provide exactly the right thing at exactly the right time? It was just what was needed to cheer me up, push me forwards and keep the smile that was slipping from my face. Diolch yn fawr iawn,Aly
Finally to box 3. At which point, some respite in the form of ibuprofen pain relief. My shuffle went from a limping waddle, to a stunted walk. Just by The Swan, a lady clipped me with her car. There are no pavements at this point and any pedestrians will be walking on the road. It didn't hurt and she was just edging forward at 1 or 2 mph. But, if you are in a car and nudge a pedestrian, I'd think you were on dodgy ground, How should I know though? I looked around but received not an apology but a filthy look. I stepped aside to let her pass but her large Kuga (R 100 OKY) was maybe a tad too big for her to drive? She started to cross the bridge which is only wide enough for one car and then seemed unhappy with the other cars waiting on the bridge (who had already started to cross), it seems she had very little on offer in terms of politeness or awareness of priority?
Just after box 4, from Newby Bridge to Bowness the road is narrow, windy and undulating, as many other runners have commented. Its a 50mph speed limit road. The other aspect to this stretch of road during the event are all the big, bright, neon yellow signs, indicating that there is an event on and the dates of it too. Although, we are running or walking (in my case) we are advised to walk with the traffic in line with the rules of the event governed by Sport England. It was somewhat of a surprise when shortly after the incident with the Kuga driver, that a passenger in an Audi (BL 18 CYF) made a comment out her window at me. I'm not sure exactly what it was but judging by the tone it was neither supportive nor polite. People eh? The other 9 days have passed with nothing but encouragement, kindness and friendly waves, beeps or shouts of support from other car drivers and their occupants. This hasn't bothered me, I'm not angry, just disappointed is the parental saying isn't it? Such a shame...
Just after box 5, I could feel the pain rising in my knee and quad again, two more ibuprofen and more thoughts of the subjective nature of pain, just because it was 5 for me doesn't mean it couldn't have been a 2 or even a 9 for someone else. We all view pain differently.
All of the mile markers are now out, once I was able to start counting down from 15 miles (11 to go), I knew I'd get round, just keep going. At mile 18, Chris Heaton (because of his wise words and helpful advice, I've personally called him the Buddha of Brathay), joined me on his bike. Just having some company spurred me on the move from some form of power walk to full on shuffle. That carried on from 18 to 26 barring walking the descents which were less than pleasant. Just by Low Wood Bay another 10in10er, John McCann and a welcome sigh of relief to see a happy face and another well wisher.
More toilet humour in the physio room this evening. Gary asked me to discard a wrapper with some melted chocolate remaining within. Schoolboy error! Leaving me with melted chocolate whilst lying prostate on a plinth. After all the things he's collared Pat about this week. As he was being pummelled by Dom, I couldn't resist but to smear some of the aforementioned down his inner leg, he didn't even notice! Cue poo jokes, galore and much hysteria from the child in the room. Gary asked for a toilet to help him wipe it off, the line of the day goes to Dom, who offered to help and then said she felt like his carer. You had to be there, so the saying goes but my eyes were streaming.
Finishing in just over 6 hours today (and still not my worse day out on the course ever) I'm feeling positive about tomorrow. I get to catch up with my sister and children tonight for pizza. I'm carving the largest slice of 10in10 pie I can possibly muster and polish off tomorrow, that is if I can stomach the pain?