Posted: 29/07/2015 at 17:15
Part 3 - the run
Well, probably more the shuffle. I've done a bit of running in rain, but not when I was already that tired and wasn't able to put the work in to stay warm. I'd also never done anything longer than a half marathon before, so I'd already decided to walk the feedstations - particularly since I'd lost the nutrition plot on the bike, and needed to get some more food into me. So that became the plan - shuffle between the stations, walk through them, and get shuffling again before I got too cold. That was working fairly well for the first 18 miles or so, aarghing pirates and thanking marshals, round the lake and the first big loop, and then back to the lake. My son, who had been told to be ready for running down the finish chute with me, asked "is that the last lap?". I wish. I tried to smile when the other person in my running club who had entered shouted "keep going" from the car park having long since finished as I came round, but was really thinking "you lucky b*********"!
Second long lap was harder - we'd had a bit of a rain break on the first long lap, but it was back stronger than ever, or it felt like it. Every time I stopped to walk, I was shivering, which left me wondering whether I dared stop even for the feedstations - except that if I didn't, I wouldn't have the sugar to get to the end. I'm afraid at that point I was pretty unresponsive to anyone, pirate or anyone else - tunnel vision was in and it was just a case of one foot in front of the other. I made it to the turn and back over the bridge, and had to switch to walking for a bit - which at least gave me slightly more chance of avoiding the deeper puddles on the path, which was now a small river.
Somewhere on the way back from the second long lap I realised that it had actually stopped raining, and slowly started to dry out a bit. About the point I hit the lake, I started thinking this was going to be possible after all, and got round to checking my Garmin for the first time in about 3 hours - just past 14 hours. OK, this was going to happen. I still walked a chunk of the last lap, but I made myself run the last kilometre from the sign, and my son joined me down the finish chute. Made it. 14:52, which was better than I'd expected and which I was perfectly happy with.
I got very confused after that. I was expecting the med tent, but then someone asked me "do you want to get your bags now" and I wasn't thinking straight enough to realise I didn't have to. So I missed the climb up the steps and the Erdinger pint, which I could seriously have done with, and before I really knew what I was doing I was pushing a bike with three bags over my shoulders round to try and meet up with my family, which was about the last thing I needed. Once I'd finally found them, I'm afraid I just wanted to get home, so I apologise for not joining everyone afterwards - the cold had finished me and I shivered most of the way home, even in the car.
Many congratulations to everyone who competed despite the conditions, finishers or not. And thanks once again to the pirate support team - you may have got me into this mess, but you certainly helped me through it and out the other side!
Oh, and I still owe someone about 12 quid for 4 High 5 bottles...