Day 26 - Getting ready for the changes ahead
Middlesborough - Seaburn 52.2 km (963.3 km done)
Start Time - 8.01 am
Finish Time - 4.28 pm
Moving time - 6 hours 57 mins
Vertical Gain - 438 m
Average - 20 C
Min - 16 C
Max - 27 C
Support runners today
And so the relentless forward progress continues northwards. On Tuesday (the next running day) I will be turning left and heading across the country towards the West coast. I was always aware that this section of the run would pass quickly. with the East coast almost done, but still over two thirds to of the run still ahead of me. It seems fitting that as I start to think about having the sun in my face rather than on my back, I say goodbye to John as crew and say hello to Jemima (more on the feelings that this changeover has bought up tomorrow).
I have not spoken to other people that have done long journeys like this, but it is hard for me to believe that I am covering the amount of ground I am doing. People keep asking me how I get up day after day and keep going. I am not sure I know the answer to that. It seems to me that this is now my job. I wake up, have breakfast and then go to work. The only difference is my job is now running all day, instead of leading a team. The thought never enters my mind not to run. Occasionally, when I am really tired I wish I could have a bit longer in bed, but that is all really. This might seem strange but this is what I do now. I believe in the cause and the project so much that there is no doubt in my mind, at the moment, that I will keep going. However hard it is and however much I hurt. I realise this could be one of those classic statements to make that come back to bite you later, but this is just my mindset at currently. I'd love to be able to ask someone else that has done something like this whether this was their experience.
Don't get me wrong, I look forward to the end of the day and to rest days. This was especially true yesterday morning, when I was facing two long days. But James helped me stay close to the coast today but take efficient paths and I was able to cut 2km off today. Now I have finished I can confidently say that those 2km would have been fine today. I felt sluggish this morning and then coming into CP2 I had a sore tummy. But I thought about what was likely to be going on and decided there were a few options and only two I could do much about at that point. I hadn't eaten enough or I hadn't drank enough. So I drank a good 500ml at the CP plus a coke and has some bean and potato empanadas to try and get some more food in me. I also thought it prudent to take some toilet paper with me (this was not needed in the end) and my stomach settled shortly after that. I spent the rest of the day focusing on drinking and eating more. For me nausea is usually due to dehydration and the problem is that if I go down that hole too far it takes me a long time to climb out and I cannot move quickly.
My second ultra, a 84 km run from Oxford to Henley, I recall getting to the last CP at Thames Valley Park, I think about 12 km from the finish and feel okay, but clearly I had not drank enough all day and shortly after it caught up with me. I had to walk, even though my legs felt okay. I stopped by the Shiplake College boat house to take on some more fluids, have drank everything I had on me and continued a slow walk towards Henley. Eventually I was able to run the last 3 km to the finish and felt okayish at the end. As soon as I we were driving home it all went wrong. We had to stop twice in the 15 minute journey to get home and then when I got home I felt so sick and hot that all I wanted to do was lye outside on the driveway feeling sorry for myself. Bex wouldn't let me do this and moved me to the back garden, where I sat for a while. Eventually I felt well enough to go to bed, but shortly after getting to bed I sick. I am sure this was down to poor hydration. This is what caused me to start looking at hydration more. I now have a strategy that works for me and seems to be working well. This is drinking about 500ml every 45 mins - 1 hour depending on the temperature. This is working out about 1 litre between CPs. One bottle is water/squash and one bottle has precision hydration electrolytes in. I use there PH1000 electrolytes, this is 1000 mg of salt per litre of drink. This means I taking in 500mg of salt between CPs. When I am running I am using a 9 min run to 1 min walk strategy and I try and sip at my drink every walk break. Then at the end of the day, as soon as I finish I have 500ml of PH1500 to try and rehydrate ready for the next day. If this is interesting to people, I can talk about what I eat in another blog, let me know if that would be interesting in the comments below.