• Tom Crossland

Day 34 - A sleepless night

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." T. E. Lawrence

You know you are not sleeping when at 1.30 am you get up from bed and go downstairs in the holiday cottage and start bing watching series on Netflix. I was definitely still awake at 4 am and I think I got about an hours sleep after that since we had to be up early so that Jem could get her train home. The sleepless night was mainly due to the pain I was experiencing in my right knee, but, also due to mistakingly taking paracetamol with added caffeine. This was a big mistake. Huge! By the time it was time to 'get up' I was quite frankly a mess. My knee was still very sore whenever I bent it and although I was trying (and probably failing) to put on a brave face for Jem and Si, for the first time on this journey I started to have huge doubts about completing a day. I am sure this was a combination of pain and lack of sleep, but I felt pretty low and anxious. I knew there was little I could do apart from tape, roll, stretch etc and keep getting on with the day and hope that somehow things eased up and I could walk.

I was able to nap on the journey back from dropping Jem at the station after doing the shopping. This made me feel much more human and less low, my knee was still not right but at least I did not feel like death warmed up. I could still not bend my knee without significant pain but I was moving more freely. I got on with planning the next two days and kept thinking I just need to survive to the next rest day. Tomorrow is a hilly day with a big climb to start the day, so I was really very worried about this, and looked at the route but there is no alternative, so a little shortening tomorrow to 47 km from 54 km and a lengthening of Wednesday, which is much flatter and I felt a bit more confident. I've also increased the number of CPs tomorrow so that I am seeing the van more. I then went for another nap and when I woke up, my knee was much much better. Still not perfect but I can now bend it without pain, it just feels tight and sore. I am hoping that, like last time my knee flared up, this is a temporary situation and things will settle down again. I have been trying to think what could have caused this flare up, but I really have no idea. The last three days were great running and great fun, but clearly my body is going through something again. I am trying to stay mentally strong and not let the doubts crowd my mind. I am trying to take each day on its own and even within a day take it section by section. But this is hard, I keep trying to think is there anything I have done or omitted to do that has caused this pain. I will never know and it is at times like this that the imposter syndrome feelings start arriving. As I said a few blogs ago, the middle third of a race is often mentally the hardest and maybe this is all part of that.

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