I turned up at the race location and was physically shaking as I got out the car. I had packed enough food to last a week and about 5 changes of clothes with 3 pairs of trainers and plenty of socks and Vaseline. I had a plan run 2 laps and walk 1 lap and come in after 3 hours to change and take refreshment. I had got 11 hours sleep before this race so felt refreshed and ready to rock n roll.
My plan went totally out of the window as I ran the first 10 laps with a remarkable woman called Marie who had fought breast cancer. She told me all about her journey and all the ultras she had done and I was amazed by her courage and determination. I love the people I meet at endurance events everyone has a story to tell. After my 10 laps I decided just to walk one just to loosen off the legs and this is where I met up with Ben Smith who is doing 401 marathons in 401 days for anti bullying campaign. What a great guy. I then went on to run few more laps before the first support crew arrived. Charlotte arrived at 5pm with warm chips which went downs well. Char, Leigh and I then ran a few more laps before the next support crew turned up. By this time I had started to feel really sick so Louise walked around with us whilst we played silly alphabet games. We got a few extra laps in before Nick turned up with pizza... Great shout. We then walked a few more to digest the pizza. During the night we had heard a voice from the hedge saying "is that Michelle?" and as I wasn't expecting it it did freak me out a little and replied "whose asking?" Before my brother jumped out of the bushes!!!! By this time I had stupid amount of layers on and I was really feeling the cold.
I still wasn't feeling right and really just wanted to puke up and get rid of the horrid sickness feeling that I had felt for the last few hours and it got slowly worse. Tom and Vicky turned up for the night shift at 11 and we walked a couple of laps together. I felt really bad as they had given up their time to come and help me and all I wanted to do was to lie down and die. Tom and vicky went early as I slithered to my car for some down time. I couldn't pull myself together to do anything.... It took an eternity to try and plug in my phone to charge and I kept setting off my car alarm. I lay there shivering in all my sweaty clothes wrapped up in a kingsize quilt where EVERYTHING was just throbbing. I couldn't sleep , I couldn't get comfortable... I was a MESS. I just lay there for about two hours trying to relax and let my body recover. I couldn't sleep I was in too much pain.
I set my alarm just in case I slept for 2.15 and once the alarm went off I was back on it. I went back down to HQ wolfed down a pot noodle and beast mode was well and truly switched on. I plugged in my music and went on to run 5 really fast laps singing my heart away in the misty cold air. I am not sure where this energy came from but it was pot noodle magic. Something very euphoric about running at this time of night singing my little heart away.
After this Teresa and Duncan had arrived so we went off and ran a few more laps together and then fatigue started to set in again or pot noodle had worn off. By the time 5.30 am arrived I was well and truly done. I said goodbye to Teresa and Duncan and on verge of emotional breakdown I headed for the comfort of my quilt. I knew my fried breakfast was coming at 6 so I just wanted to lie down for 30 mins and try and get warm again. When Dave turned up with my sauages and scrambled egg he found me in my car hidden away. Seriously this was my lowest point... I sobbed like a baby. I couldn't even eat the food he brought because it made me feel sick.
Sunrise had started so I walked three laps with Dave eating babybels and Pringles. Watching the sun come up gives you a mental boost and although I was still cold I did start to feel better. It was going to be a gorgeous day. Melissa was taking over at 8 and I managed to run walk a few laps with her. Every time I ran my pulse rate shot high sky so I decided walking was the safest bet. Chrissie turned up for her shift and it was nice to see my mum turn up on the course so we all walked together in the sun.
There was only few hours to go and my ankles were swollen and my knees ached, in fact there wasn't one part of my body that didn't ache. The laps started to get very slow and I almost felt like I was shuffling along. I entered HQ at about 11am and decided that that was enough. I wanted to cry, I did cry and my whole body was on fire. First aid guys had ice on my feet and on my knees and I sat in a whole world of pain watching all the people coming through to the finish line and then realised I hadn't had a finishers pic. Chrissie was brilliant at this point and gave me the much needed determination to do one more lap so I could get that finishers pic. That last loop after a pot noodle and armed with a big bag of M and M's we went to complete one more lap.
The finish line loomed and I managed to run the last 100 metres across that line. Oh my god the relief that I felt. 46 laps and 76.36 miles. I was third lady in and 8th overall. This was a low key event and I thought the laps would drive me insane but actually it didn't. That is without doubt the hardest challenge I have done and the lack of sleep puts a whole different challenge on it altogether.
Nick had cycled into Taunton to drive my car back and we had stopped at tesco as I needed a bottle of something. I literally crawled on my hands and knees with no shoes on through the shop to buy some sparkling wine. I was a total mess. The car journey seemed like an eternity and I was gripping my IT band to stop it aching.
I would like to thank each and every single person who gave up their time to help me along this journey. At times I wanted to give up and the thought of those friends putting themselves on the line for me gave me the determination to carry on. The support of those people were the only thing that kept me going and I owe my success to them. The support received from everyone in any shape or form was most appreciated.
I have learnt a few things from this exeperience
1) I have the bestest friends EVER.
2) never underestimate the power of a pot noodle.
3) lack of sleep makes you really emotional and I am glad that I did the team event earlier in the year as that did help to prepare me mentally.
4) did I mention I have the best friends ever.
That big question would I do it again
Yes I think I would. I gained valuable experience doing this endurance event and here's to a 100 miles