Monday, 8 November 2010

Pembrokeshire Coastal Challenge 78.6 - Day One

Having travelled up the night before, and found I had booked a very comfortable cottage extremely close to the race Headquarters in St David's City Hall, I was looking forward to the first day.

I had promised to run the day with Paul who I'd met at supper the previous evening. He described himself as a non runner (doing 3 offroad marathons in 3 days - mad), so wanted to take it slowly, which suited me.

We arrived at 11am at a wet and dark Dale harbour. 65 runners were counted through, and then we were off. Paul instantly disappeared with the leading pack and I found myself plodding along at the back, second from last. My plan was to run my own race, and take it at a pace that felt easy. I soon picked up with Ross, a guy who was a multiday eventing veteran, who reassured me that we would soon start to pick people off. He was right. By Check Point 1 I was beginning to pass people, even though the mud was thick underfoot. Those runners in road shoes, were already suffering, and one guy wearing Vibram 5 Toes barefoot shoes, was just plain mad.

At Checkpoint 2 I left another handful of runners behind, but by now I was cold and the weather had really closed in. Luckily I was familiar with the route having spent years holidaying in the area, so found CP 3 with no trouble. However I'd run out of water about 3 miles before CP3. but with no option but to keep running, dehydration was a real issue. With just 4 miles to go to the end a runner in front turned and waved at me. I waved back thinking how friendly the race was. It wasn't until I drew alongside I realised it was Paul! Unfortunately Paul was no longer able to raise his arms to run, or lift his legs properly, and was really struggling, so I walked alongside him for a bit, until I cajoled him to start running. With a bit of bullying and friendly banter we made fairly quick work of the next 3 miles, even the seemingly endless steep slippery ups and downs. Once Paul and I had had an inevitable moment of hysterical giggles we rounded a headland and the lights of Newgale could be seen.

For the last mile and a half with my headtorch on, we shuffle jogged down the road and completed the day with a final blast across the finish line. Job done, day 1 complete.

It wasn't until I had changed and sat down in the warm minibus with a cup of soup that I realised how rubbish I felt. Both legs had DOMs, probably exacerbated by the speed work last weekend, and the countless hills in the race. I felt light headed and not at all with it. That evening as I lay in bed, aching, I truly wondered whether my career as a multiday runner was an unobtainable dream, or whether it really was possible to feel this awful, and yet still get up and do another day.

1 comment: