Slept better than I thought and was ready for pick up. Cold wise, I didn't feel too bad.
We got to the HQ, then caught a bus to the start. Linear routes are so complicated. The bus journey made me queasy, tried to sleep through it but it didn't help. So a combination of that and nerves (three trips to the bathroom) meant I struggled to eat my breakfast. Not the best start.
Managed to get through the kit check and registration without coughing too much and giving the game away that I was ill...
Eventually it was time to go and the field jogged through the village of Ingleton and pretty much into the first climb straight away, Ingleborough. It was on a rough stone track, we walked as was the intention.
We started as a group of 5, Gavin, Brett, Steph, her boyfriend Mike and myself. I was at the back from the very start. Periodically, Gav would break into a trot yet I felt we were walking too fast...
Less than an hour to the summit of Ingleborough, the descent though wasn't any better, very steep steps and swarming with hikers, even at this time in the morning (just after half 9). The lads had charged down while I minced carefully, but someone higher up dislodged a rock and it fell the whole face and smashed Brett on the ankle.
Gavin waited for me and we trotted in to the check point for a quick cup of tea. Not much time to drink it, Whernside was calling. Another stiff climb, although my cold has not gone to my chest, I was struggling to get a satisfying breath and climbing was such hard work. I couldn't keep up with the others, at all.
Whernside was also busy with walkers, we wound our way through them and enjoyed the long descent and another cup of tea! I was already feeling sick and couldn't eat anything. The next climb was just ridiculous, Gragareth. I had been warned, but oh my! It was nearly vertical. I made it to the top, only stopping once to let the cramp out of my legs.
I had lost sight of the others but Gragareth checkpoint was a short out and back from the main path, and we waved as we passed. I figured they'd wait for me further on.
I was now absolutely knackered and coughing, a lot. I trotted along the wall line from Gragareth to Great Coum, on my own and coughing. I kept straining to look ahead to see if I could see the others, but no luck. I checked in at Great Coum and started the descent. I knew this bit was potentially tricky, but couldn't remember what it said in the notes, so I just followed the crowd. Of course, that meant we hit the awkward rocky part of the escarpment and had to pick my way down. Then we followed a wall line. I wasn't sure where the next point was, so had to stop and get my map out of my bag. After a while, I spotted the check point and got my tally clipped. Now we could follow a stony lane down and down into Dent.
Now i had stopped trying to keep up with the others, I actually stopped feeling sick and was able to nibble at the 'trail mix' in my pocket. I was ready to have some food at Dent and I was going to tell the others to carry on without me, no point them wasting loads of time keeping waiting for me, I have a map and and can navigate and was happy to run alone.
I got into Dent, got clipped and went for a cup of tea. The check point was busy with helpers, spectators and other runners. No sign of my team. I checked with the marshals and they had arrived about 20 mins ahead of me. Clearly hadn't waited.
I had planned to to spend a little time here anyway, and now didn't have to worry about rushing. So I sat down with a cup of beans and bread and butter and a load of orange segments. I spent about 20 minutes at Dent and felt much better for it.
Couldn't run straight away as I was full of baked beans, so power walked along the road and found the foot of the next climb. There was a few of us, strung out along the path as it wound its way up the hill side. As it levelled out a little to contour I was able to jog and off. I continued to nibble sweets and bits out of my pocket.
Not sure if I veered off the path too soon or what, but I crossed open ground to reach a fence line, along with another couple who had their maps out and scratching their heads. I had been sort of following them, but keeping an eye on the map. We were in the right place, but too far along. *Rather than double back, we decided to cut straight across the open ground in front. We could see the trig point on the opposite fell which was our next objective, so we just went for it! One or two boggy patches to negotiate but otherwise it was fine and soon we were at the Blea Moor checkpoint. We split up on the way down, (couldn't keep up with them either it would seem) and the path down to Stonehouses was very pleasant indeed.
I was still coughing a lot and bringing up lumps of solidified gunk, quite grossed myself out!
I reached the Stonehouses checkpoint in good spirits and was served pasta by a team if Vikings! Only spent 10 minutes or so here as I wanted to crack on.
I don't know what happened, but as I left the checkpoint, my mood just turned. It was a long long drag out of Stonehouses and I was tired of coughing, my poor throat was raw. Eventually, I got to the turn off to do the out and back to the summit of Great Knottberry. The faster runners were coming down off the hill and I hoped to see my teammates. I didn't.
Great Knottberry went on FOREVER with several false summits. I though, this is a shit hill. It's not even a nice hill. Why is there a check point up here, this is pointless. etc. it was getting cold now too, a wind had whipped up out of nowhere. After getting clipped, I put on my jacket and gloves. 5 minutes later I fell over in the mud and got my gloves wet. ffs. Comedy fall, managed to get cramp and struggled to get back up! Thankfully no one saw me!
Crossed over the track we'd come up and headed onto open fell. This was one of the bits I wasn't sure about. There was no path marked on the map and following a wall or similar would take me too far out of my way. I could see other runners ahead and walked briskly to keep them in sight. As it was, there was a faint quad track through the grass and periodically I spotted trainer prints in the mud which was very reassuring! Having not recced this bit, I didn't realise this quad track went all the way to the gate, so I left it a little early. I didn't lose anything, but it was more awkward underfoot. Through the gate and onto better ground.
I was ready to call it quits. I'd walked since Stonehouses and it had taken ages. In theory, I could still manage a 24hr finish, but I'd had enough. Running through the night wasn't going to help my illness.
I was still disappointed and cried all the way down the hill to the checkpoint.
Once inside the tent, I had another cup of tea and sat down to eat a hot dog. I didn't know if I could stomach it, but it was gone in a few bites. I was aware the marshalls kept looking at me. I was taking ages over my tea, had tears in my eyes and was shaking. It was only 10 minutes to go before grouping started (You get grouped just before dark on the Fellsman due to crossing open fell) and if I left now, I could get to Fleetmoss before being forced into a group.
I didn't want to run in a group. I didn't want to have to bust a gut to keep up with people I didn't know. I didn't want to run in the dark.
One of the mini buses turned up and I had to just blurt it out, I was hoping to do it quietly while there wasn't anyone in the tent but now there wasn't time for that. I had no voice due to my cold and then being choked up with tears I could barely speak enough to articulate what I wanted. The check point lady gave me a big hug.
The bus was full, so I wasn't able to have the good cry that I wanted. I coughed and coughed all the way back to HQ, which was a full hours drive.
I realised now that I had a long wait for my team mates. I spent a long time getting showered and changed, then forcing down a jacket potato which had smelled amazing but then couldn't stomach. My limbs were twitching with tiredness, so I hunkered down in the the corner of the hall, using my holdall as a pillow and went to sleep! It's very odd trying to sleep in a hall with people coming and going, but somehow I managed it! Only problem was when people dropped their cutlery into the washing up buckets...
A couple of times I got up, went for a pee and read the various posters in the halls, then came back and had another snooze. I heard the wind get up outside and hoped the runners were all ok.
I expected my friends back between 2 and 4am. Shortly before 4am I saw them arrive, I greeted them with ''You abandoned me, ya bastards!'' and a big hug. I was so pleased they'd finished, and they were relieved that a) I was ok and b) I was still talking to them!!
In less than an hour, we were in the car on the way home. Took the drive very slowly and got home to fall into bed about half 6. I slept til 1pm gone.
Now it is time to get over this bloody cold, the life span of which I have probably increased by 2 or 3 weeks...
Gav says we'll do it again next year, I'm not sure I want to. Out of the 32 miles I ran/walked, I only enjoyed about 10 of them!
*Turns out, that's what everyone else did.
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