It's past one o'clock in the morning and I haven't had my supper! Not only that, I am stuck. Trying to find my way across a river I cannot see. It is all that Rangers' fault. But I can't go back without the apple. What would I say? What would he do!
I did the Outlaw last year, it was my first, and to be my only, Iron Distance Triathlon. With lots of good training advice from Alvin, Bryan, Daniel and Dani (Merseytri), it was the end of 18 Months of preparation. During that time I cycled around Northern Ireland, ran my first Ultra, PB’d marathons, learned to swim, rode some sportifs, dropped 10kg and generally became fit, strong and focussed. I was so happy with my 12:41 (against a target of 15) that I entered straight away for this year.
Little did I know about the Three Peaks Yacht Race when the DVD of the previous year’s event was passed to me one evening. However, when I watched it , wow! I knew deep down that I would love to take part in this fantastic adventure race and it was race I could only dream of.....
I’d been looking for a short race, having decided, in true Spartan spirit, that my niggling injury wasn’t getting any worse and didn’t seem to get better even when rested for a couple of months. Time for a short test – after all “it’s only 9K” somebody had said.
Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. He may not be on everybody's list of motivational gurus for runners, but for my second attempt at the Sandstone Trail Challenge, Al set the tone for my build up and approach to the event. Last year I didn't do enough long runs, drank too much water on the day and carried too much stuff. The result was cramp from about halfway and a time below what I felt capable of.
I am lying on my back on the forest floor. All that is missing is a circle of tweeting birds spinning above my head like a Loony Tunes cartoon. As I get back onto my feet, I look behind me for the first time in 5 hours, hoping not to see approaching hordes of runners, ready to speed past me so close to the finish.
Picture the scene, it’s a beautiful day in May and I’m 21 miles into my first ever ultra race. My calves are cramping a little but life is good and I’m “enjoying the journey”. I climb up a stile only a mile or so from my home, a stile that I’ve been over dozens of times, and I lose concentration as I jump down the other side. My right ankle buckles and I hear a gut-wrenching tear as I collapse in a heap.