Boom the lights are on and Ring of Fire blasts out ….. It’s 5am Sunday morning and although I fell asleep quickly the morning has come round even quicker !!!
Laid in my sleeping bad I do a quick top to toe check
Head – Tired and full of thoughts
Shoulders- A bit achey from carrying pack for two days but ok overall
Back – Stiff as hell from been laid on the village hall floor all night
Hips – Achey but will be ok when moving
Quads – Tired and Sore
Calfs – Tired and Sore
Feet – Oh bloody hell my feet !!!!!!

Day 3 and I’m still here and in the game… Technically I’m out but I’m still able to take part in day 3….. My mind keeps drifting off thinking about my family, Karen and the kids put up with so much, between all the day and night runs, weekend reccies and days away I’m always aware they sacrifice things to allow me to run as much as I do, there support is always amazing so I have to start Day 3 for them !!!!!

I manage to get completely dressed without standing up, theory been if I’m dressed and ready no matter what my feet say I’m ready to go !
Looking at the condition of my taped up feet I’d cause more damage taking the old tape off so decide to leave it on and re-tape what bits need to be re-taped, although I’ve still not stood up yet my feet feel too sore for my Inov8 shoes so decide I have to wear the Hoka’s again.
Getting my swollen feet into my shoes it’s time to stand up which having watched several other people try and fail at the first attempt I opt to turn over and achieve the hands and knees position first then with the help of a near by chair and gritted teeth I stand for the first time.

Holy Shit !!!!!
Burn Burn Burn these Burning Feet!!!!!!

Right time to man up and try to walk like Im not a tin man, several steps and muscle memory takes over joints ease up and it’s time to sort my porridge and grab a hot sweet coffee.
Feed and watered I again pack my bed and bags up ready for them to be taken back to Holyhead today’s finish point, I talk to Mark as I pack up, he’s still not looking great but tells me he does feel much better, further apologies for the previous day and more thanks for use of my spare kit, I feel sorry for the guy it’s his first big ultra and it’s not finished well but as we all do he’ll learn from it and come back stronger.
Bing one of the race directors is doing the rounds making sure everyone is ok and asking if we’ve placed our sandwich order, today’s first checkpoint is at a cafe and there’s a free sandwich of our choice waiting for us …. Awesome just the incentive I need…. A Bacon Butty !!!!

Outside in the dark again for race brief and there’s no changes to the route today, my minds wondering and thinking about Karen again, after yesterday’s late phone conversation I’m guessing she’s probably not had a great night herself so I step aside and text her to let her know I’m ok (not convinced of it myself) and I’m starting day 3, and will text to let her know how I’m doing through out the day, I’ve been doing this over the past two days as she’s been updating family and friend plus Facebook ect.
As the countdown begins Ring of Fire blasts out …3 2 1 and were off .. Well I’m walking forward, I have no intention of doing anything other then finishing today and that means a constant minimum 20min mile for all of today’s 33.4miles, easy I think to myself.

Leaving the village and on a slight down hill I break into a steady jog, to my amazement it actually hurts less then walking, I guess it’s because my feet are I’m contact with pavement for less time, were almost straight onto the beach and the sand is very very hard work , I’ve dropped back from the main group and aware that there’s only a few people behind me, heading off the beach I can still see a couple of guys ahead so keep an eye on them as the less thought I have to out into navigation today the better !!
Reaching the edge of the beach I climb a grass and sandy dune thinking how nice it will be to get onto the firmer coastal path again.
OH NO…. SAND DUNES ….BLOODY SAND DUNES EVERWHERE….. I’m not in the desert in Bloody Wales why are there sand dunes in Wales ….. Soft golden sand fills my shoes within a few steps, it’s pointless emptying them as from the top of the next dune I can see I’ve a fair way to go before I get out of the sand, trudging on I keep catching a glimpse of the guys in front but there are plenty of coastal signs about to keep me right.
It seems I’ve been in the dunes for miles but realistically it’s probably only about a mile before I eventually leave them, by now my feet are in bits !

I’ve got an Injinji liner sock with a pair of standard running socks on top of them, a combination I’ve been using without any problems for months but today the sand feels like it’s inside my socks and rubbing like sandpaper on every part of my feet,
I find a place to sit down and empty my shoe and dust my socks off as best I can.
Jogging into the first checkpoint I’ve caught up to the guys in front and I’m looking forward to that sandwich, whoops and cheers greet us as always as we give our race numbers to be checked in and I’m about 10 min ahead of cut off. Sandwich in hand I grab a seat and take a bite, it tastes great but I’m having trouble chewing and swallowing it, I’ve been looking forward to this for miles and now I’m not enjoying it at all, infact it’s making me feel quiet sick, trying not to look ungrateful I fold what’s left into a napkin and drop it in the bin, no need to fill bottles as I’ve not drank a great deal up to now so leave and head off with the two guys I’d caught up to, out onto the coastal path were all plodding along nicely and walking anything slightly up hill, not long and were back on the beach, another long crossing that today seems to be even longer and even the firmer sand is hurting my ever worsening feet, eventually off the beach and back on firmer ground I’m finding it hard to think of anything apart from the pain coming from feet, my soles feel like there blistered badly and moving on flat or uphill ground is getting harder with every step, downhills are transferring the pain into my toes that feel like the nails are lifting on each toe, I’m forced to walk and even that’s painful.
For the first time in 3 days I’m NOT enjoying this and don’t want to feel like this, I’ve slowed to over a 20 min mile and loosing what little cut off advantage I had quickly.

I don’t want to quit but this is ridiculous, I don’t want to let my family down but this is ridiculous, I don’t want to wreck my feet and not be able to run for weeks which is exactly what I’m doing and that is ridiculous !!!

In a bit of a haze I realise I can see the second checkpoint about 100 meters up the road and start to jog in but have to stop and walk as running is unbearable, reaching the checkpoint I look at my watch and realise I’m 1min ahead of cut off, I’ve lost 9min over the last section, there’s no way I can go another 8 miles to checkpoint 3 at my current pace and not be timed out !
I quickly realise there no point in putting my feet through another 8 miles to be timed out and tell the checkpoint staff that after 15 miles today I’m done !!!!

With a feeling of relief I sit down to call Karen but find I can’t, the thought of not finishing and letting them down fills me with regret and probably tears if I spoke to her now I need 10 min to sort myself out before making that call !!!!
I text to let her know where I am and it’s all over for me 😦
Eventually I make the call and as always she says exactly the right things I need to hear, transported back to Holyhead with another guy who’s dropped I see Bing and Q who express there regret at me not finishing and wish me well hoping to see me again next year, I collect my bags and move away from the finish area making my way back to my car, bags in the boot I sit in the passenger seat and rest my legs on the dashboard, before I know it I’ve fallen asleep and wake nearly 2hrs later.

Knowing I’d be in no fit state to drive home today I’ve booked a room back at the pub I stayed on Thursday night, a good soak in the bath and a painful hobble to the bar and I order enough food for two people and demolish the lot with ease !!!!!
A good nights sleep in a proper bed and a full cooked breakfast and I’m on the way, back home removal of my shoes brings several gasps and ouch’s from Karen and I’m soon in her car on the way to the health centre to get my feet looked at before I start to get any sort of infection going on !!
Several bandaged toes later I’m back home and eating again lol

So Ring of Fire’s over and I didn’t finish, ok I was never going to be classed as a “Finisher” after day 2 but I really wanted to finish day 3 and feel disappointed I didn’t.

Would I stop to help a fellow competitor in trouble again, of course I would some things are more important then finishing a race !!!!
Would I go back and run this event again …Hell Yes it’s an amazing route that one day I will finish !

20131006-151927.jpg

Advertisements