Thursday, 19 July 2007

Day 13 review - A very painful 25 miles.

There was no late wrestling on the TV for Jeeves last night so we were able to get an early breakfast this morning. I've been quite good with food since the curry on Sunday so I plummeted for porridge and toast. I must say that Base Camp 7 has been absolutely brilliant. I must take this opportunity to praise both the hospitality and the quality of the evening meals in the Kings Arms, Melrose. Thanks go to the Malcolm Macdonald (not the centre forward by the way!) and his staff for looking after Jeeves and I for the last 2 days.

I started running much earlier than usual but unlike yesterday the pain in both shins was with me from the start. It was pure agony but the 6 Rocky sountracks on the iPod that I listened to helps things slightly. The sun was shining nicely on me and it stayed with me for a good 17 miles or so.

It wasn't long before I reached Newtown St Boswells and the A68. Again, maximum concentration was needed on the very busy main road. Indeed, had I not stepped aside when an elderly driver in a red 4x4 came straight for me, I would have been taken clean out. The roads were full of blind corners on the way to Jedburgh and thankfully no further near misses occurred.

Waiting at the 15 mile banana stop was my Aunty Ada and Uncle Brian. I'd seen them a few miles back in the car and I managed two 10 minute miles in an attempt to get to the next stop as quickly as possible. It was great to see them and soon after Jonathan Jobe from work arrived. He'd driven all that way just to give his support for 5 minutes. That gesture was really appreciated. I was soon underway again. I'd just got a mile down the road when I arrived at a T junction with a blind corner. I just poked my head around the corner and lo and behold there were my mates Dan and James Tweedy. They wished me well and I was on my way again.

By the 18 mile point, the pain in my shin had reached an all time high. It was just a case of gritting my teeth and running as fast as the pain would let me.

I had another banana stop at the 20 mile point. I was feeling very frustrated as I had bags of energy left but my shins had restricted my progress somewhat. Never mind, I knew that in 5 miles time I would be back in England. The only problem was, that there was an almighty climb between 20 and 25 miles up to Carter bar.

I could see Carter Bar as early as the 22 mile point. By now, the rain had started and was a welcome relief as it had been so warm all day. The 1000 ft climb over the last 5 miles was beginning to take it's toll on my shins but I was more determined than ever to get up to the finish point.

The road wound round and round. Carter Bar was in sight one minute and not in sight the next.

Eventually I was on the final straight and I could see Burnley Keith in the distance. By now the excitement of getting to the end had masked any pain I had.

Once I got to the lay by at Carter Bar, I jumped around in celebration. It was a bit like that scene out of the Rocky movies when he makes it to the top of the steps at the end of a hard training session. I threw my water bottle down and jumped around some more. A few nearby tourists looked on in bewilderment. I then ran up to the discarded water bottle and kicked it over the border. My last burst of energy was used by sprinting up to the large stone monument with "ENGLAND" written on it. I lay against it for a good minute while I got my breath back.

I was so relieved to have made it this far. I've ran 330 miles or so over the last 13 days. I now had a few nights in my own home to look forward to! What a reward for the effort so far!