Friday, 20 May 2011

Part 4! The bike....

I had thought I wouldn't be able to sleep much during the afternoon as it would be warm and sunny but after a cup of tea, I decided I would just go and lie down at least to get some rest. Ad shut all the shutters and the room remained pretty cool and actually I was soon out like a light. Obviously I was physically tired both from the exertion of exercise and no doubt from not having had a proper night's sleep for two days. Ad and Ed also needed a rest after having been up all through the night before with me so the house soon became still and quiet.

I woke up about 5pm ready to have a shower and stretch, eat a decent meal and get ready for the cycling. Lynn as always did superbly well for us, providing tasty, filling meals with salad and bread and I felt the energy returning after the break. I had a stretch and tried to decide what I wanted to wear for the first leg of the cycling. I would still be warm at 6.30pm but would get cold reasonably quickly as the sun went down after the first hour or so. I was nervous about the cycling as traditionally it is my weakest discipline and I hadn't done any real training for it. I think Ed was a bit shocked when I told him I hadn't been on my bike once since the Double in August. It may seem foolish to some people but I knew I had a good base of cycling fitness from the Double and, as I wasn't fussed about time, so long as I kept moving forward I would eventually get there. I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't have any strength for the wind or power for the hills as I hadn't done any specific training and Lanzarote is notorious for both of these factors!! As 6.33pm approached our little party headed slowly down the driveway to ready for the off. Ad carried my bike down the drive to the amusement of Ed who made some 'under the thumb' comments but I was extremely grateful and couldn't have asked for a better support crew than my wondeful fiance! At 6.30 I gave Lynn a hug, Ad a last kiss and clipped into my pedals. At 6.33pm precisely I pushed off and headed off down the road to Yaiza with the Endurovan trailling slowly in my wake. The first part of the bike course was familiar to me as I had cycled it many times with the RAF Tri team during our training camp the year previously. We headed through Yaiza and then onto the road into the Fire Mountains and the Timanfaya National Park. The road up Fire Mountain was straight into a quite hearty headwind but I knew the landmarks I was looking for and kept my head down and pedalling on. I think Adam was a bit amused at how slowly I was making progress as he hasn't been to Lanzarote before and doesn't know of the notorious wind. About halfway up the drag up Fire Mountain he got out of the Endurovan to bring me down a new water bottle. As he reached me he turned and was nearly immediately blown backwards by the wind. I think he was shocked at the force and said, 'Oh, now I understand why you're taking such a long time!!!' It was tough but like I said to Eddie, 'I've done this hill once so I'm not scared of it, I know I can do it again!' So I started off with a positive attitude to the cycling though still apprehensive about the notorious Mirador that leads up to the highest point on the island which I've never attempted before so couldn't approach with the same confidence.

The climb up to the top of Fire Mountain was a lot less strenuous than I remembered (the last time I was here I had a massive bonk* at Yaiza before the return leg and people had to pour Coke down my throat just to get me to start peddling again!) which I was pleased with - maybe after all this time my cycling is actually improving a little?! And the descent down the other side past the Timafaya National Park entrance was also not as white-knuckled as I remembered from previously either. I think the fact that by now it was almost totally dark probably helped as I couldn't see the steep descent or corners approaching!! The road then rolls on for 10kms or so into Tinajo which was a part of the ride I really enjoyed. The Endurovan had left me to it to leap-frog on to Tinajo and prepare me a hot drink so it was just me and the amazing sky full of stars. It was lovely to arrive in the lit-up but totally deserted town of Tinajo and to stop for the first of my ham sandwiches. It was funny, I thought I would really like them on the run but they didn't work for me at all whereas on the bike they were totally fabulous. I wish I had made more than two as they had to be rationed as the Pepperami had been on the run!! Funny how food can be such a big factor on your mental state! After a swift cup of tea we rolled up through more villages beginning with T (Tiagua, Teguise) before hitting the route to Haria where I knew my biggest challenge lay ahead. I don't remember much about this part of the route (hmm, maybe I was sleeping!) except that each village triggered vague recollections of being there last year with RAF Triathlon and how much I have improved as a cyclist since then!

I was starting to get quite tired as the road started to wind its way more and more steeply through switchbacks to the village of Haria. I couldn't quite work out where on the route we were now and whether I had started the infamous climb up the Mirador yet. I was starting to get quite tired both physically and sleepily and struggled to stay awake whilst plugging away up the hills. It seemed to go on for ever and the camber on some of the switchbacks was extreme. Ad and Ed had had to go on a few miles up the road and I felt very alone. I remember shouting out-loud at times in the frustration and probably for sheer tiredness. I believe I used some very choice language and I was glad Ad and Ed weren't around to laugh at my silliness! Ed had warned me that at one point it became very steep but it was just for a short while. On reaching that point I pushed and pushed and ground the pedals round until it got so steep I was hardly moving. I thought at that point it would be best just to clip out and walk rather than try and push on and maybe get to the point where I wouldn't be quick enough to clip out in time before I toppled over. I had just got off the bike and was starting to push up the steepest part of the hill when I saw a torch bobbing out of the darkness. It was Ad and I was so relieved. He told me I had literally a few metres to go to the top where Ed was waiting for with the Endurovan and I could have a rest. I was so happy to see Ad but slightly annoyed that I had got nearly to the top of the hill when I had decided to get off. I could have definitely made it over riding but it in the darkness you can't tell how much longer up the hill you have to go! Despite this being good at some points, it does make it difficult to gauge your effort and know when to dig in. I could definitely have got to the top of the hill being, as it transpired, about another 50m but had it been another 500m I think I would have struggled!!!

I was glad to reach the top of that section and the chance to have a drink and a bite to eat. And just having a few moments chatting to Ad and Ed cheered me up after I had been feeling quite alone for a while. I never felt scared in the dark which I did wonder if I would but sometimes you feel isolated and alone and having the crew to chat too makes such a difference to your mood. Unfortunately it wasn't the end of the climbing, I had thought that was maybe the Mirador done but Eddie informed me that no, we still had to drop down into Haria village before climbing up again to the peak of the Mirador. It was getting late, around 10pm by now and I just wanted to get it done so we pushed on after a short break, dropping down into Haria before turning left up a short steep hill and the beginning of the climb up the Mirador.

The actual final climb up there Mirador wasn't as bad as I thought it might have been and I managed most of the way. I got off at one point just to have a little rest from the long winding climb and refocus, have a little think about how completing the challenge would feel etc. Mirador literally means 'lookout' and I wished for a moment that it wasn't the middle of the night and I could appreciate what I was sure would be amazing views falling away below me. The road is bordered by a wall leading up to the top where a small fortress and gun battery sits. It was a bit surreal passing the long disused fortress in the last few metres before the top and reaching the isolated layby where the Endurovan was parked up. It was pretty chilly at the top and Ad wrapped me up in a jacket in preparation for the next downhill section. I had a quick cup of tea and a sandwich and headed off eager to get off the top of the chilly mountain and head for home.

The downhill section off the top of the Mirador was a bit hairy, I couldn't see very well and despite being well wrapped up with a jacket and long gloves, I was so cold that I was shaking which made for interesting bike handling. Despite it being a no work section, I really didn't enjoy this part as I was tired and cold and worried about coming off the bike if I got my speed or cornering a bit wrong due to tiredness. Half way down at full pelt my light also took the inopportune moment to fall off leaving me skidding to a halt and giving Ad and Eddie who were following me down the hill in the Endurovan, a heart attack as they braked sharply to avoid running me over! Having a car following you is a bit disconcerting but I needed the extra light and I am sure it was worse for Ad and Ed. I have followed a bike at night before as a support crew and it is no fun, you are so conscious that if you judge things just a little bit wrong you can end up whacking into the rider in front of you.

Light re-affixed we headed on down the hill to Arieta where we had a short stop before pressing on. I also really didn't enjoy the next section which was the long straight road to Tahiche. It appeared flat to the naked eye but either it was deceptively uphill or I was just getting extremely tired as I appeared to be going absolutely nowhere! It seemed to take forever before we finally reached Tahiche and turned off the main road for the final time to head to San Bartholme, our final stopping point before the final stretch back to Yaiza. I was glad to be off the long stretch to Tahiche and revived a little at this point. Our final stop at San Bartholme proved amusing. I had just hopped off the bike looking for a bush to have a quick wee when suddenly everything was illuminated! A police cruiser had pulled up next to the Endurovan with full beams wondering what a car was doing cruising around so slowly at this time of night. Eddie mustered all his best Spanish to explain I was completing a long distance endurance event and they were my support crew while I tried to creep further and further into the darkness to avoid mooning everyone!!! I've always said triathlon is not a glamourous game!

Finally the police let us on our way though I'm not convinced they didn't think we were completely mad and we made the last turning down to La Geria and Yaiza. I'm pretty sure I was going a bit delirious at this stage, alternating between very hyper (I got extremely over-excited by the sighting of a hedgehog at the side of the road which I regaled in great detail to Ad and Ed who definitely thought I was going bonkers) and very tired. I was extremely pleased to roll into the familiarity of Yaiza knowing it was just a few short miles home. I pushed on desperate to get home but also wanting a little time to revel in the achievement and soon the lights of the Endurohouse were sparkling in front of me. I cycled round the last roundabout and up to the drive where Lynn, despite the fact in was about 2am, was, bless her, waiting for us to get home. I very happily got off the bike and gave her a big hug while she offered many congratulations. I gave Ed a huge hug and I could see how pleased he was for me. I couldn't wait to give Ad a massive hug as well and he told me how proud he was which meant the world. Honestly, they were such a wonderful crew and I couldn't have done it without them.

We all piled into the house where I proceeded to eat my body weight in Cadbury's chocolate fingers accompanied by a steaming hot cup of tea before having a quick shower and heading straight to bed!

* This is not as rude as it sounds (!) - it basically means when you totally run out of energy - similar to hitting the wall in the marathon

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Part 3! The swim....

So we woke about 0530hrs as we needed to leave about 0615 to get down to the beach and get my wetsuit on etc. I had some cereal and a cup of tea and a bit of astretch. I felt pretty ok considering the run only a few hours before, no niggles and not too much stiffness. I had a warm shower just to loosen up and then we loaded all the kit into the Endurovan ready for the trip down tothebeach at Playa Blanca. Ed and Adam would kayak with me during the swim whilst Lynn would man the feed point, a little jetty at the far end of each lap. It was still dark as we piled into
the Endurovan and headed down to the beach. I was feeling nervous about the swim as I have done both the bike and run distances before but this was totally new to me. I had done a few ten km swims (just over 6miles) in the pool but hadn't been in the open water for ages! I hadn't even swum open water much last summer as I had been training for the Double swim which was in a pool. I had done the Channel relay last summer but that was all off pool training too - how would I fare?! I struggled into my wetsuit (it is a large and yet it is still a tight fit - how embarrassing and how can that be when I'm only a size 12??!!) and Adam greased up my neck well with vaseline. I popped on my hat and earplugs and stood goggles in hand with Eddie waiting for the command to head into the water. We had a few minutes to go before 0702 am so I had a cuddle with Adam, trying to absorb some of his calm and dispel my own nerves. Finally it was time to hit the water, Ed paddled out in front in the kayak and I headed slowly into the water to start the first lap. The course is 12 laps of just under a mile which I wasn't sure would be good or bad mentally though I am used to lap courses from the Double. It was still only just getting light but the water was warm so I concentrated on just trying to find a rhythm and following where Ed was going. The first lap was spent mainly working out the course, where to avoid the pontoon and buoys that were around, how to sight things and generally waking up the body. I didn't stop on the first lap but just gave Ad and Lynn a wave and carried on. On the way back from the first lap, Eddie left me to go and exchange with Ad who was going to do most of the kayaking with me. I headed on along the course I had been instructed to follow. Normally I am a bit perturbed swimming by myself but I felt quite calm and I knew lots of people were looking out for me. The only time I got a bit of a shock was with the ferries. The ferries and sea cats pull in to dock just past the jetty and they loom huge next to you if you happen to be down that end when they pull in. I wasn't too concerned by them as I have swum close to huge tankers whilst doing the Channel relays and Ed had warned me in advance of them. He had told me that they might sound their horn but not to worry, they are not trying to tell me to get out of the way, it is the sound they make when reversing! So I wasn't worried as one pulled up close by me and headed into the dock. I heard the sound of the horn which sounded deafening as the huge ship manoeuvred into place but what I hadn't realised (doh!) was that to reverse they first have to swing forwards before backing in. So I heard the horn and then saw the boat heading straight for me!! I wondered for a moment whether Ed may have got confused and actually it really was trying to warn me and had a moment of mild panic but I knew I was being silly and put my head down and ploughed on. I looked up to check moments later and it was thankfully now fully into reverse and I wasn't going to get squashed any time soon!

It seemed to be taking them quite a while to catch back up with me but I wasn't too worried at this stage and swam on to the turnaround point at the opposite end of the bay to start lap two. On the way back to the feed point across the bay, I was joined again by the kayak but was surprised to sea that it was Eddie and not Ad who was still in it. I stopped to enquire as to where Ad was and if he was ok but it turns out Ad wasn't quite as confident a kayaker as he might have thought and, not wanting to get in the way of my swim, he had bowed out and Ed had continued as kayaker in chief! It actually worked out well coz it meant Ad could be on the jetty with Lynn every time to do my feeding and seeing him was a nice boost every lap. :)

From lap 2 onwards I stopped every lap to have a drink of H30 Pro or squash or a cup of tea if I was really lucky (!), munch on a macaroon which really seemed to work against the salt, exchange a couple of words with Ad and Lynn and head off again. The sea was really clear and I enjoyed swimming along. There is a pontoon about halfway across the bay which became a good way to break the swim down but as I passed it on the return leg of lap 3, I felt a stinging sensation against my leg (almost like the sensation of licking a battery (don't ask!) but against my leg), just on the exposed bit of my ankle and foot that wasn't covered by wetsuit. I stopped to brush my foot but didn't see anything untoward so carried on. The first few laps were spent establishing marker points, swim out to the pontoon, avoid the row of buoys (babies heads), stop with Ad and Lynn for a macaroon, back past the babies heads to the pontoon and then as I breathe to my left I could watch along the coast for land marks to take me to the turn point. There was Betty's green door (named after my sister), Prisoner Cell Block H which was a terrifying old grey stone building on the headland, and the 'Fish of Doom'! I don't know why they got called that as they were very pretty and I enjoyed swimming along with them every time I reached the place where they must have gathered but the Fish of Doom just seemed to fit! Then it was a case of counting four lamp-posts along the promenade and I was back at the turn-point again. I really enjoyed the first six laps or so which was about 5-6 miles (the maximum I had swum in training) and then it started to become a little bit more tough. The wind had picked up making it a lot choppier and Ed was being thrown about in the kayak every time I tried to come in to the jetty to feed (which was become harder and resulted in a few unglamourous 'beaching' scenarios against the smooth rocks next to the jetty!). I started to get tired and bored of swimming but tried to remain positive. As I turned at the end of each lap it reminded me of the military fitness test the 'Bleep Test' and the little voice would go off in my head, 'Start of level 7' etc. I mentioned this to Ed at the start of level 8 and it seemed to amuse him for a little while! :)

Laps 8-10 were really hard, I was struggling mentally and getting tired (though I found out this really was in my head as my laps times - give or take a bit for the worsening of conditions - stayed pretty constant) and I entertained quite serious thoughts about a) not doing the cycle and b) not doing the A2A but funnily I never thought much about just stopping the swim. And I think that is a lesson for the A2A, think all you want about quitting at a time in the future but never actually quit then!!! I think I told Lynn around this time that I was pretty sick of swimming and I thought I was exhibiting all the signs of being a moaner but both Lynn and Ed said they didn't feel I was ever struggling at all! It is funny how people's perspective can be so different!

By the start of lap 11, I had picked up a little bit as I knew I was on the penultimate lap and I just had to get to Ad (that kept me going each lap - just get to Ad, just get to Ad) turn around and then I was on the final lap and knew I was heading for the end. Lap 12 was such a relief, I swam along trying to enjoy it all and saying goodbye to all my little landmarks (Bye, Betty's door, Bye Fish of Doom!) and counted down those last few lamp-posts until I reached Ed who was there to escort me round the end of the beach into the next bay to the finish.

A few people had stopped to talk to Lynn and Ad as they waited for me to exit and they couldn't believe what I had spent the morning (and the night before doing!) - it was lovely to have a few congratulations from the little crowd as I headed out of the sea. Despite looking like a disheveled porpoise Ad gave me a big hug as did Lynn and offered huge congratulations! I was so excited to be done though the sea really was beautiful and not cold at all so I can't complain too much!

(Much as it looks like it I am not having a good sob in this pic, I am just glad to get the goggles off - will I have marks for ever?!)

Ed gave me a good handshake and promptly set off up the beach kayak in hand! I followed along up to the car park where I was unceremoniously stripped and bundled up in warm clothes to keep me warm. We dumped all the wet stuff into the back of the Endurovan and headed back home happy in the knowledge that we were two stages down! It was my least favourite element to come but I've biked 80miles loads of times and I knew that I could do it, even if it was slow and painful! Lynn laid on a fabulous spread once more and I had a lovely hot shower before settling down to try and have a snooze ahead of the cycling. My swim had taken 6hours and 31minutes finishing at 1.33pm so we were due off at 6.33pm that evening. A night of cycling lay ahead!!

Part 2!

Ok, I have an hour or so spare so I have poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down determined to bring this blog up to date! So, I awoke on the morning of the Lanzarote Ultra feeling surprisingly calm but having to endure the wait until our proposed 4pm start time was a bit nerve-wracking. We had decided to start then as I estimated it would take me 11hours to complete which with the 5hrs rest period allowed would then bring me to 8am which would be a good time to swim. I couldn't swim before 7am which I assumed was because it would still be dark making it hard to see me and where the kayak was going but later Eddie told me was actually because the dawn was the prime time for sharks feeding!! I hope he was kidding!!

I sat calmly most the day with a short trip into town to get last minute supplies. My food choices were random to say the least and included Pepperami and Wotsits for the run and macaroons for the swim. I had no idea what I'd want to eat but I know when I raced in the desert that I didn't want any of the carbie stuff I had brought with me but instead survived on a diet of mainly babybel and biltong!! I guess I obviously need fat and salt in the heat as opposed to sugar which given how slow we were going probably made sense!

Adam sorted all the kit out and loaded up the Endurovan while I had an afternoon snooze conscious that we'd be running through the night. Lynn took post-run feeding instructions (chicken supernoodles - yum!) and we got ready for the off. Ten minutes or so before hand I got changed into my kit for the first leg of the run and we took some photos for Herbalife with the Enduroman banner. Then it was a gentle meander to the end of the drive for the start! Lynn gave me a big hug and with a quick kiss to Ad, Eddie started the count down to exactly 4pm. 3,2,1 and off I went!

I had explained my strategy to Eddie and Ad that I would run the flats and downhills and walk all the uphills which given the terrain of Lanzarote I thought would work out about right with regards to walking breaks. I did feel a bit foolish though as the first hill was within about 200m but I stuck to the plan, power-walked up and headed off again! I am always pretty grumpy for the first 10-15miles of any run. I can't explain why, I think it must take time for me to warm-up. Plus, and it sounds silly, I have run 10-15miles gazillions of times and I get so bored of it. I'm like, 'enough already, get me to the start of the long stuff!' This run was no different and though I headed off chirpily I was pretty unamused for the first ten miles! The first ten miles loop round El Golfo which is actually a beautiful place to run so I can't complain too much but at 4pm in the afternoon it was still baking hot. I just tried to keep myself to myself knowing that once we got into the 20s and the evening came I would enjoy it much more.

At ten miles we completed the first El Golfo loop which finishes just below Eddie and Lynn's house so Lynn was there to check progress. I was probably still a bit grumpy at that stage but Lynn and Eddie are wise and always know exactly what to say! They don't put up with any whining but equally they know when you need a bit of support. I had worried about having Ad as my support crew because I worried that sometimes if you are having a really bad patch and all emotional, having those close to you can make you a bit soft, safe in the knowledge that whatever happens they will still love you whereas if you are with strangers you have to get on with it a bit more. That was definitely the case with my two Channel relays - they were so tough that if I'd have been with friends I probably would have given up on it but I wasn't and my quitting would have upset other people's dreams so I had to dig in. Anyway, I needn't have worried, whether Ed had given Ad a little coaching during their many hours sat watching me in the Endurovan or whether he's just a natural, Ad was a brilliant support team and will be thrilled to know he's made the cut for the A2A!!

Miles 10-15 are down the side of the highway into town which basically one long flat hot expanse of road - it was probably my least favourite part (don't ever let me do Badwater then!!) especially as my tummy was a little troubled which is unlike me but might have been the nerves or the heat or something. I had a few stops by the side of the road a la Paula where luckily there was a ditch to protect my modesty! Reaching mile 15 was fantastic as I knew I would probably enjoy things a lot more from then on. It was getting cooler by this point and we turned off the main road into the suburbs heading out to the lighthouse at a point on the coast. As night feel I really started to enjoy running and really loved the run from about miles 17-21 out to the lighthouse on the coast. It was on tiny quiet roads, tracks almost and it was quiet and still and warm. I felt very calm and ran pretty much all the way between miles 15 and 30 which is almost unheard of for me now! I stopped as we reached the lighthouse around mile 20 and changed into a long sleeve top and had a quick rest for some wotsits and a pepperami. The pepperami were amazing. I wanted to eat one at every stop though Ad thought that probably wasn't wise (!) and also he wanted to keep one in hand he said, 'in case I started crying!!' It's not often a pepperami is the thing that would cheer you up if you were having a little cry but it was certainly a possibility at this point!

After the lighthouse you join a coastal path which turns into a promenade which runs all the way along the coast through the town of Playa Blanca on the seafront down to the bottom of the island. It was a bit difficult to locate the start of the path and I nearly broke my ankle when my headlight gave out! Eddie ran after me with a spare but that didn't seem much better and I precariously picked my way along the coastal path to the start of the beachfront hotels and cafes and the lights of the promenade. About half way along the promenade comes the marathon point of 26.2 miles which I reach in around 4.5hrs. I couldn't believe it as my stand alone marathon best time is only 4.06 and I was concerned I had gone off too fast! But I was feeling so good running along in the dark that I decided just to carry on and see how it went. Eddie had also told me that once we are through the town of Playa Blanca and heading back to their house we go up a long winding hill for about 6kms so I knew I would need to walk then anyway. I think he was concerned I was going to finish too fast as if I finished before 2am (10hours of running) then we would be too early for the swim start! I promised I would rein it in (ha!!) and not finish before 2am.

After the marathon point, the Endurovan had to leave me for a few miles as it was a pedestrian area so Ad got onto the mountain bike to support. As the promenade was busy with holiday makers having their dinner and perusing the shops it actually became quite difficult for him to keep up with me (!) but I figured it was only one way and he'd find me so I headed on. It was really funny to be running along at night with all these people on holiday just out for their dinner and here was I a marathon into a 45mile run which was to be followed by an 11 mile sea swim and an 80mile bike! I did get some funny looks but probably not half as many as I would have got if I had explained what I was doing! The promenade finally ended a few miles short of 30miles, up a hill to a view point overlooking the sea. I found the Endurovan where Eddie had made me a cup of tea! It was just what I wanted but I recollect Lynn's surprise when recounting this tale as, though Eddie has a passion for tea itself, he rarely ever makes a cup! I must have been doing something right!

I'm a bit of a tea-drinking wimp and it was a bit hot for me so I decided to have a walk break for 5minutes or so and walked along with my cup of tea in hand. I always think it is best to keep moving when you are doing stuff like this, stopping isn't going to get you any closer to the finish! So I slurped tea and much on some wotsits as we doubled back on ourselves back through town to the foot of the Red Mountain. The route leads up the Red Mountain before dropping back to Lynn and Eddie's house on the other side at 35miles before a second reversed loop of El Golfo brings you to 45miles in total. The slog up Red Mountain was another low point for me. It wasn't particularly steep but as I was walking it just seemed to take forever and ever to get anywhere. I attempted to run on a few occasions but once my legs had got into the walking slog it was hard to shake them up to run again without a downhill to reinvigorate them. It also a difficult place for the support crew as there is nowhere really to park the Endurovan so they had to leave me for a mile or two at a time which means, walking up hill you can be alone for 30minutes or so at a time. I just kept looking up a the black night sky and the stars and thinking 'what am I doing, what am I trying to prove here?' I thought a lot about the A2A and whether I still wanted to do it and hard it would be etc. It was a low point and it was a slog but I just put my head down and got on with it - after all what other choice did I have. I didn't entertain the thought of stopping so if I wasn't stopping I may aswell just keep moving and get on with it! Still I was extremely relieved to reach the turnoff point half way up the mountain (and relived I wasn't expected to walk on to the top!) and have a handful of wotsits before the last few downhill miles back to Lynn and Eddie's where I had a break coming.

Those few downhill miles were really steep and I didn't have much control of my numb little legs so I just took off, wheeling down the hill and just trying to relax and go with it. The soles of my feet were getting a little sore now though the change into new shoes just before the climb up red mountain had definitely helped. I freewheeled into the garden of the house where Lynn was waiting to greet us. Both Eddie and Lynn advised I had a little rest at this point and some decent food before heading back out as it was important to keep the calories going in before the swim tomorrow morning but I just wanted to get it done. I think Ed was still concerned I was going to come in before the 2am barrier but I reassured him that I would rather end up walking the last few miles as a cool down and eating opportunity then I would stopping for too long. Stopping is mentally quite difficult as it is easier then to stop, full stop whereas if at least you are out there moving you know the goal is getting closer no matter how far away it is.

So my fabulous crew only had a few minutes to load up on some wonderful pasta and sauce lynn had prepared, have a stretch out and get back in the vehicle to support their impatient little athlete through the last 10miles. The first few miles of the El Golfo loop were ok as I knew it wasn't far to go. However, in the last 6-7miles I did start to get a bit tired plus I knew I needed to walk a bit to stop me getting in before 7am and once you start to walk for long periods it is hard to get going again. Ed and Ad thought I was just timing the run to perfection but actually, over those last few miles I am not sure I could have gone much faster anyway! It was a relief to reach Yaiza (which I felt I saw about a million times over the course of the Ultra as the route passes through there so much on the run and bike!) the closest village to Eddie and Lynn's and know I just had a few miles to go before I was home. The last roundabout before their house couldn't come quickly enough and I was so happy to see it! I jogged the last climb into there house and Eddie stopped the clock at 02:02am which gave me a run time of 10.02hours and was timed perfectly for a 0700hrs start for the swim. I decided to take the maximum rest between each element as this was just a training experience for me, I wasn't trying to beat any records and I will have the same attitude for the A2A so why not practice now! I think I ended up beating Ed's run time by about 6minutes though (is that secretly why he wanted me to slow down! ;)) which I am not sure he was that impressed by!! :) After a big hug from Lynn and a congratulations from my crew I settled down to a big bowl of chicken super noodles which I discovered during the Double Ironman, which were absolutely perfect. A quick shower, stretch and change into my Skins leggings to help recovery and the crew and I headed to bed! Stage one successfully completed and I was pretty chuffed with the run. Despite some low points a lot of it had been really positive and I felt confident going forward for the A2A.