A little background: this is a 24 hour event where we run as many laps as possible of an off road 10k route from midday Saturday to midday Sunday. There are solos, pairs and various teams. I was part of a team of six.
Having run at 1.45pm and 7.15pm on the Saturday, I tried to get some sleep before my next lap which was due around 0.30am Sunday morning. Sleeping is not easy as you know you have to up and ready to run again so soon. I dosed and slept a little for 2 hours and getting out of my sleeping bag was the single hardest thing I did that weekend. If I had not been in a team, I would have rolled over and slept. No doubt about that at all, but I was in a team and that made the decision for me.
When I got to the start/finish/changeover area there were of course lots of people waiting like me for their teammate to appear and hand over the baton. This area is floodlit but as the runners are all coming with headtorches blazing it was really hard to pick out your runner. Needless to say I did and I was off.
I immediately felt fine despite running a 5k on Saturday morning and 2 hard 10ks at the Thunder Run. I got my headtorch set the way I wanted it and started to pick off runners through the first wooded climb and settled into a good rhythm.
I am a bit of a slave to my watch, looking at it to check pace, distance etc too much so it was quite liberating to not be able to see it. I could have pointed my headtorch at it but I doubt I'd be able to read it without glasses and I'd forgotten how to press the backlight ! The first time I saw it was after the end of the lap.
As the lap progressed I really started to enjoy it. Firstly I felt strong which always makes things easier. I was running in Luna sandals as I did for all but the first lap, which make me run "light", aware where my feet are, careful not to stub a toe (I never have yet, but that will come !). As I negotiated the twisty wooded trails I really felt like I was floating along.
Weather update: there was none. No rain, not a breath of wind. Absolutely still and dark. All I could hear was the pitter patter of my feet and my breathing. It was quite magical. As I emerged from the woods at around 5 miles I could see street lights all around to the south towards Birmingham. Once I dropped down off the escarpment, I could no longer see the lights but only their orange glow in the sky.
I ran hard to the finish, handed over to Mike and felt quite elated. I got a drink of water from the stall and two ladies did the same. We looked at each other and collectively went "Wow". We had all experienced the same thing and subsequently I've heard similar remarks about that night lap.
I can honestly say I've never felt so at peace. I did wonder if I was just caught up in the euphoria of the moment, which is part of the reason that I havent written about this until a few days after. No, I've felt so good and calm working this week, and I am reliving that run as I write this with a smile on my face and a glow in my heart.
No photos of this lap for obvious reasons but here are some from a most fantastic weekend.
Chhilling in camp !
Light of Birmingham after "that" lap
About to tackle the last hill of my 5 10k s in 24 hours
4 laps done, 1 to go
With my team and jeez I look bald (not true I promise !)