During the 10in10 the runner’s accommodation is in the Shackleton Lodge, a building hidden in the woods about quarter of a mile from the main Brathay Hall. I love being up there, amongst the trees and the bluebells. It is also very peaceful which I both enjoy as it is an escape from my normal hectic life and a perfect place to keep mentally preparing to run a marathon day after day. The lodge is fairly basic but clean and we get a bunk bed each. Runners tend to sleep in the bottom bed and lay out their cloths in the top one. Frankly by day 3 I couldn’t imagine any runner being able to climb into one of the top bunks anyway!
The windows to these rooms are sky lights in the roof so when it rains you here it landing on the glass and the bigger drops that come from the overhanging trees can make some fairly large thudding noises as they hit the window. Day 4 and it had rained most of the night, so with the noise on the window it had meant I’d had a broken night’s sleep and was well aware it was raining outside. This certainly doesn’t help motivate you to run a 4th marathon in 4 days.
Over the last few months I had prepared myself for a day like this, it is inevitable that it would happen at some point during 10 days in the Lake District so I wasn’t overly affected by the situation.
The race started as usual at 10:30am in the rain which was pretty heavy and it never stopped for the whole race, in fact it didn’t stop all day. I used plenty of Vaseline and make sure I didn’t suffer with any chafing, the last thing you want is additional problems in a 10 day event like this.
I didn’t enjoy the first half of the race, my left knee felt stiff like a rusty old door hinge and made my pace much slower and still hard work. I didn’t mind too much as long as it didn’t get any worse. Half way came up in 2 hours 21 minutes. On a down hill section at about mile 22, I somehow stubbed my big toe on my right foot into the front of my trainer, it must have been because everything was now so wet. It’s given me a blood blister under the nail and is very sore like when you hit your thumb with a hammer. I’ve never managed anything like that before. The second half fared slightly better and I finally finished with a time of 4 hours 37 minutes 13 seconds. Even thought the time was very slow for me, I took one positive out of the day by the fact I had managed my first negative split of the event. During the race my knee seemed to hold up the same as it had the previous few days. Once finishing I continued the usual daily routine of food, stretch off, ice bath and physio.
After this I went for a nice very welcome hot shower before my evening meal down at the main hall. This was when my knee started to swell and questions of whether I could continue first seriously came into my mind.
Total steps today 50,561