So I finished teaching at 3pm yesterday and was straight out the door to catch my train up to the Lake District. I was picked up by Steve Edwards ('running god' would be a fair way to describe him) and he drove us round the last 6 miles of the course, to help prevent me getting lost. It also gave me a sneak preview of the nasty hill at 22 miles.
I was the last to arrive at Brathay Hall, but soon settled in and got a feel for the place. The other 11 runners make excellent company and the other people working on the event are great. We are extremely well looked after and I'm loving the way they refer to us as 'the athletes'. I had a pleasant massage this morning, between two courses of breakfast (there's plenty of good food here). We can leave drinks in boxes places every couple of miles around the course. Also, we're being studied for some research into endurance athletes, so they weighed us, took some blood and a saliva sample (it was the first time I'd come across the charming phrase 'passive drooling').
We did a fake start for the media, which will probably be on the video clips, then headed out to the real start just down the road. It was sunny and a little on the warm side for my liking, but an absolutely beautiful course. We ran through Hawkeshead: a very cute village, and saw lots of sheep and cows. A military jet flew by very noisily. The backdrop of the mountains is stunning (though I was glad not to be fell running). Having said that, it's a hilly route, including a 14% steep one at 7 miles. Windermere was looking pretty, almost making it worth the long climb up in the second half, where we rose up to gain a fantastic view over the water. I found it tough between miles 16 and 17, but not hitting the wall, just a bit tired.
I was thinking a couple of sub 4s during the challenge would be good and was aiming for 3:59. I was a tad quicker at 3:53, which was hopefully not too fast. There's a long way to go yet. Adam had rocked up looking like he was out for a jog, in 2:58, followed by Steve, Dave and Dave who were in not long after three hours. Shortly after me, Naomi and Ray came in under 4 too. Everyone completed it today and most of us took the option of an ice bath. It's VERY cold (actually 5 degrees) and ther was swearing. It really hurt my feet though otherwise it wasn't too bad. It lives in a horse box.
So not long now till dinner. The menu includes a different vegan option for me each day, some of them quite imaginative. We also need to learn how to use the machine that tells us our exact times for the run. Then another massage methinks. This is the life. I miss Jim (and our cat Tommy - he's an idiot, but a cute furry idiot) but I think I'm going to enjoy the next 9 days.