The morning started off well. I woke up refreshed having had a good night’s sleep. The kids were nice to me and once night fell everyone slumbered peacefully under canvas. I did not have a little green kitty cat roaming the tent, or get body slammed by a giggling Baby Bea while I slept.
I’d laid out all my gear and stowed it safely in a little black rucksack before we set off for the campsite so I knew everything was ready and all set to go. I was very prepared.
I got up early and hit the showers before there was a queue. On the way to the wash block someone handed me a cute helium balloon with the little running Twisted Ankle dude on it. Thinking that the kids would love that I held on to it. While I showered I tied it to my kit bag so it wouldn’t drift away.
Chatting to Bill as I ate my Weetabix breakfast I watched as a balloon lingered and bobbed along the path by our tent, then rose up and soared jerkily away high into the sky. I passed comment on the poor child who must surely be crying having let go of their balloon.
Then I realised that there was something attached to the balloon’s string. It was a bag. My bag, with all my running gear tucked neatly inside. Top, skirt, socks, trail shoes, Garmin, Gu. All disappeared hopelessly out of reach and sight.
I couldn’t replace the Garmin but at least I had spare clothes in the tent. I also luckily still had my hand held water bottle and a toy snake. I was distressed and out of kilter, but I garbed up and made it to the start line by the lake just in time to catch the Race Director giving instructions before we were off and down the trail.
The race was fun.
It poured with rain and we got sloppily muddy and soaked to the bone. Getting up Becky’s Bluff was an ordeal and an half. I kept Martha in my sights and following her footing chugged along behind her trying not to slide back down the mountain prematurely. Aid stations were good and plentiful, but none more so welcoming as the one at the top of the mountain. I ran fueled by a gastronomic feast of smily gummi bears.
After an eternity of running my legs were burning by the time we got to a downhill stretch back towards the lake and what I hoped was the finish line. Did I still have a bit of kick left? Yes I did.
I stepped it up a gear and started to slip and slide my way back down the mountain. I verily hurtled and felt like I was flying. I lost one green dinosaur wellington boot about half way down and the other wellie got sucked off my foot in a bog at the bottom.
I kept on running, and running barefoot. Toes squelched through the mud propelling me home.
What exhilaration to reach the finish line and cross it triumphantly!
Mud splattered, drenched in rain and sweat, and exhausted I fought for breath ignorant of my time. I watched the remaining runners coming in with a mixture of weariness and fight. One runner came charging in to the finish carrying two mud caked objects. I breathed a sigh of relief. Relief was two fold. One, I wouldn’t have to go back out there again myself. And two, “Thank goodness! Sam would’ve killed me if I’d lost his boots!”