From Bad to Worse

I was now in unknown territory, I was entering into the second night, and passing my previous limit of 220 km of non-stop running. That night proved much worse than I’d expected.

Lluís stayed with me until just before Cambridge. When he stopped he realised that he had been on the bike for 16 hours straight – he was, needless to say shattered. Frank and Mark had bought him a little plate of pasta which he fell upon instantly and wolfed down before even getting back into the van.

Frank and I carried on into the night. In Cambridge, I had a wonderful surprise; Chris and Angela Mould’s two daughters and their husbands came out driving to find us and to cheer us all on. By this point I was feeling very nauseated, was utterly exhausted and was battling with desperation at the long dark night which lay ahead. Their visit brought me a ray of light which helped me on for a few kilometres more.

As the messages of support came in Frank would pass them on to me – this helped considerably also in keeping me smiling from time to time.

The night was too long and too excruciatingly difficult to describe here in the chronicles – it will have to wait for the book. But suffice it to say that it was perhaps the worst time I have ever had while running. I battled against nausea, exhaustion and sleep – the latter winning more often than not. I fell asleep while running too many times to remember. I lost focus on who I was, where I was, and why I was running through the night. All this, while trying desperately to keep up my speed, as the likelihood of me arriving on time grew less likely by the hour… When all else failed I kept Foodbank in my mind, and the importance of arriving on time.

At one of the aid stations, Lluís drew up beside me running to give me news. Our friends Quim and Fede from Lloret de Mar, were at that exact time running out and back along the Spanish coast, so as to support me in spirit. This unexpected gift lifted my spirits incredibly, and helped keep me going when I so desperately needed it.

The team too was struggling desperately against exhaustion and the cold. Lluís was struggling to keep awake and to provide the aid stations, while the cold invaded his body. Mark, who had not let go of the steering wheel throughout the whole challenge, except when he stepped out at the aid stations to help and to cheer me on, found himself slumping over the wheel frozen and asleep every time he parked the van. Despite all this he never lost his smile. Frank accompanied me almost through the whole night, and had almost as tough a time fending off sleep as I did. Just as I did, he succumbed to sleep too many times to count as he was cyling.

It was a desperate, torturous and dangerous night, and when the fist light of dawn finally touched the sky, my spirits rose slightly – I had made it through the second night! Maybe I could finally begin to pick up my pace, perhaps I could still make it in time for the half-time whistle…

Kilometrate!

4 Responses to “From Bad to Worse”

  • vilaprat:

    En todo el día había comido un pequeño cake que había comprado Frank, un trozo de pan que arranqué mientras cogia el isotónico y algunas galletas – vale! Casi todo el paquete del pobre Mark – Frank compró la pasta para la comida, pero no podía dejar a Alex tal y como estaba y Frank y Mark tenian trabajo de sobra con la ruta y tratar de dar noticias en el blog. Además Alex corria mucho a pesar de estar mal y cada parada, generalmente ella salia antes que yo, me tocaba pedalear fuerte para atraparla. Así que, ya anocheciendo, cuando Frank me arrancó la bici de mis piernas – estaba enganchado al banquillo – me lancé sobre el plato de pasta, sin duda la mejor que he comido nunca, la devoré en cuestión de milisegundos. Creo que Alex alucinó bastante de ver como me lanzaba a devorar la pasta. Si alguien, en aquel momento, me hubiera intentado quitar MI pasta le hubiera mordido la yugular!

    Si el dia antes pasamos frío por la noche esta fue mucho peor. Estabamos cansados y mal nutridos. Fue terrible! Creo que los que peor lo pasaron fueron Frank y Mark. Yo aproveché varias veces para correr con Alex, saliendo a buscarla un par de km de donde estaba la furgoneta y así recuperaba la temperatura y me mantenía despierto. Pero Mark estaba en nuestro congelador con ruedas!

    El sueño merece un capítulo entero del libro! Las alucinaciones, el peligro que supone quedarse dormido corriendo o en bici …

    Aquí fuimos cuatro murciélagos fuera del infierno. Murciélagos congelados y dormidos!!!

  • Quim:

    Vaya noche la que pasasteis! Fede y yo, des de la distancia, corríamos para ayudar pero ni intuíamos lo mal que lo estabais pasando! buff que grandes que sois!!!

    • Alex:

      Lo se pero ayudasteis mucho! Y no sabeís todaví lo mal que lo pasamos – eso saldra en la version lierario! Un beso y con ganas de veros mañana!

  • Alex:

    Si, fue muy duro para todo el equipo … pero en haberlo superado, nos hemos quedado todos mas fuertes!

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