On Thursday, my alarm went off at 4.20am, and I knew what I had to do. Go and run my first ultramarathon. 53km, 3300M positive ascent.
Soon after arriving in Switzerland from France at just before 7am, I started to get my thoughts together. My support crew would see me on the way - but this bit I had to handle alone. As I waited on the start line, I had a tap on my shoulder and it was Jaime! I had met Jaime on top of a mountain on a training day, when we had discovered we would be doing the same race. We wished each other well for the race, and we were ready to go.
The first 7km were straight forward, feeling the pace and getting comfortable. My concern was the 17km in the next stage between checkpoints. Funnily enough, this seemed relatively easy going, and I got to the next checkpoint without much issue. It was about 15 miles in, and a large climb in front of me, that I started to feel tired and the doubts set in. I was feeling tired...the sun was blisteringly hot...it would still be a little while till the next refreshment post and a long way until the finishing line. But I got through it - a good talking to myself, some food and water from my bag, the remembering that I had some of the support crew waiting to cheer me on at the next checkpoint, the determination to finish because I had worked so hard for this - I was not going to go down without a fight.
Then a funny thing happened. An elderly gentleman watching the race, mentioned as I went past him that he thought I was "premier GB femme". It was like spark going off in my brain. I didn't know if it was true; I had thought earlier on in the race I might be top 50 hopefully. But first for Great Britain on the first year they introduce the OCC - well, that would be cool. But A) It might not be true, and B) Nothing is certain until the finish line.
My boyfriend confirmed the gentleman's assertions at the next checkpoint in Vallorcine, and after briefly seeing familiar faces, more food for the journey and fresh hope, I was on my way for the next climbs.
The following miles were tough, but also fond memories of yet more beautiful scenery, time spent to reflect, and the constant drive to get to the end, and finish my first ultra. The longest I have ever competed in is a half - marathon, and I was not prepared to go home without an ultra to my name.
The clock confirmed my finish time as 07:39:34. I was 8th woman overall, 5th for SE F category, 1st woman for GB.
I had a crazy idea in January to run over 50km in the mountains. This August I made sure that happened. Got something you want to do? Listen to yourself, and prove to yourself you can realise what you didn't think could happen. It can, so make sure it will.
Now for the next races...