Monday, 22 June 2009

22 hours and 20 minutes! :)

I can't believe it's all over! I completed all 85 miles in 22 hours and 20 minutes and 11 seconds and I'm over the moon. I didn't care what time I did it in but I was and still am grateful that I didn't have to ever panick about making it under the cut off as that would have been stressful. I also beat my mum's personal best by 4 and a half minutes which is a bonus.

I was so nervous in the morning getting ready for the huge day ahead. I could hardly speak to my family and when my sister asked what was wrong, I shed a few nervous tears.

As I was approaching Peel, I was very excited, but nervous about going beyond that point as it was unknown territory for me. However, I felt very happy and comfortable up untill Andreas which is 55.5 Miles, however, after that, particulary after Ramsey, I started going downhill drastically.

My worst problem at that point was chaffing in between my legs. A problem I hadn't experienced before. This is very embarrasing, but it was killing me and I had to sort it there and then or it could have very well stopped me from achieving my goal. I thought it might have been the shorts as they were lycra and very tight, so I changed to baggier shorts but it made no difference and I then figured it was actually the knickers I was wearing which was causing the pain, so I took them off! By that point I had lost all dignity and self respect. All I wanted to do was finish and I was willing to do anything to get there. It did do the trick so I'm glad I did it. It made it much less painful although I have now got scabs from it.

Once I had sorted that problem, I was fine again (apart from feeling a bit drunk). However, just before Lonan, all my blisters decided to pop at the same time and up untill that point it wasn't causing me too much bother. My feet were sore, but it was managable. But when all my blisters popped I actually said outloud "Oh no" and from that point onwards I had to walk on my tiptoes, it was either that or giving up so tip toes it was. I only put up with it because I only had 10 miles to go. At the time it felt like a huge distance but I kept telling myself that I had plenty of time and I'm not giving up after walking so far, it simply wasn't an option.

Up untill Andreas, I was very chatty to all my support crew and other walkers but after Andreas my family said I was funny. I didn't have the energy to appear happy or even talk. My main food supply was mash potato with cheese and fruit - blueberries and strawberries. At the beginning I was asking very politely in full sentances what I wanted from my support crew but towards the end I was giving one word instructions very bluntly. My friend Lucy who was in the support car even texted me at one point saying something on the lines of I'm doing so well, keep going. I had so many familiar faces around me cheering me on which helped me so much. My friend Jo spoke to Manx Radio Live and annouced me on air and wished me luck. I didn't hear it but I was told about it and it's just so nice to have that support, it really kept me going.

The worst part of the whole event by far is walking in the pitch black for several hours. It was horrible. I couldn't see where I was going and I was terrified of twisting my ankle or falling over which is easy to do when you are tired. Also, this slowed me down because I was watching where I put every step and because I had a torch in one hand and a drink in the other it made it very difficult to eat.

I must have drank so much and I went to the toilet probably over 15 times and that is not an exaggeration. I was worried about getting dehydrated, I've heard so many stories about people giving up due to that reason and I was making sure that didn't happen.

Just before Lonan, I saw this poor man suffering so badly, his back was leaning badly to one side and he gave up and by looking at him he had no other option. Now I understand why some people just have to give up, because I saw it with my own eyes, but he did amazing to even get that far in the pain he was in, I congratulated him in as much enthusiasm as I could muster. That made me scared, I thought, gosh, what if that happens to me, it made me so scared thinking about not making it after reaching as far as Lonan. When I finally reached Onchan church I shed a few tears of relief because at that point I knew I had cracked it and I could sense the finish line.

I always knew that I'd complete it, but I also knew it was going to be extremely tough. I mentally prepared myself which is just as important, if not more important than being physically prepared. I was constantly having a fight with myself. My body saying stop, my mind saying keep going -my mind always wins. When I want something, that's it, nothing gets in the way.

My mum took several photos of me and I remember having a really happy smiley face at Jurby with my thumbs up and when my mum took a picture of me on the promanade I had my thumbs down and I said outloud "This is to remind myself to never do it again." and I was being serious at the time but I'm already coming round to the idea of another attempt.

The pain I experienced yesterday was unreal, I actually crawled into my home! Getting ready for bed was harder than actually walking, and even when I was ready for bed I was in so much pain that I couldn't sleep so in the end my sister gave me her laptop and I was on the Parishwalk website for the rest of the day and my lovely sister kept me company all day. I literally couldn't bend my legs without extreme pain and my feet were so sore as I had so many massive blood blisters which some had already popped and some hadn't. My mum had to pop the remaining blisters for me, usually I'd be fine doing it myself, but not this time, I was too tired and sore and because it was blood, I thought it was going to hurt. This is not a joke when I say I was in bed for almost 24 hours and asleep for about 12 of those hours and on the odd occasion I had to get up, I crawled there. Dad said I was like Lady Muck, being waited on hand and foot. I rang my brother at one point asking him to get me a drink and my sister made me lunch and mum had to empty my three weeks of food from the car. My jaw hurts from eating it all.

I fell asleep at 17:00 and stayed asleep untill 04:30 and I was wide awake after that and I started getting ready for work as I had a 07:30 start. Work was OK, I did all the paperwork, this morning I was glad I was on an early and not a late shift.

Today, I am feeling much better, I can bend my knees and my muscles aren't too bad but my feet are still in agony. Both feet are bruised, full with blisters and swollen. Mum says she is going to keep an eye on my feet incase they are infected but I'm sure they will be fine.

Well that's it, my very last post. My next challenge is to run a marathon which will surely be easier.

Congratulations to everyone and I have enjoyed writing this blog!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on finishing :) I've been following your blog since Febuary and it's actually quite inspiring :) I'm going to attempt the End to End this year as it's just after I hit 18!

Nigel said...

Nice end to a great blog. Fantastic effort to finish it - I must have just passed you on the prom (sorry!) without realising or I'd have said hello!

Very well done.

Martijn Biesmans said...

Hi Julia, very well done on your finish ! Unfortunately we didn't meet each other at the presentation because I would be happy to speak some dutch again !

Congratulations !

Best regards,