Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Chemo to Mountain Marathon in Two Years. Boom!!!

Cora has been training hard....
Most of the 2012 GUM club teams 

So somehow we made it.

Kit Gathering, such a light bag compared to climbing!
A lot of last week was spent scrounging kit and advertising my Just Giving page.  I successfully managed to borrow most things on the kit list and also doubled the money raised in the last 24 hours before the OMM. I easily beat my target, so thank you to everyone who donated. There were many times throughout the course of the weekend where I nearly gave up; remembering the amount of sponsorship that I had raised definitely kept me going!

The first night was COLD. I was very glad to have upgraded from the £12 Tesco sleeping bag I had originally planned on using. What had seemed like too many layers and too much food in Glasgow; now didn’t seem like anywhere near enough!
Getting to the starting line, we realized from the tension in the air that everyone else was taking the race quite seriously, but at least my borrowed penguin hat made me quite distinctive! We also realized that we hadn’t a clue what Class C of the OMM actually involved… Slight disbelief when one of the officials that we would have to choose our own checkpoints, it wasn’t a totally linear race. "How many points to we have to find again?" This score element of the course made me feel a lot more positive, I know that navigational cleverness would get us through not running ability.
EXCITED! well sort of....
I fell over into this stream, a lot of people laughed... yay!

Unfortunately we didn’t get off to the best start as I miss-timed the jump through the gate 100m up the hill and fell in a very wet, muddy bog. Oh well, at least that was getting wet feet out of the way! Saturday was a perfect blue-bird day, crisp, cool and sunny. It was hard not to be happy in the hills! That is until I ran on super frozen turf across The Calf and developed achingly bad shin-splints. I had hoped to just wing the running element of the weekend and blag my way through it. It soon became obvious that maybe I should have done some running specific training. Ooops!

In spite of being bang on with our navigation we couldn’t keep up with everyone who ran past us. The sun was low, we were going very slow. It must be late. We are going to get benighted. Are we even in the right place? Doubt and weariness creep in fast. Then we found out at the 3rd to last checkpoint that it was only 3.15pm; we were going to make it after all! Probably should have a watch with us next time. Although we entered camp 127th out of 138, we were so happy and couldn’t believe we had made it before dark!
Laura and Nikki going for it!
More special GUM club people. We definitely livened the event up that's for sure!

Cora's one man Terra Nova tent was the perfect size for us to have a cozy nest, good job we are both pretty small!
Amazingly one of the GUM Club teams made it into the chasing start the next morning. We definitely weren't envious of Nikki and Laura however, as they had to get up at 6.30am. Cora and I very much enjoyed out leisurely start, loads of food and 14 hours of sleep. In fact I actually felt a lot better and more rested on Sunday morning! That is until I put my shoes on and realised that walking was going to be extremely painful as I had totally forgotten to strap up the bruises and blisters. Luckily my shoes softened up when they got wet and I couldn't feel the pain once my feet had gone numb with the cold.

The weather was pretty horrific on day 2, which suited me perfectly! Having spent a lot of time out winter climbing in Scotland I knew that we were tough enough to handle it, but I was surprised to see that 40 teams dropped out of Class C. Running even felt good today! I quickly realised that we had got our tactics totally wrong on Saturday, we had purposefully avoided rough, steep terrain in favour of flat longer distances. Whereas actually, the steep uphill walked sections and tricky contouring was where we would repeatedly overtake the most people. We also saved a lot of time by being bang on with our navigation, we somehow didn't lose a single CP in the mist.

Our day 2 route - we chose the same points as the winning team!
Wet and muddy.... but so so so happy!
Running into the Finish Line, Cora and I admitted to each other that we would probably both end up crying as we finished. Sunday had been such a battle. There were a couple of hours where the only thing stopping me from retiring was the idea that so many people had sponsered me. We had to finish it and somehow we did. More impressively, we managed to jump 40 places to finish 87th; 9th out of the Female teams!

Slightly weatherbeaten penguin...
Thanks again to everyone who donated, £663 so far! Amazing! Maybe I will do another Mountain Marathon after all....

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