The long time in coming – Kit analysis!!

I promised I would write up about the kit we took with us – how it fared, what worked, didn’t etc… Sorry the delay! I forgot how daily life gets in the way. Running in the mountains was so much more relaxing :)…. So here is a starter for 10… And I will try and write more soon

1 x Runbreeze shorts – lightweight, dry quickly, perfect kit – apparently they no longer sell them 😦

1 x Runderwear Women’s brief – dry quickly, comfortable, don’t rub. However for the type of trip I was doing I would actually have take 2 pairs of runderwear boxers – see below!!! I am thinking maybe a women’s boxer needs to be the next addition to their fabulous selection of pants.

1 x Runderwear Men’s boxers – these were the best piece of kit I took with me! I know they are mens. But they were ridiculously comfortable and even though I often didn’t wash them for 3 or 4 days running – I think they might be self-cleaning, if that is at all possible – they didn’t chafe nor feel like they were dirty. And when I did wash them – they were dry within 20 minutes [either on me, or hanging off my bag!]. They didn’t shift about during running, and they didn’t feel horrible after 10 – 12 hours of running day in day out in a mixture of conditions – some very hot days, and some very wet days.

2 x Runderwear Women’s crop tops – very comfortable, and no rubbing at all [I was carrying a rucksack weighing between 8-11kg and I didn’t get pain from straps or anything]. Would highly recommend – probably not for anyone over C-cup though as it is more a crop top than a supportive bra. I wore it during the daytime and at nighttime – and if I got wet during the day, it was usually dry within an hour when I wore it to sleep in

1 x Nike Pegasus 32 trainers – amazing! Like a glove, and very comfortable. Ordered my next pair already. Only downside is the grip. I know they are designed for running in the mountains! But they are far and away better and more comfortable than any trail / off-road shoe I have ever used… If only there was a way of getting better grip but the same level of softness, padding etc… [hint hint Nike….]

1 x Kathmandu silk sleeping bag liner – so silky and soft and light. Made up for the lack of change of clothes!!

Advertisements

First run post Pyrenean adventure…

In typical Sophie style I decided to run two 5ks in the space of one morning!

To be fair – one was a parkrun pacing my mum. The second was a tough fell 5k [short 5k, but very steep!] in the Isle of Wight [where I was only 35 seconds down on my previous time a couple of years ago – I should have been quicker but lack of running has made that difficult!]

And I did debate doing an 8 miler that same afternoon….. But I am learning when to listen to my body!

The racing felt good. The knee not so. It was fine when I was running faster, but slower paced running, and walking is still aggravating it a little. Still massive improvement on 2 weeks ago!

And I have the bit between my teeth again… 2 races lined up already for October!

 

The LONG wait….

After the aborted mission to Barcelona – which didn’t help either mentally or physically – I headed to La Jonquera to meet Nick on route and join him again.

I knew I would rather keep going injured, and sick than hang around waiting. The mountains have this uncanny ability to make you yearn to be in them. I knew it would be tough, as I was still fairly weak from the noro-virus and my achilles still hurt, but I didn’t want to hang around anymore

The only catch – Nick’s mobile was no longer working… Somehow we made it work. Though I did wait for 8 hours in the scorching heat with little water and no food right by a motorway in order to meet him!

Photos….

So I am fully aware that we have lots of photos…. that we need to post

Apologies the delay. They are not forgotten.

2 weeks work in Italy followed Spain as well as much too-ing and fro-ing between London and Dorset.

I also think I shall write some kit reviews – as had some great stuff that kept me going, as well as one disastrous piece of kit!!! Which dissolved before our eyes… More to follow 🙂

Finished!

On the afternoon of Thursday 13th August we completed the GR11 route across the Pyrenèes, from Cap de Higuer to Cap de Cruz…22 days and 45 minutes! Having been separated from each other for 4 days, due to ill health, luckily on Tuesday we found each other again – without mobile phones as one had been damaged by water. What an adventure, plenty of stories to tell whilst quaffing Rioja…

The toughest decision ever & one that is still making me cry

Although there were times in the mountains these past 2 weeks where I wished the adventure would end, so I could give my limbs a rest, and my heart some time out. I would never in a million years have really wanted it to end.

Many a tear has been shed in the last 48 hours. And for the wrong reasons – not those of jubilation, but those of feeling at a loss as to how my body suddenly failed to cope.

All the things I worried about before leaving for the Pyrennees seem but silly trifles – would I be able to keep going? would my ITB survive the endless miles? Would I get bored? Would rats crawl over my face at night as we slept in bivvy bags under the stars? Would a bear chase me down a mountain side wanting to eat my last cheese sandwich? etc….

Nothing could prepare me for what really happened.

Firstly the weather has been pretty horrendous at times – epic thunderstorms have meant 2 terrifying descents off the tops of mountains. One storm the lightening was striking literally within yards of us. I was terrified. Honestly thought that those might be the last few moments of my life. Either being struck, or slithering off the side of the mountain as I dashed too quickly to escape the next lightening bolt.

Anyway on with the story – on one of these wet days I managed to slip, and gauge rather a deep hole into the top of my shin, just below the knee (having only a kilometre earlier smashed the same shin already on another rock)

Being me I pretended all was ok, and with blood pouring down my leg, escaping from a makeshift plaster, we slithered down a very hard 13km descent – where at times, we were clinging on to only the smallest of rocks and dangling for a few seconds whilst trying to find a foothold. I am only too glad we couldn’t see more than 10m in front of us, and my knee was in such pain – otherwise I would most likely have freaked out!

We finally reached the bottom about 3 hours later, and continued another 20km to where we stopped early. Bandaged the knee again and assessed the damage – permanent scar but should be ok otherwise…. Next day another thunderstorm and early finish, and bandaging knee again as still leaking.

Then things started to look up, as the weather improved and I was no longer having to pop ibuprofen to continue. However, I knew I had been over compensating with my right leg – taking all the weight that my injured left leg couldn’t….

For 4 days though this didn’t seem to be a problem. Then twang…. Heel of my right leg started to feel aggravated…. Thought nothing of it. A bit of rubbing against my shoe, surely it will get better in a few hours. And seemingly it did – beautiful sunshine, stunning views distracted me!

Splendid night time bivvy spot over looking a town, soft ground, good nights sleep, 6km rattled off first thing in the morning! Brilliant. On target for 21 days to do all 810km….. Possibly even quicker, as the days will start to get easier soon….

Stopped in the next town, to top up food supplies as no shops for 2 days…. And put my ruck sack back on. I can hardly move. Right heel is in agony. Redness is spreading. And I can feel a tendon rippling under the touch.

Quick trip to the hospital, bandage… 100 pounds worse off. But surely worth it! Strong tablets prescribed, and we agree a half days rest and stay in Encamps and start early the next day. Perfect!

Eating pizza that evening, and I am sweating uncontrollably. Feeling most peculiar. Put it down to 35 degree heat in the town, and general fatigue.

Go to bed.

1.15am wake up, stomach cramping really badly, sweating, nauseus….. Run to the bathroom. [omitted some details – apparently they were to much for some of readers!!!].

I faint and come to in a pool of sick, having crashed my head against a solid shower cubicle.

These bouts continues all night, and the bruise on my face and leg from where I fell have grown [I looked like I had been beaten and then pulled through a hedge backwards!]! I managed to contract a norovirus from the hospital. Great! At least the NHS is free…. Most expensive virus ever….

Morning comes, and we have to make a decision…..

The hardest yet. I wouldn’t be able to continue for a good few days. Was way to weak now. And achilles still hurting.

So knowing our time was limited, I told Dad to continue and I would meet him in a few days in La Jonquera. Where we could continue together for the last few sections.

Putting on a brave face I suggested going to Barcelona would distract me from the pain of having to miss a few sections. But it has been horrible! My head is not in the right space, and there are too many people. I miss the mountains.

As I said the hardest decision ever, and one I will probably regret for a long time. And continue shedding tears over.

I was so amazed before by what my body and mind had managed to achieve and the strength and resilience that I had found from somewhere deep within, that this set back really knocked me for 6. I am finding it difficult to reconcile in my mind.

Which brings me back to one of the reasons why I set off on this trip in the first place. To remember my friend Al who took his life a few years ago, and to try and support MIND in some way.

No one should feel so alone, and unable to deal with life. It is so precious, and even when it seems to be so shit, there is always something worth living for. And some excitement to inspire one.

Barcelona may not have been the answer to what I was looking for to distract me temporarily, but I was still able to find beauty in its architecture.

I am looking forward to leaving today, heading to Figueres where I will be one stop closer to La Jonquera, and hopefully able to continue running the last few days.

Thank you for reading – this has been hard to write