Burnely Keith (aka Jeeves) found it difficult to get out of his pit this morning due to having stayed up late to watch a bit of TV. The subject matter he was perusing was a spot of naked treacle wrestling on ITV. Over a late breakfast this morning, Jeeves went on to explain that the wrestling ring was just about bigger than a small Vauxhall Corsa. "It was full t'brim" he exclaimed!
I checked the TV listings to make sure his story was accurate. It must have been Tarrant on TV that he'd seen. So if Burnley Keith's missus is reading this, rest assured that there will be no "extras" on the room bill.
Anyhow, back to all things running. I eventually got underway at noon from a spot just North of Middleton. There was a nice path for about 5 miles. When that finished, I was at the mercy of the busy A7. Just like the A9 last week I had to have maximum concentration at all times. At least this made the miles go over a bit quicker.
I was 8 miles into the run and it all of a sudden dawned on me that I had no pain whatsoever. There was no pain from my blisters. There was no pain from my shin. I think the last time that I ran as comfortably as this was right at the start in John O'Groats. The weather was a bit puzzling today. The forecast was for heavy rain but the sun shone down quite nicely all day. There was hardly any wind either. In fact, these were the best conditions I've ran in to date.
I had a banana stop at mile 9.5 and then reached the village of Stow soon thereafter. You can tell from the elevation profile where Stow is. It's right at the base of that 2nd spike on the graph about 14.25 miles in. The hill that followed was quite steep and I just got my head down and got on with it.
I reached the summit quicker than I thought and was able to increase the speed slightly going down the other side. I was going so well that I didn't have the next scheduled banana stop and waived Burnley Keith on for another mile. Just before the 2nd banana stop at 18 miles the pain in my left shin returned. It wasn't too bad at first. At the 20 mile point the pain became quite severe and it was accompanied by a similar pain in my right shin. I ran on for a further 3.2 miles with the pain, trying to focus on the music on my iPod in order to shut out the pain. This worked quite well and I managed to get within striking distance of Melrose. I should certainly get to Carter Bar or even beyond tomorrow.
I'm about 6 miles behind the overall planned schedule now. If you just take into account the required 24.1 miles that I need to do, then I'm about 19 miles ahead of schedule. That's almost a full day's running and lots of contingency in my book!
If I am faced with a painful end to each run over the next 24 days, then that's something I can live with. My gut feeling is that this pain will be gone in a week's time (and be replaced by something new no doubt!).
I just need to take a look at the ever increasing sponsorship total and this reminds me that all of this effort and pain is well worth it. I've survived one third of the required number of days. I've ran 308 miles, leaving approximately 560 miles left. Everything seems to be going to plan. My blister pain is hardly noticeable now. Although I am tending to them on a daily basis.
I suspect there may be 1 or 2 well wishers at Carter Bar tomorrow. So, I'm after an early start. I've therefore banned Jeeves from watching any TV tonight!
Thanks to all the new sponsors today and also to everyone who has taken the time to send me an email of encouragement.
This is Mark Allison signing off from Base Camp 7 in Melrose. May tomorrow bring less shin pain and tonight a bit less wrestling!