One ManOne RoadOne Lake

Paul Dewar takes on the ULTIMATE Tri Challenge

Get up to date with all the latest developments, from training to sponsorship to the event its self

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Day 21

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Day 21   Today the alarm went off at 5.15 am, well actually it didn’t go off as I was already awake and out of bed. A swift breakfast and sort out of kit followed before I found myself once again on the slab for one last leg loosening session. My tear was a little better and I was hopeful that I would be able to run a bit more today. As usual my hip flexors were taped up and my quads around the knee area were also taped to try and help me out as much as possible.   I was going off early again, 8am to be precise and was joined by Jack and Kaz. We all had decided to go early as we wanted to be back for the presentation at 3pm, in other words we had several hours to get the last marathon done.   The roads were lovely and quite, just a few cars with people going up to Brathay for the main marathon. The three of us enjoyed the stunning scenery and passed and re-passed each other as we ran our own races, but never seemed to be far away from each other. I had been told not to run down the hills, as it would load the muscle that was damaged too much, so I ran the flats and walked the rest. This seemed to be going well and I rounded the lake end in just under 3 hours.   Once past here I was on to the hilly bit up past Fell Foot to Beach Hill hotel. I felt reasonably strong here compared to the other days but could feel the downhills taking their toll on the torn muscle, even though I was walking. I was having to turn my foot which was aggravating my left hip a bit.   I jogged the flats up to Bowness at 20 miles and then I could feel the muscle giving way again. I decided at this point to walk and try and rest it a bit, then tried a bit more jogging. It was no good, the tear had obviously decided not to play anymore, not surprising really with what it had been through. I walked as best I could and knew that my sub 6 hour time I had hoped for was slipping away from my grasp.   As I dropped down into Ambleside it slowly dawned on me what I had achieved during the last 3 weeks, emotions were bubbling up close to the surface but I managed to keep them under control. As I approached the rugby club with half a mile to go I was struggling, not only to walk, but to keep myself together. I had my sun glasses on so nobody could see the tears of relief and joy that were rolling down my face, I couldn’t quite belief that I had achieved what had been dreamt up 2 years ago and been over a year in the…
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Day 20

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    Day 20   Up as usual this morning though I gave myself an extra 15 minutes in bed, feeling a tad tired for some reason. I was on the slab by 7 am and being gently pummelled till about 8.15. Adam then tapes me up to protect the muscle tear and I am ready to go.   Once again I was off at 9 am with Jack, he who has two muscle tears, and we sauntered/plodded off into the distance.   We managed a good number of shuffles between the ups and downs and did our usual speed march any other time. By 12 miles we had been moving for 3 hours and felt confident of a time beginning with a 6. As we rounded the lake the downhills took their toll on me, I could feel the muscle starting to ache and tighten so didn’t want to push on too much. We still managed the odd shuffle but I would have liked to have done a bit more.   The feed boxes came and went and we both enjoyed the support from many previous 10ers and also many people who had registered for the race day tomorrow, beeping their horns as they went by.   As we approached ice cream mountain Jack and I were asked what event we were taking part in by a young man running and a couple out for a walk. They both made our day and gave us some dosh for the charity. Thank you.   We plodded and shuffled along and eventually struggled up the drive and crossed the finishing line. Another one ticked off, another step closer to the goal.   1587 miles done (approx) in 20 days   26.2 left in 1 day   Usual distance 6:57
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Day 18

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Day 18   Once again I set off without a watch and once again my legs felt remarkably good compared to the previous days. I tend to spend the first few miles getting warmed up and assessing the body to see what is hurting and what is not. This morning was a tad different as I had to squeeze my wounded heel into my shoe. It actually was a lot better this morning and once I had shoe horned it in it felt a lot better.   Back to the running, as I said things were feeling good and I felt myself stretching along nicely, taking in the scenery and enjoying my running. I reached the turnaround feeling good and prepared to tackle the hills like yesterday. Things were going to plan and I had a good feeling that I was going to knock another 20 minutes off my time.   Around mile 16 I started to feel an occasional tingle in my left quad. I didn’t think much about as it seemed to be just fleeting so ploughed on. A few miles later and I knew I had a problem, the tingle had become permanent and was not getting any better.   I slowly trudged my way back to the finish, picking up a waterproof and some food to keep me warm as it was drizzling. I was pretty upbeat to be honest, I thought I had a muscle problem and although not fixable immediately, I knew that if I tried to protect it now I might have a chance to run on Sunday.   When I got back I was immediately assessed by Adam and put in the ice bath for 15 minutes to help reduce the swelling around the muscle. Once out I was assessed again and then Adam went to work to see exactly what was going.   The outcome, I have a grade 1+ tear in my vastus medialis, that is the smaller muscle above and to the inside of the knee. I will be doing no running as such tomorrow, but walking and shuffling. It will be a long day, but, let’s face it I’m not done yet. I will no doubt be having a little tickle on Hells door tomorrow at some stage.   20ish run 5ish hobble. 5 hours 38 mins
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Day 16

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Day 16   Traditionally in 10 in 10 terms this one is ladies day, were the men are supposed to dress up a bit for the start. This year instead though, the therapist’s team dressed up in dresses, all very funny and some great comments during the morning session.   The therapists all seem to be a great bunch and very professional, when not dressed as woman that is. My lads were on my by 7:45 and gave me a good session to flush things out and give me a good stretch out. Adam came and gave me the usual hip flexor stretch. I cannot describe how painful this is. He inserts his fingers deep into the side of my stomach to reach the muscle fascia and then gets me to move my leg. It has to be one of the most painful things that I have ever done. Rob, being treated on the next table to me said it was like a cartoon were Adam was reaching into my stomach to extract a comedy set of keys.   We started as normal at 10.30 and like yesterday I didn’t wear a watch so ran on feel. I tried to hold back as, well, you know, it is a marathon. I felt really good early on and had to make a pit stop at Hawkshead, I have to say that the public loos there are fantastic. Down to 10 miles or so and I thought I was moving at about the same time as yesterday. As I rounded the lake I felt about the same as yesterday, and so pushed on through the hilly section, trying to run the downhills as best as possible without taking too much out of my legs.   By the end of this section I still felt good and plodded the long flat road between 16 and 20 miles at a reasonable pace. Bowness came and went and I headed to ice cream mountain still feeling as good as yesterday.   This is where it starts to get hard, 4 and a bit miles to go and my form starts to go as the quads are getting really tired still. There is a lot of gentle downhills here and normally it is a great stretch of road to push on, but at the moment it is just not possible.   I wobbled a bit and came over the line having lost a bit of time in the last mile or so. My guys met me over the line and I was scooted straight in to recovery, food, stretch, ice bath, more food, treatment. It’s a bit of a routine now.   One sad note was that we lost a runner. Jim, who has done the event twice before and is a great supporter of Brathay, made the brave decision to pull out after really suffering with leg and hip problems. He is my roommate and I have seen the distress he has been in just…
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Day 15

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Day 15 Well, well, well, what a day of one whole. Yesterday I was subjected to some different treatments, more intense and more painful, followed by the usual pummelling that I get. This morning also I was attacked in the hip flexors by Adam, now that is painful. I was taped up again and sent on my merry way. The quads felt a little looser last night and this morning so I was hopeful that I might actually be able to have a bit of a stab at actually running for the majority of the course rather than shuffling along for half of it.   I set off as normal, without my watch, and trundled along as usual. After my pre-race thoughts of actually being able to run I was finding it surprisingly difficult to get going and was changing my mind about the day ahead of me.   I was distracted by various bods turning up to see me and the other guys from the Tri Club and this helped me to forget the miles as they went by. By mile 10 I was still not convinced that I was going any quicker, as I say, I didn’t have a watch. I plodded on and reached mile 14, from here was the test. I been struggling from here on during this event as it gets hilly and my quads can’t go downhill.   Well as it happens for once, my form held together and I managed to get further up the hills and even managed to have a go at running down the hills. What a difference. I was finally feeling that my legs were doing OK, still not fats but at least I was better.   I managed to hold my form more or less to the last mile were I it all went to pot. Who cares, I was nearly home so walked a bit then jogged it in. I was met at the bottom of the drive by my two therapists who immediately start to assess me and work out what needs to be done when I get in. A quick jog down to the finish and done for another day.   Mentally, I felt that this was one of my better marathons that I have run, physically perhaps not. I have been in for treatment and feel a bit looser still. We will see what tomorrow brings. Off to bed now   26.2 miles, surprise. 5:34 heading in the right direction at last.
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Day 14

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Day 14   Well, what a day of two halves, surprise, surprise.   Very similar to yesterday to be honest. I spent another hour on the slab being gently prepared for the start, but somehow the quads are not really getting any better at the moment, not surprising really. They have now done over 1400 miles in 14 days.   I set off at a steady pace which felt comfortable, but as yesterday by the time I was at the 10 mile mark I know that I was in for another long day at the office. I am now resigned to the fact that these marathons are going to take some time.   Much the same as yesterday the second half was a bit of a waddle rather than a run, and much the same as yesterday ‘it is what it is’ I did have some support on course today, great to see Alan D again and also several members of the UTC, Euan, Steve and Susan and some beeps from several people.   I’ve been in therapy again tonight and it is much the same as yesterday, quads are goosed. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.   26.2 miles erm 6:02, whoops
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Day 13

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Day 13   Well, today was a day of two halves, were have I heard that before?   I was in with my therapist boys, Sam and Nathan at 8am for a light flush out and general stretch. The quads were still tight but everything else was ok so I felt confident of a similar time to yesterday, oh how wrong I was to be.   We started off and I felt good, bit tight in the quads but nothing major. The early hills that I really dislike came and went and I was aiming at a reasonable 5 hours or so which was actually still on by the time I reached the half way point. By the time I wombled in to the feedbox at 14 miles I knew I was in trouble. The time was slipping away rapidly as my quads decided that enough was enough.   They were really tight and not playing at all and I was really struggling to run down the hills now as well as up. Plod mode was needed and I don’t mean any plod mode, this was extreme plod mode, a bit of a get me home plod. Even though I was struggling I found that I didn’t feel tired and that my head was in a very good place, enjoying the scenery and trying not to worry about the horrendous time that I was haemorrhaging.   The miles ticked by slowly, as I got slower and tighter. My form was all over the shop and I was trying to relax my shoulders and maintain some kind of form, not a chance.   Eventually I wobbled across the line, my slowest marathon ever and was whisked away for treatment and recovery. I can just about walk normally again now but stairs are still a problem. Hey ho, off to bed soon after a little bit of stretching. Another one tomorrow.   Do I need to say this, 26.2 miles, 5:55, whoops
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Day 12

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Day 12   So after my meltdown yesterday afternoon, I found myself preparing my feed bottles for the marathon followed by a briefing for the event before our evening meal. The 10 marathons are organised by Brathay Trust, the charity that I am raising money for, so there are 11 other runners doing the event.   They are all great guys and I am looking forward to the next 10 days with them. So day 1 for them and their support towards me has been great.   Today was about finding out what I had in the legs, as it transpires I don’t have an awful lot in the legs. I was told last night that my quads were pretty shot by Adam, the lead sports therapist, so wasn’t expecting a great deal today, and indeed, I was not disappointed. I had a good start trying to run well within my limits, which I thought I was, unfortunately my limits seemed to move sometime around half way and I was left wanting, as they say. This event for me is about getting round though so I wasn’t too bothered when the wheels wobbled a bit. I can’t ask the legs to do what I know is too much, after so many days on the bike.   So in the end, not a bad day, tougher than I expected, the legs are hurting a bit but I shall be on the start line tomorrow.   26.2 miles 4:42, like I say, not brilliant but job done
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Day 10

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Day 10   So after the horrendous finish to yesterday I found myself on a long fast road running alongside the motorway. It was great, no traffic and the miles flew by for a couple of hours. I was a happy camper. I knew that in 7 or so hours I would be relieving my backside of the buttock cleaver for a good few weeks, heaven.   Within another hour or so I was back in Gretna, it seems so long since I passed here in the opposite direction but in fact it was only days ago. Soon I was back in England and knew that I didn’t have far to go. Far in relative terms that is, only about 40 something miles. Carlisle came and went, and I was heading towards my next feed stop when I noticed several individuals scattered along the route who I knew, a reception committee so it seemed. It was great to see them all at the next stop, but alas I had to get going. Thankfully I saw them all at the finish for a proper catch up.   Just as a sting in the tail I was heading for Kirkstone Pass, a tasty little pass that kicks up viciously in places and summits at some 1500ft. Fortunately I knew what was coming as I have ridden this pass in training and in tri races, head down and grind it out. What I thought was rather apt as I went over the top was that the mileage for the day clicked over to 100 mikes for the day, thought it was quite neat. I hurtled down the other side at breakneck speed and was soon on the doorstep of Brathay, were I was treated to a warm welcome from staff and a group of young guys on a residential. Even more people were on the lawn at the main house, great to see everyone and a relief that this part was done and dusted.   Briefly, the last 10 days have been really hard work, sometimes very lonely and desperate. The ride to Altnaherra over the moors in a freezing cold wind with 130 miles in the legs is a day I will never want to repeat and was soul destroying. The general beauty of the West of Scotland and The Cairngorms was uplifting, wonderful and really raised the spirits. I met some wonderful people in Warrington and some great individuals along the way. My support team of Trudi, Aly & Mac, worked hard and tirelessly to make sure I was OK every day and was allowed to just get on the bike and ride 130+ miles each day. They have been great.   Still 11 days to go   104 miles, 7 hours, 4300 ft, I think
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Day 9

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Day 9 You know it’s coming don’t you? Well what a day of two halves…again.   Soon after setting of from Blair Athol I was back on the A9, this is the road I have spent the last day and a bit on so I have an affinity to it now, the rumble of the trucks against the backdrop of stunning scenery is a bit bizarre but there you go. At times it seems I could be watching the TDF with the wide valleys and snow capped peaks.   Anyway back to the day, last night after a discussion with Trudi and Mac, we decided to change the route to miss out some of the climbing, I have an excuse, my legs are shot. The distance was more or less the same, but we decided to drop down through Sterling, traffic or 3000ft knocked of the accent?   I came off the A9 at Dunblane and the lovely countryside was no more. Into the towns and on through to Sterling. Here the van guided me through the town as I didn’t have the maps loaded on my Garmin and didn’t really know which way to go. It was quite nice knowing that they were there and not having to keep checking the Garmin to make sure that I was on the right route.   From here I tracked west to Kirkintilloch were I was accosted by a large pot hole. I have on this journey managed to avoid most of them, but this one leapt right out in front of me! Within seconds the front tyre was flat, my first puncture of the journey, I did a quick change and was on my way, but I noticed a lump in the tyre. Luckily the van was close by and I managed to get the track pump out and get the right pressure in the tube. No more lump and I was away again.   Some 30 or so minutes later I was to receive another little blow, literally. Whilst heading towards Motherwell I was swiped by a van pulling out of a side road. How he couldn’t see me I don’t know, but I realised that he wasn’t going to stop. I knew there was nothing directly behind me and fortunately the lady in the oncoming car saw what was unfolding in front of her and pulled to the side of the road and stopped to allow me to take evasive action. In the end I ended up in the middle of the road and received a glancing blow to the bike and my foot. No damage to me or the bike, or so I thought. After profuse apologies from the van driver I was on my way.   I laboured on, laboured being the operative word, I was in the final 20 miles or so and finding it really difficult for some reason, I was beginning to think that I had run out of energy and was analysing what…
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