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A day

1000milesby 1000milesJul 21st 2014
I wake in the morning a rare breed of ethereal goddess. Most days I float out of my tent with such a wondrous ease and grace onlookers stand entranced. Or.

I wake up feeling like shit with my hair encrusted in the same position it will remain for the rest of the day. I take a few minutes to remember where I am and what I'm doing, I then roll over to be confronted with a. last nights washing up b. my smelly kit that will shortly be 'shaken clean' and put back on.

I'll often fall back asleep at this point although this is becoming a less and less prevalent luxury due to the increasing morning temperatures. In fact, nowadays I'm often forced from my tent through fear of becoming a perfectly basted and cooked turkey by as early as 9am.
Once awake, I gingerly start to move my legs in an attempt to assess what the 'leg situation' is destined to be for the day. The agility vs. stiffness ratio will generally be a direct reflection of whether I diligently did all my stretching and rolling the previous evening or whether I leathered it round 30 miles, jumped straight in my tent, ate and fell asleep (I won't lie to you, it happens).
I then hobble over to find the appropriate spot for my morning business and hope to god the knees don't give way. I then hobble back at a similar pace to crack on with breakfast. This hobbling is severe and quite shocking at times. Onlookers would be extremely hard pushed to believe I was doing anything legitimately athletic.

I consume a breakfast of powdered protein goodness and if I'm lucky I might have some fruit/ nuts/ peanut butter straight from the jar/ fruit pastilles hanging around my bag. I'll then do last nights washing up in the rivers/ give my cup a quick swill with spit when not available.
I then pack away my tent and all my shit into their allotted bags. From the outside this may look like a car crash of disorganisation and rubbish. It's not. It's about as sophisticated a plastic bag system as it is possible to have. In fact, the turnaround rate is nothing short of astounding. Tent to pram - an hour, sometimes less.
The pram. Well the pram is a pretty sick set up. It's got amazing Shimano XT80 shift... Haaaa, not really - It's got a front bit, and it's got a back bit and it's got 3 wheels.

In the front bit I house all of my possessions bar that which I deem needs to be 'accessible in the day'. All of the things requiring 'accessibility' go in the back bit. I would say the back bit has probably been the most distressing part of the trip. Anything you put in the back bit is near impossible to retrieve. It requires a good 5 minute lucky dip process in which more often than not you just get squashed banana. You start the process with such hope 'this is definitely going to be the time when I actually find the sun cream first dip' ... You never do, you might get a hat (with squashed banana on) if you're lucky, which is ball park sun protection so you should probably accept your lot rather than re-dip and face total disappointment with a bic pen or a crusty flapjack.

At the top of the pram I keep my map and my music station. This is the place where tunes live. Such. Good. Tunes (and sometimes 'I'm Alan Partridge' which is just a LOL a minute).
I'll then fill my water bottles which again involves a nearby river, or, I'll put on my biggest puppy dog eyes and I'll chose the house/ farm that looks most accommodating and is the least distance for me to hobble.

I then begin the 'stretching' and glute firing nonsense that take up much of my day. An iPod is compulsory for this process or else I would instantly fall asleep on the floor and wake two hours later with one very stretched hamstring.
Once that's done, I get on the road. The first 20 minutes is the worst part of my day. My body basically says 'absolutely no bludy way are we doing that again, you can get f****d'. Eventually though it gives in and the plod becomes a majestic trot (eh hum).

Hours and hours pass in the interim and no two days are ever the same. They often involve coffee (thick and black, preferably from a drip), food in varying forms and indulgence, mind games, rehydrating, river dipping, picture taking, pram adjusting, stretching, looking, thinking, laughing, meeting, roadside weeing, map reading, route changing, sun cream applying, singing, waving, traffic dodging...

The distance varies in amount and effort - the last few days went 28, 28.5, 29, 26, 32, 29.5 miles inched closer. There is often no rhyme or reason to the distance - it's what feels right and whether there looks like the potential of more than just a signpost/ redundant phone box in the next town along.
Finally, when the legs and more importantly the mind calls it a day, I start the 'optimum camp selection procedure' or OCSP for short. Again, this is a highly sophisticated process influenced mainly by view but also by ground gradient and floor quality. This process is one often thwarted by fences and barbed wire leaving the eventual spot dictated to me by lack of other available options and a distinct desperation to remove my shoes. Once in position, said Boudouir is erected and the evening's administration begins.
Protein sickly sweet goodness is downed in one smack, kit is unpacked and I begin the evening stretch/ roll session (again, iPod imperative). I'll then baby wipe face, pits, bum (in that order) and talcom powder my hair. Finally, I'll whack on some arnica and my compression socks and probably make the evening outfit complete with a chic wooly hat.
Then dinner is put on. I eat lots of rice, lentils, noodles, tuna and baked beans. It has been known for all of the above to feature in one dish. Essentially, whatever I have, i eat. I normally then treat my self to a hot chocolate/ hot water (supply dependant).

Alternatively, kind onlookers will have taken pity on me and will try and feed me everything they have in their pantry and more. Sometimes it gets ridiculous - people don't seem to be happy unless I leave having consumed a whole day's worth of food in 20 minutes.

'Derek!! Quick!! Get that can of spam out of that pantry, the one your grandad left when he died in 1954, we've got a charity runner in - she NEEDS a feed. Quick, Derek, and the custard!!'

All this eating is a tough burden to carry but I manage it well and factor it in as another element to this 'endurance challenge' - endurance eating.
I then settle in for the night. I'll read my book, I'll plan the route for the next day, I'll watch the endless skies, I'll write my diary, I'll think lots - about everything, I'll call a friend or, more often than not, I'll have the intention to do all of the above but I'll actually just fall asleep at 8.30pm until I awake later (sometimes inside/ sometimes out) to put on all my layers, including a coat, for bed.

I then wake in the morning a rare breed of ethereal goddess, I .......
by guest: Trish Gaudet, Jul 22nd 2014 05:04
Claire, I think a bear may have been dipping its claws in your peanut butter....you are so inspiring - we think of you often and are cheering you on all the way!
lukehillby member: lukehill, Jul 22nd 2014 21:36
I've just been directed to your blog, it's so impressive that someone is even thinking of this challenge let alone nailing it with a "pram/is it a child in there thing" alongside for the ride.
I thought that 100km was hard work!! When I'm struggling I'll just think of this post and how comparatively easy 100km is.
Keep up the good work, it sounds like whilst hard it's also a great experience and you an inspiration.
by guest: Anne, Jul 25th 2014 10:07
I'm following you from afar. Brilliant job, you really are an inspiration. I hope that kindness finds you for the rest of you journey.
 
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