Reach Out for Nepal – My Journey to Hell & Back – Postscript

Once out of the toilet the immediate aftermath of the run had a few twists & turns in itself.

I sat down, Dorina asked if I wanted anything ‘yes, can you get my shoes & socks off’, there were a few gasps, thankfully I could only see the sides which were white crinkled & looked decidedly blistered, what the others could see underneath was thankfully out of my view. Soon both feet were in a bowl of cold water being de-heated.

Ellie & Dorina had another go at re-dressing my finger at which point I began to feint, not due to the blood, my body simply shutting down now that the need for activity was over, how incredible the human body is, Covid 19 doesn’t have a chance with most of us! I managed to lie down before I keeled over & a minute later began retching into the foot bowl as people turned away with respectful concern or disgust. Soon I was up & re-seated feet back in the bowl with Dorina asking ‘can I get you a drink darling?’ I gave the only sensible reply I could ‘yes a very small glass of white wine please’. This innocent remark caused an uproar of laughter & distain & drew comments from the likes of Judy ‘Oh Paul’, my arguments of ‘I did say very small’ did little to mitigate things.

Dorina brought a Medium Glass of Sauvignon Blanc over but it stayed un-touched as once again I was soon lying on the ground avoiding a full on feint. Recovery number two saw me hobble upstairs for a proper lie-down saying ‘thank you everyone, I’ll try & get back down before you go but if I begin to feint again, that’ll be it’.

I did make it back down, a Coke was prescribed to sort out my blood sugar before a tentative sip of the Sauvignon nectar. Wine & Beer flowed, Tim & Cathryn had brought some sample Beers from Tim’s ‘Elementary’ establishment, John & Richard who had been eying the Tynny’s Beer sign all afternoon got Beers from us on the house whilst Judy, Ellie & Steve raided my wine bottle with aplomb.

I managed a couple of glasses before it was time to go to bed, 41 hours or so after waking up my eyes just stayed open long enough to thank everyone again & kick them out as pleasantly as I could.

I slept solidly for 5 hours & then as predicted woke to the pains in my quads, in the words of Monty Python ‘luxury’ as this was immediately followed by several bouts of total toe cramps on both feet ‘shit, never had that before!’ An hour of tossing & turning in pain without sleep led me to accidentally nudge Dorina whilst whispering ‘can you turn the Cafe alarm off I need to go downstairs & read?’

Sunday saw me catch up with Tim & Cathryn in the morning and Paul & Yvonne in the afternoon, each stance needed arms to push me upwards but I did manage to clear the odd table here & there. Late afternoon I realised my planned rendezvous with George was a folly of optimism over tiredness, Dorina cancelled our booking & we went home to relax.

By Monday morning I was still cramping in my left hand & the scales told me I was still some 11lbs lighter than Friday morning, presumably I had lost more than a stone at some point, I read a lot & know that’s a bit dangerous.

Was it the heat that had added to all this? To be honest I didn’t feel the heat all day despite sweating profusely until I slowed to a walk but that said the loss of salt must have be a significant cause of the whole trauma I experienced.

Later I’ll need to reflect on how I can experience such lows & yet still battle through to a respectable finish, can I train my mental self to be better prepared for the shock the body will inevitably face but that is for another time. For now I type these words with a huge feeling of raw emotions & pride, watery eyes are common & welcome, memories this raw & fond are really hard to come by but very much worth it in the end.

As to the injuries, the finger is no longer sore but not pleasant to look at, the knee sore & a bit scarred but no lasting damage is feared, my left arm has a six by two inch ‘old-man’s’ bruise on the left hand side of the bicep, my shoulders & neck ache from impact shock. As to my feet, underneath has hot spots but no blisters although their are several blisters collected around the sides of my larger toes. I can no longer say that my La Sportiva ‘Mutant’ Shoes never give me blisters but there again I’ve never done that many miles in one pair of shoes in 24 Hours, they did well & no I am not a La Sportiva sponsored athlete!

As to the loop itself, it is a great one but with hindsight just a bit too technical for what I wanted to achieve. I have never taken a serious tumble having run it many times over many years. It is not designed for tired cramping legs as two significant falls taught me, add to this my less than ideal lead-in & the phrase Piss Poor Planning leads to Piss Poor Performance come laughingly to mind.

Thank yous have been said but need re-stating as I simply could not have come close to achieving what I did without the dozens of people who came along to support me either out on those loops or at Cafe HQ. I generally won’t name names but a particular thank you must go to Mike for turning up so early, John & Marion as ever, of course Dorina & those six of you who either stayed with me in the hours of darkness or shepherded me in my loops of need (five of whom covered a Marathon or more) simply amazing guys!

It was Judy who issued some of the kindest words of the day along the lines off ‘I knew you would do it Paul you always do but I think you’ve done enough now’. I think she is right it is time to find an easier way to raise money for Nepal, the thinking of how begins.

Finally some stats as I do like my Maths. My watch didn’t outlast me succumbing to sleep after 20 hours or so, it also doesn’t record calories used above 9,999 so a few figures are reasonably accurate guesstimates but here goes:-

Distance 95.7 Miles (153K)

Time 23 Hours 46 Minutes

Average pace 5.1 Miles per hour (8.2K)

Calories Used circa 15,000

Heart Beat Average 136, Maximum 183

Steps circa 182,500

Height/Descent 11,200′ (3,410 metres)

This was of course all in aid of Reach Out for Nepal, please donate kindly if you can.

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