Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. He may not be on everybody's list of motivational gurus for runners, but for my second attempt at the Sandstone Trail Challenge, Al set the tone for my build up and approach to the event. Last year I didn't do enough long runs, drank too much water on the day and carried too much stuff. The result was cramp from about halfway and a time below what I felt capable of.
I am lying on my back on the forest floor. All that is missing is a circle of tweeting birds spinning above my head like a Loony Tunes cartoon. As I get back onto my feet, I look behind me for the first time in 5 hours, hoping not to see approaching hordes of runners, ready to speed past me so close to the finish.
Pete's a top bloke, like a lot of my cousins I don't see enough of them but whenever we get together, usually Christmas, special birthdays, funerals and the like we always have great banter and swap stories of how our different paths have taken us.
I'm not sure what it is about my extended family but we're sure as hell not normal! Let's just say many of us live a life of colour!
Picture the scene, it’s a beautiful day in May and I’m 21 miles into my first ever ultra race. My calves are cramping a little but life is good and I’m “enjoying the journey”. I climb up a stile only a mile or so from my home, a stile that I’ve been over dozens of times, and I lose concentration as I jump down the other side. My right ankle buckles and I hear a gut-wrenching tear as I collapse in a heap.