As Steph returns from her early morning swim in Hatchmere Lake I'm desperately pulling my last few items together. The last few days have been very hot and I want everything in order for my run, plus the next few days I'll be living in Sheffield so I need to pack a bit extra.
As bad as it sounds I needed to get out of the house as soon as possible, I was been hunted down by external forces.
I'm in the van and on the road, I breath a sigh of relieve. The odds are better stacked now, this is it, it me against me and there can only be one winner!
The thought that Steph's taking the boys to the beach is crushing me, but I know that the outcome of today will be paramount to future family activities. I block the thoughts of sandcastles, ice creams and fish and chips out of my mind and concentrate on my driving. Before I know it I'm at the top of Snake Pass, this is my drop point. Snake Pass is technically the half waypoint for my run. With the weather being so hot I needed to have a drop bag stashed with water and food here to dip into when I pass by in 5 hours time. The last time I left a stash bag was in Delamere Forest. When I got to it after 20 thirsty miles some keen hound has sniffed it out and scoffed the lot, I'm not sure where the Lucozade Sport went though, perhaps it was keeping it for later!
I park the van in a busy layby just after Devils Bridge on the A57. I'm always concerned about leaving the van in places like this as I think it's such a nice van that someone’s going to want it.
Hat on, sunglasses ready, shoes tight, I take a final big drink before I leave the van to luck.
I'm off, a piece of photocopied map stuck in my pants and a smile on my face, I've made it. Just getting to this point, past the mental odds was a major accomplishment, now bring it on. 11am, not the earliest of starts but I was going to be in the heat of the sun even with a Milkman start.
The miles go by, the sun beats down, I'm happy. I half chuckle to myself, what was all that nonsense earlier about, I'm a running God and nothing can stop me, I'm Wallman and I'm invincible...
After 13 odd miles and a bit of heather bashing (not the baby sitter) I'm starting to feel the sun a bit. The goings good, I'm on completely new territory so I'm keeping my eye closely on my A4 piece of map. Over 50% of my water has gone and looking at what's left I could down it in one greedy gulp. Kinder Downfall comes into view; think I'll have a word with the Trade Description department about this one!
A quick glance at the map shows a run along the top, down a steep bit, up a gradual rise then hang a right from the top, on the flat and I'll be at my stash bag before I know it.
As I stumble on a rock I curse myself and a flashing thought shoots past telling me that if I'm not going to make it to the half way point unscathed then I may as well throw the towel in at the top of the Snake and hitch a lift back.
Massive flags of stone neatly show me the way, it's easy flat running but twice it tries it's best to stop me. The first was the only gap in the rocks for two miles, it just pulled my foot it to it even though I'd spotted it 15 yards back. The second was much more sinister. Large flags lay out in front of me each weighing half a ton or more, who would have thought that when I stepped on one it would give under my foot bringing the other end up to meet my pounding chest. As it seesawed towards me I took evasive action and tacked to the left, it was a move that any rugby player would have been proud of.
Hot, thirsty but undeterred I made it to my stash of water and food without a hound in sight.
Halfway without a second thought of giving in, but why would I, the next half is the easy bit isn't it?