Bagging Eighteen Miles | Eclectic Cake: Bagging Eighteen Miles

Friday, 24 October 2014

Bagging Eighteen Miles

No water station, no bag drop, no road-side Jelly Baby hand-outs. A long self-sufficient run requires a few more survival skills than just powering to the finish but it's all the more rewarding.


Knowing that my longest ever run (an 18 mile adventure with friends) was most likely going to be in pouring rain, I slathered myself with Vaseline and popped the small tub in my Berghaus Vapour 15 Day Sack with the rest of the supplies I'd have to carry with me – way too many snacks, a warm top for afterwards, my faithful buff, water and a light waterproof jacket that I 'cleverly' used to seal in my post-run sogginess, rather than wearing it to keep dry. With quick directions from a local, the three of us headed towards Richmond Park...

Giving the Berghaus Vapour 15 Day Sack another spin on the trails

Feeling heavy, I was immediately glad I resisted the temptation to fill the large space in my bag and began calculating when I could start eating to lighten my load. Figuring I'd need to run at least a mile first, I left the snacks and kept plodding. Perhaps it was just panic that I was about to run further than ever before or maybe awareness of the experience in the legs of my company (a marathoner and ultramarathoner) but I finally settled down and began enjoying what was meant to be a run simply for the fun of it.

Secret water bottle stash

Deer spotting, navigating to the Thames Path, constant conversation and watching rowers sweat it out on the water all helped to distract my brain from the miles ahead, being completely soaked through and the load I was carrying. In fact, I only remembered I was a moving larder when we stopped for a quick drink – I pulled my bottle from its snug pouch at the bottom of the bag and inhaled a few (still dry!) jelly babies that were stored in one of the waist pockets. No need to take my pack off. Perfect because I was starting to feel tired and my legs started to niggle, I wasn't sure I had spare energy to be messing around with straps. The bag was lassoed round me on all the smallest settings and was quite comfortable.

Still smiling after 18 miles!

With four miles to go, there was barely enough energy to lift my legs, the niggles had become angry and I was really just shuffling but this stretch was a return journey, so each landmark was a familiar reminder that I wasn't far from finishing. Just metres from the station, our finish line, the two competent runners of our group shouted "sorry" behind them as they turned for another lap of the small park we'd just come through. Our route was just short. But if I was going to do it, I was going to do it properly. Ignoring heckles from a park stroller – "Uh oh, we've got a straggler!" – and still completely unaware that my perhaps too-big bag was rubbing oozy wounds into my collarbone and neck* and scuffing up my favourite running top**, I followed and ran my victory lap to cheers of encouragement.

EIGHTEEN MILES!

My 'souvenirs'

* More Vaseline required.
** Super durable kit required.

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