Days 31 – 33

Day 31 – Champagne to Le Bruas

Today was an early start as there was a market across from the Hotel that we had wanted to check out, it turned out to be a farmers market come thrift market, amazing Cheeses and Fruit which I happily are for breakfast.

Once I started I was off and after seeing many people selling cherries at the side of the road I was delighted to see that Ian had taken it upon himself to buy a bag for us both, yum! Roughly 6 miles in I turned off the busy road and into 4 miles of beautiful Orchards, it was wonderful to have so much peace after the busy D534.

The last 10k of the run was to be all uphill to 700 metres, it was not very steep so I managed it fairly well. The marathon ended and we headed to Givors to check into our hotel, after a quick shower we headed to Lyon airport to pick up team member Diane, I was delighted to see Diane in high spirits as she always is, very rejuvenating! Headed back to the hotel for dinner and as I went to bed I thought about the coming week and became very excited at the task ahead.

Day 32 – Le Bruas to Le Cheylard

A new week and welcome to Diane, we were up early and had a long drive to the start which meant a little later than usual. I had to start at the top of the hill in Le Bruas, the first half flew in and I was feeling great, we arrived In a place called Lamastre which was supposed to have a cycle path but we could not find this so I carried on the road until I thought that I could see the path, I was so sure of it I headed off and said goodbye to Diane, after 1.5 miles it became painfully clear that the path I had taken was indeed incorrect, bugger!

Got back on track but started to feel grim at mile 19, could this be me hitting the wall for the first time in my life??? We needed to act fast, after walking a mile I met Diane, took on 1.5 litres of water, put my hat on to shield from the scorching sun, throw in some cherries two men had given us for free that morning and two Ibuprofen and I was off, shaken but undeterred. I began feeling better instantly and finished marathon 32 feeling well. A scary moment which worried me for the first time about my health in general, fitness iam sorted and mentally but illness is another story, here’s hoping that feverish feeling doesn’t return as 33 would contain a climb higher than Ben Nevis.

Day 33 – Le Cheylard to Vals les Bains

I was well aware that today could be my hardest in terms of terrain. The first 18km was a hill of 1200 metres, at first I struggled having to stop every half mile but soon after the second wind kicked in and up and up I went, the views became more beautiful and the temperature as I climbed cooler.

Upon summiting I stopped to look over at everything below us and it simply took my breath away. I was a happy man and I think Diane was as well, simply because it was time to drive down the mountain, a 20km downward stretch sounds easy but has major effects on your knees and hips after a while, long story short I finished and arrived at the support vehicle to find Diane with a can of coke and a strawberry tart, yum! As soon as I arrived at the b and b I jumped in the shower and then straight into the swimming pool to relax.

A short nap and it was dinner time. I do not eat during the day so meals at night are crucial for my recovery. That evening I ate a large burger and chips, a spaghetti carbonara and a bowl of choc ice cream, lovely!

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About Mark Cooper

My name is Mark Cooper, I am an ultra runner, motivational speaker, expedition consultant and public relations rookie. I help people achieve greatness in their lives. For bookings or more information you can email mark@runwithmark.com
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