There's a mindfulness tape out there that describes thoughts as clouds that are passing through a clear sky.
As the clouds pass, the sky remains. The sky remains. Genius. What a brilliant image and one that really helps when negative thoughts start to infiltrate a moment that deserves better. Taking an hour at Arnouvaz, mile 60, was not Plan A. It did however turn out to be the best plan of action at the time. Giving myself time to let the thoughts pass, let the body have a well earned respite and move onto one of the biggest climbs in the growing heat, with vigour and intent.
There are 3 major efforts up and down in the final 20 miles. 2000, 2500 and 2800ft respectively. Knocking them off one by one after being read the riot act by Jayne and Alicia at the checkpoint of Champex Lac. I was shaking, uncontrollably, still unsure if my body was overheating, when they just turned and said - "Stand up, go and get some food, drink some coke, then eat some more, and let's get out of here" - I have much to be thankful for but this was a pivotal moment for the remaining miles to be as positive an experience as they turned out to be.
I felt great at the end of this race, plod, adventure, epic, long walk, monster, bonkers session.
Jayne has been subjected to endless chat about the UTMB since January when the entry was confirmed. Anyone who has supported their other half to get to the start line for these type of events knows what is involved. Often, it is the supporter who becomes the master of knowledge and wisdom. Jayne certainly demonstrated those attributes during the race itself.
Alicia and Dan being in Chamonix was a huge factor in keeping Jayne sane, with company and added depth to getting me up and off my ass at the crucial time in Champex Lac.
Rebecca and Bec, apart from so much positivity gave the most sound professional advice. My glutes will never forgive Bec and the calm achieved after the initial storm to mile 20 was thanks to Rebecca.
Andrew - taking part in the monstrous PTL himself - 300km 6 day epic during UTMB week - was able to meet us on the finish line in the morning, even though he had the fatigue from his own insane challenge. As a finisher of UTMB himself I'm glad to have had his advice in the build up.
Phil and Dave - my two brothers. Both have completed the cycling equivalent twice each. This year they went round the 330km course where I had the pleasure of being the support crew. So now the 3 of us have our Mont Blanc memories. They think I'm mad and I think they are mad. So we are even.
To all the madmules for the brilliant messages of support, encouragement and inspiration. Yes, inspiration from my clients. Everyone that Madmule trains with has had a part to play in getting over the finish line. Thank you.
Thanks for joining us here at Madmule Adventure and reading the blogs.
Drop us a line if you have any questions on training and your future ambitions.
Whatever you decide to do, do it with Moxie and to the best of your ability.
Sounds and thoughts meditation - click link to listen to the meditation