Thames Ultra - the ham sandwich

Yes, a ham sandwich saved my life. No pickle. No mustard. Not a hint of cajun. Just a sliver of ham between two slices of white sliced bread, I think with a bit of butter on. As I contemplated, from an immodium and diaralite haze, the awful possibility of retiring at check point 2 of the Thames Path Ultra, the Squirrel drew the illustrious item from his bag of tricks and broke, well tore, a half of a half bit for me. I ate, and I was transformed. Much of the following 30 miles was taken between building up to, and then coming down off, further ham sandwich highs. It's surprising how central a ham sandwich can become to one's being. So, my thanks to Karen for The Sandwich, and to the Squirrel for sharing it.

The run was stunning. Dont let anyone kid you the Thames Path is (a) a path (it isnt); (b) along the Thames (it often isnt, the most notable diversion being through a housing estate in Reading); (c) flat (a reasonable expectation, but so very wrong, as the ramble through some mountainous range at around 30 miles demonstrated).

Thanks also to BGit, who prepared the Garmin and the maps. We seemed to be the only people with either. After the second time we'd followed some peopl completely the wrong way, we decided that BGit was a better guide than other people in lycra. The term 'schadenfreude', the delight in the misery of others (a german term, of course) was, I think, dreamt up by a German on this very run, as s/he tottered down the south bank of the Thames at 25 mile or so, and saw a very pacey group of 'leaders' barreling along the north bank -- going back some 5 miles to the bridge they'd failed to cross. BGit -- we are eternally in your debt (though we need to talk about that railway bridge you wanted us to go over outside Moulsford).

I feel like Gwynneth Paltrow.

Thanks also to the Hornet for a sack of snacks and treats. Flapjacks and gels that we were unable to keep down after about 4 hours, but which we knew had done us good. And at about 6 hours, a handful of sport beans was almost as good as a ham sandwich.

It was a glorious day, and I am still delirious. Thanks above all to the Squirrel, who not only shared his sandwich, and carried my coat for me, and pointed out both buzzards and the woodpecker, but was also the perfect companion for a first ultra.

I'll stop now...


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