For all the great and successful races we do there are also the ones that don’t go so well, I think we all need to hear about those and learn from them – hence this report.
Failure is a massive learning aid, I think we learn more from that than success – but it all depends what we do with that knowledge that counts x
I’ll start this report several weeks before the race when I woke up with a start one morning in realisation that my biggest race ever was just over a month away and apart from the usual club runs etc I’d done very little to prepare for the ‘hundy’, no worries I thought – I’ll just do what I normally do and wing it. Now I’ve got away with that for other distances but little did I know how much this one was going to hurt.
I’d been a bit blasé in the days leading up to the race as you can probably tell but I’ll be honest on the morning of the race I was very nervous, Tracy will tell you when I get nervous I clam up and go I to my own little space, don’t want to interact with people and am basically not very good company. That was me on Saturday morning.
The race brief was excellent as ever by Ronnie and apart from a few little tweaks to the route explained we were good to go. The weather was pretty perfect so nobody to blame but myself. Once I was off I relaxed a bit and the first 15 to 20 miles passed by quite easily, apart from being a bit bobbly in places the going was pretty good and I was even pacing myself against the narrow boats on the canal. Ronnie had explained that if we kept up a constant 3mph we’d be guaranteed to finish under the cut off. I was passing the boats, which travel at approx 3mph so happy days, or so I thought, and seeing Mick at 2 of the cp’s also kept my spirits up – cheers Mick.
My original tack of only looking to the next checkpoint worked OK til cp6 at 30 miles, I actually had my best mile of the race up til then and was greeted by lots of friendly Trotter faces, was given lots of advice from Gary who is a 100 veteran so does know what he’s talking about – – but that’s where it all started to unravel.
From cp6 there is the longest section between cp’s, the next one is also cp6 as you do a long 10 mile loop though the beautiful Sherwood forest and I kid you not I’m sure it’s all uphill, it was a killer and by the time I returned to cp6 I was pretty washed out. I’ve no idea why but that section pretty much finished me off. Gary and Kath force fed me with baby food and Haribo due to me not eating – it tastes revolting but is high in calories apparently (I told you knows his onions) and I soldiered on.
Next CP was 7 miles away and if I’m honest I must have walked half of it at least – the warning signs were huge by then and as I pulled into cp7 I saw Katy stood next to the Hutchy bus, the amazing Lynn and Katy had driven over to meet me. Now I’m not 100% sure I was very good company at that point and was struggling hide hide my emotions in the face of all the kindness and support but after being looked after by fellow Harrier Adam who was manning the cp and lots of inspiring words from Lynn, and a big hug which was very special because I know she doesn’t normally do hugs I cracked onto cp4 which was 5 miles away. I knew Lynn had messaged Tracy and I was worried that she would be worried so after running the first section from the CP and getting out of sight I had to stop and walk again – this was becoming more regular than running by now and even that wasn’t easy with painful blisters, aching legs and a really aching lower back which may or may not have been my kidneys complaining about by now my lack of eating or drinking, who knows. But like I say i knew Tracy would be worried so I rang her, it seemed she was and was already on her way to meet me at cp4 and although I never confirmed it I think we both knew my race was nearly at an end.
The slog to meet her was my worst section yet and was more walking than running at this point, but weirdly I nearly ran past Tracy in the run up to the checkpoint – but no I’d not got a 2nd wind, I just didn’t want to be seen walking into a checkpoint – stupid pride I know !! As soon as Tracy caught up with me she realised I was done, neither of us had to say anything we just knew. I handed my tracker and number over to the amazing marshal’s – as they all were by the way, and the even more amazing Tracy took me home, after dropping my fellow dnf’er and Polish kind of running partner off at the finish line to pick his car up (we’d been crossing over for most of the last 40 miles, and without having run together as such or even really spoken had shared the experience, and the pain).
Not the most glamorous or feelgood report I know but its truthful and warts and all, and hopefully I can learn from my mistakes and move on. The truth is that I know I can do better than this but something just didn’t click on this one. I’ve done a few 50 milers now but have never felt as washed out as I did on this one and the thought of doing it all again honestly filled me with dread. As tough as these things are I think if the enjoyment has gone then it’s difficult to get back, and the enjoyment had gone 20 miles back for me, as well as my legs. Cheers folks xx