It’s happened to me twice now, at Stuc a Chroin and the Lakeland Trails Marathon. Each time I’ve had a terrible race, and gone back to try and get my ‘revenge’ only to be chewed up and spat out again….
4 years ago it was the Lakeland Trails Marathon (which circumnavigates Coniston water) and I damaged my shin a few miles in, but continued and paid the price by not being able to run for a month. This time, I just totally underestimated what the course had in store. And, if I’m honest, a total lack of prep. I’d even read my previous write-up, which clearly stated that I had underestimated it last time! Not the distance, but the terrain. It’s tough. Tough on the feet. With rocky paths, ankle twisting opportunities are a-plenty, and any plan to take it easy in the first half and deploy a ‘negative splits’ plan fell by the wayside as I had nothing in me to up the pace at all, and it ended up as a plod/walk for large chunks.
It was warm and I’d felt a bit light headed a couple of times, and I had got to the point of not being able to eat – never a good sign. I’ve been there before and it’s not a nice place to be, but it didn’t feel like food was the problem. Then, around 5 miles from the end, something happened that I’ve never experienced before. No, not a second wind – alas – but I found myself on all-fours emptying my stomach in the grass. A few kind souls asked if I was OK (in fact at the end one particularly very kind soul saw me and checked I was OK after she had had been rather concerned) but I just wanted to be left in my ‘misery’…..
After that I felt ‘much better’, but I just continued to plod on and just about get to the finish where I managed to arrive just as the toddlers race set off around the final loop of the finish area, which at least put a bit of a smile inside me. I’d hoped to get lost in the chaos, but the finish announcer doesn’t miss anyone. And I guess the fact that I was about 4 feet taller than the other competitors probably meant I stood out somewhat.
I then bumped straight into Richard and Sandra who had run the half. They said I looked like I needed some sustenance, so I didn’t feel too rude as I dragged myself over to the ice cream van with my tail between my legs to pick up ‘the biggest vanilla ice cream’ they had, and a bottle of coke.
Half an hour later I was feeling improved.
A tough race. A great race. A great event! Never again…