Last weekend I attempted to run the Longmynd Hike which is a 50 mile race across some incredible landscape on the North Wales border. In short, I failed. I reach the 38 mile checkpoint and dropped. Since then I've done little but try and work out why.
The specifics of what happened are that for the 5 miles leading up to me dropping out my feet began to really hurt .... in exactly the same way as they did the last time I attempted this race. The route demands a lot of walking and I'm just not much of a walker. I got disheartened. I couldn't face another 4 hours of that pain and as I entered the aid station I knew I was going no further. As I sat in the aid station wondering whether to continue my body did what it always does at the end of a race and it gets cold. This happens even in the summer, I pretty much look like I'm getting hypothermia. The volunteers saw this and started to worry. So there is me with hurty feet, getting cold and feeling rather sorry for myself. So I dropped.
This was a mistake. A big mistake.
Here's some things I didn't consider at the time:
- 2 years ago when I had the same foot pain it only last another 5km at most ... then it went away
- 2 years ago when I reached that aid station I was well behind where I was this time. I ran 14 hours that year, this year I was on about a 12 1/2 hour pace.
- I didn't have 4 hours to go. I had 20km to go and only 3 major climbs. 3 hours would probably have done it at most.
So what should I have done:
- Recognised that the pain I was feeling would go away
- Banged down some ibroprofen
- Cleaned my feet off
- Changed into some warmer gear (which I didn't have on me, stupid mistake)
- Had a cup of tea and smiled
- Then once I felt better .... continued.
I'm genuinely very disappointed that I dropped and have vowed to make better judgments when in pain and tired. I've had to tell so many people that I dropped and I don't think that anyone really understands. I've never dropped like this, I've always assumed I would finish and I always did. Perhaps I needed to fail to appreciate how much I never ever want to drop again.
I'm a positive kind of guy so I'm using this a springboard into some serious training. After running 38 miles during Longmynd I set out to throw down a huge week of training and achieved that by running just under 100 miles in 7 days. 17 1/2 hours of running and over 10,000 calories burnt. Next week will be much less but it proves I can soak up some serious training mileage. I feel better than I have in ages. I'm joining a gym on Monday which will give me some much need resistance work. I've also started logging my mileage for the first time in years. I'm using Runkeeper so please feel free to check up on me and make sure I'm keeping with the program: http://runkeeper.com/user/ultraflynn
I have a new mantra ....
Are you at the limit, the ragged edge? I bet your not, push harder and find out.