What can I say to sum up the disappointment? I am finding it very hard to even write down the ups and downs I’m going through.
Did I try hard enough? Could I have pulled something out the hat?
Back to the start. I was so excited about this race. I had been planning it for a year. I had put the training in. All my slow long runs, all my other ultra races everything was leading to this night/day/night. I had planned my food, my clothes; my pace everything I possibly could. The weather was out of my control and as it turned out so was my body.
I tried for a sleep on Friday afternoon but gave up twice so no sleep since 9am. I reckoned the adrenalin would carry me through.
We arrived at Milngavie in plenty time. Registered, I got my lucky number 13. A few people commented on my choice of numbers but I’m not superstitious and me and 13 have always been good together. So off we go to wander the car park, I met a few folks and chatted but my mind was elsewhere. I just wanted to get going.
I started of near the back of the pack, trudging my way along the first few miles. I was feeling good and relaxed and was pleased as the nerves now started to settle. I’m not sure of all the place names but the miles were ticking past, I was occasionally catching folks then others passing me. Got into Drymen in 2hrs 45 right on target.
I had 2 weetabix here and a small coffee. I wanted to eat from early on to maintain my energy, I found this to work in my training. Onto the Conic hill and I was feeling good, walking at a nice brisk pace. Took my time on the descent and into Balmaha a few minutes ahead of my schedule. Here I took a banana and slice of bread and kept walking.
Now somewhere between here and Rowardennan I said goodbye to my race. I can’t for the life of me pinpoint the moment it went wrong or why it went wrong. All I remember is starting to feel icky sicky. Nothing too bad but enough for me to have no food at Rowardennan. I did take a small piece of crystallised ginger to help settle my stomach and a bottle of Perpetuem. I had brought this along for later in the race when I expected to be struggling to eat solids.
I set off running slowly and found myself looking forward to the hills as even slow running was making me feel sick. I walked the ups ran the downs. Soon I was retching and boaking, but as you do kept going thinking it’ll pass. By the time I reached my drop bag at Inversnaid I was feeling really quite ill. Had a yumyum in my bag and this put a smile on my face, till I tried to eat it. Nothing was going down and the yumyum went to the birds.
Unfortunately that is how my run continued, into Bein Glas and I was so thirsty but within a mile I was slumped at the side of the track. Projectile vomit. Gadz. I had also put a bag of salted crisps in my bag here but they just glubbed to my teeth and I couldn’t even chew them. WTF? I continued to carry this bag of crisps all the way to Achtertyre with a faint hope that I might be able to get one or two down. Didn’t happen.
Off course I tried to replace the water but nothing stayed down and I yet again ran out of water. I called my support to meet me at the bottom of the Bogle, walked most of the way there but surprisingly I was still feeling able. Met Tim who had brought some other goodies with him but I could take nothing. Tablet, glucose tablets, jelly babies my usual sugar goodies turned my stomach and I couldn’t even imagine putting them in my mouth.
We arranged for some lentil soup to be ready for me at Auchertyre and I started looking forward to this.
I struggled over the Bogle and could barely run a step on the way down but my mind was set with one foot in front of the other will get me there. Once across the A82 I rallied a bit and managed to run almost the whole way to the checkpoint. There was lots of support along this stretch and it was so good to see people and be cheered on.
Weigh in at Auchertyre -7lbs. Not good. We made our plan. I would try eating my soup then walk to Tyndrum to make sure it stayed in my stomach. Plan was good. Leaving Tyndrum I could feel some energy coming back. A long walk/shuffle towards
but I’m still confident. I’m still retching and boaking and had again stopped drinking (cos I couldn’t) but I’m moving forward and making plans for rice and irn bru at the checkpoint. Bridge of Orchy
We set of towards the Rannoch Moor and I was ok. A good bit warmer and dryer. Before long the small amount of energy I had left… left me. I don’t know exactly where or what but the retching became awful every footstep became a mountain I still couldn’t drink and even the fruit gums I had managed earlier were now too much to contemplate.
Glencoe & the end
I now have not much to say because I don’t know what or when yet again. At some point my mind caught up with my body and realised this couldn’t go on. I told Tim I was DNF ing at Glencoe. Somehow I knew I had hit my limit. I could no longer put one foot in front of the other, I was merely lifting my foot up and staggering. I then had to hold onto Tim just to move forward. Tim, as much as he tried to motivate me onwards soon realised just how bad I was. He called ahead to Muriel to get
to bring us out more clothes. Bryan
about 30 mins to reach us. I put on my 3rd jacket, 2 hoods, woolly hat and I was still shivering. Now I was being dragged by both Tim and Bryan, legs just moving and no more, even at this pace I had to keep stopping for a rest. It took us quite a few hours to walk of the moor. We met the safety marshal as we struggled and he gave us a bivvy shelter bag, just in case we didn’t make it!! I’m glad I had already made the decision to DNF because I know I would have been binned at this point. Bryan
I don’t think I quite knew how bad I was, but I was told to go and see the race doctor, weight loss etc. All I wanted was a hot bath! But of course we went. Everything checked out fine and I was allowed to go to my hotel. I honestly thought I would never be able to eat again. Before finally getting to bed I had a couple of strawberries. Yuck but yum. I was able to eat.
Muriel reckoned I was borderline hypothermic and I reckon they all need their eyes tested cos there was definitely a herd of Lamas at the Glencoe centre. Plain as day.
PAAHH No Photo :(
I have thought of nothing else since.. not that I’m self obsessed!! but I have came up with no clear answers or explanations. I learned a lot about myself out there. I set off confident, not of a good time but of finishing. To give it up was very very hard. I’m trying not to beat myself up about pulling out, as
has told me so many times… I didn’t. There just was no other option. Bryan
I hope to be back and give it another go. Just not sure when. Well done everyone who took part. Finishing or not… brilliant effort.
A huge thank you to all the marshals and organisers involved in this race. Everyone went above and beyond. The mountain rescue teams were fab. Lots of smiles and support.
My back up team were brilliant and I know I couldn’t have got nearly that far without them.