Re-winding back the clock I came off a fabulous week of trail running along the North West Coastal Paths of North Devon testing out the new Trail Ferret Trail & Endurance Camp and was in high spirits.
Training went from good to great, I was hitting quality training sessions as planned (TrainAsONE) and was enjoying changing over to TORQ fuel and recovery Systems.
Three weeks prior to the race, I ventured back up to Osmotherley and put in two quality back to back runs - I got up there and ran the 26.2 mile route in the afternoon and then first thing next morning I was back out and ran the full Ultra route of 33 miles / 4500 ft of ascent in a nice easy time of 05:46:03 (ave pace of 6:41mins/K). I was feeling great and based on that was confident of returning back and achieving a podium finish, but it didn't happen and I learnt some valuable lessons.
I tapered well and all was good on the morning of the race, I got to the start line in good time and spent the next 30 minutes talking to a few of the guys that I knew, again all was good. The temperature was soaring as the race commenced, eventfully reaching 34 degrees out on the moors. The race started and I pushed off at a fast pace and by CP2 I was sitting good in 2nd place and then out of CP2 as you ascend up onto the moors disaster struck and it hit me like a sledge hammer, my heart rate started going sky high, I was getting cramps in my stomach, being sick and no matter what I did I just could not get my heart down, eventfully I was left to a walk and in fact I walked most of the route across the moors from CP to CP trying to get rid of the high heart rate, stomach cramps and sickness and onto CP5 where I decided enough was enough and dropped down onto the 26.2 mile route and came in in 14th place. The previous year I had come 1st, a huge disappointment for me and a big dent in the armour!!!!
I spent the week after this looking and assessing what went wrong and it was easy to find the problems.
Firstly, I was over confident and thought nothing of doing any mental preparation prior to the race.
Secondly, a real stupid mistake, right before the race I drank a new sports drink with a high caffeine content, this I would never usually do and to this day I can't figure out why I did it as I am dead set on using only TORQ products.
Thirdly, I completely F**ked up my race hydration, again, I was too confident, I didn't take on board the expected high temperatures and mixed the wrong concentration.
Fourthly, I set off way too fast in those conditions.
The combined effects of the above meant that 60 minutes into the run I ran into trouble, my body was screaming for assistance and it took me until CP4 to realise it and from this CP I started diluting my fluids. By CP5 I was starting to feel better but no ways back to normal, so decided to drop down onto the short race route and live to fight another day.
The sad thing was that when I was 5 miles out of the finish I started to feel normal again and picked up the pace and put in a good fast pace all the way into the finish, in fact it was a strong finish.
It was amazing really, how quick the body can go down hill and I can definitely say that I learnt an extremely valuable lesson from this race.