Well it was race time on Saturday for my first ever 50 mile attempt and I woke up to the worst snow storm and could not believe my eyes. There was heavy snow falling and on our way to the race there were cars stuck on the road and traffic jams and loads of tress fallen across the road. When I got to the race they then said they had to delay it for 2 hours as they had to clear the track from trees. We were also concerend about the amount of wet snow that was dropping out of the trees.
I then had 2 hours for my brain to try and adjust to the conditions which were never ever expected and I felt defeated before I even started. I had great support who talked to me under those 2 hours.
Start time and we were away. The track was horrific, wet snow which turned to slush and a muddy bog through the forest. My feet were wet the entire time, the mud nearly took my shoes straight off my feet and the snow was falling off the tress on my head. By 30km I was actually feeling good and coming into the station at 3 hours 40min I was on time and started to feel confident. My heart rate was right where I wanted it to be, my time was perfect, I was eating all the time (power bar, wine gums, chocolate, meatballs, salty crackers, banana) and drinking well (maybe to well as I needed the toilet twice) and I felt generally fine. The next 10km I started to feel it in my legs, but still felt good.
When I hit the 44km mark I then hit the wall, I am not sure what happened but I think it was my mind that just shut down. I felt lonely as I had not seen anyone in quite sometime. Yes my legs hurt, but my mind started to think about the extra hours I was going to have to spend in the forest in the dark, alone with my head lamp on as we had started 2 hours later and I was not prepared for that. I then called my boyfriend and chatted to him for awhile. I then gritted my teeth and ran to the 50km mark where people started to pass me.
I felt defeated and couldn't think straight. I am not sure why I gave up at 50km as I had come into the station with a time of 6hours 30min which was fine. I was still running and on my feet. All I can say is that the things that play through your mind are very strong and it is easy to get confused. I worked out when I got home that my pace was still fine at about 7.50/km at 50km, so what was the problem really.
What I will take away from this:
1. Have support people you can call if you are by yourself, it gets lonely.
2. I should have asked someone to join me at 60km to run with me so I had company in the dark and something to look forward to.
3. Prepare better mentally for all conditions and scenarios that could occur, so as not to be taken by surprise on the morning of the race. Also to prepare better mentally for those walls that you hit and the tricks your mind tries to play on you.
4. Leg strength, leg strength...work on this until you can't work it it no more.
The disappointment is great and I am nursing my pride today and telling everyone that is it no more for me.
To tell you how confused I was on the way home from the race my boyfriend told me I could enter the marathon in June and I told him no I won't make that and he looked at me and said but you have just run over a marathon in the snow, who does that and you had better not tell anyone they will think you are crazy.