Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Yes, I had a bad run.

Actually everyone except the debutants had bad runs.  The people who came closest to their pre race targets were those who revised their targets downwards because of the gale force winds - unfortunately I didn't (and paid the price).

The weather was exceptionally windy for about 20 hours and the 1026.7m loop was such that it was a headwind for about 500m and a tailwind for about 500m.

I ran exceptionally well for about seven and a half hours but then I suddenly began to overheat.  After a few cold drinks and a bottle of cold water over the head I continued but about an hour later I began to have hot flushes !!!

Talking to other runners, doctors, etc after the race I slowly put together the pieces of the jigsaw - and it appears that this is what happens when the body cannot maintain core temperature effectively any longer.  The temperature in the headwind was about three or four degrees cooler than when running with the tailwind and after 50 odd miles my body was struggling to cope with the constant changing.

My internal thermostat doesn't work properly anyway - a side effect of chemotherapy back in the 1990s.

Running into the gale force wind was also badly effecting my running form and my shoulders were becoming very tense and painful (my right shoulder is still painful - 74 hours after the end of the race).  At about ten hours I decided a shoulder/neck massage would help so when I approached the English handlers I slowed down - and almost collapsed.  The rules are such that handlers are allowed to help the athletes ONLY in their allotted segment ... well I still had about 5m to go.  I remember someone shouting "four more steps Chris, four more steps ..."  and then I was caught and led to a chair.

Again, talking to people later I learned that the tension in my shoulders and neck had most likely caused the arteries to constrict meaning that my brain was slowly being starved of oxygen and nutrition ... I was close to passing out completely.

About twenty or so minutes later, after lots of massage and other treatment, I was pushed onto the circuit again where I continued for five or six hours before having the confidence to gradually pick up the pace again.  Had to stop twice more for massage on my painful shoulders (16 hrs and 22 hrs) before eventually finishing in 7th position (6th man) with 220.719 km.

Although I had a bad run for medical reasons (?) I am particularly pleased that I was able to dig deep and get out there to help the team to a Gold medal.  Also pleased that I was running strongly at the end, even passing John Pares just before the end.  Should have been a 30 hour race !!!

220km isn't too bad in the circumstances either.
A proper report will appear later ... after I've recovered properly.

A big thanks you to everyone who showed their support - particularly John Kynaston who cheered me on relentlessly from the Scottish zone.

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