Tuesday, 11 September 2012

well, I made it (back home)

Just a brief race report for now ... more later, I'm sure.

The first ten hours went very well indeed and at that point I was still on my 245km schedule.  The eleventh hour was a struggle and my left shoulder began playing up so I went in for a massage which worked wonders.

The next few hours were also good and I managed to keep to my schedule well although it was inevitably getting harder by now.  Had another short shoulder massage at 15 hours before being told to get moving ... passed 100 miles a minute or two outside my pb but felt much stronger than when I set that time in 2010.

Towards the end of the 16th hour both my big toes began to feel badly bruised and within ten minutes or so I could barely put any weight on them.  So ... I asked the physio to sort me out.  And he worked a miracle here, both big toe nails had almost come off and both socks were quite badly blood stained.  At this point I was just on target for 245 km so I knew that a new pb was in the bag (my pb is 238.286 km).  I don't know what he did but within fifteen minutes of lying on his couch I went from having badly bruised feet to having feet that felt like new again.

Looking at the hourly splits now, it was obviously not quite as simple as that because I was slowly falling behind that schedule.  Then ... at 19 hours I suddenly had a feeling of pins and needles in the sole of my right foot - not a good sign I thought.  So, once again, physio Guy sorted me out (pointing out that the toe on my left foot was still bleeding).  For the next couple of hours I ran much as before but I was aware that it starting to become seriously hard work now.  I still expected to finish with more than 240k though.

But then, at 21 hours, tragedy struck.  My left ankle began to feel very weak and over the next lap or two got very bad indeed.  I knew this was serious so I had Guy sort me out again - lots of strapping and bruising.  And my toe was still bleeding.  When I mentioned that "I hope it isn't a stress fracture" he said:  "we'll worry about that after the race ... just get out there for three more hours."

And so I did.  The ankle was still weak but there wasn't much anyone could do about that but I decided to run for one minute then walk for one minutes, then two minutes of each, then three and so on until I reached the point which was most comfortable.  Within a couple of kilometres I had decided to go with four minutes running and two minutes walking.

Over the next hour or so I began to realise that 240k was now out or reach - I was walking two much.  I had no idea how far I had run but I didn't want to know either.  I was just trying to focus on blocking out those regular four minutes of pain.

After the race had finished Guy helped me hobble back to the crewing area where slowly everything was packed away.  For a few hours afterwards I simply didn't care about my final distance.  I knew I didn't have a pb and that was all I wanted to know.

Sleeping on Sunday night was not easy and when I finally got out of bed at 6.30am my ankle had swelled considerably and walking was difficult.  It only got worse as the day progressed.  During breakfast, the day after the race, Guy suggested I have an x-ray when I arrived home just in case ...

Getting home from Stansted was very difficult and painful and I'm deeply grateful to Eleanor Robinson for carrying my bag and physically helping me onto the Leeds train at Peterborough.

As I write this post I now know that my left ankle is just badly sprained and is probably a repetitive strain injury caused by the uneven surface on a 300m section of the circuit.  A tight left hand corner leading into that section didn't help either.  I'm not exactly happy though having to sit here with a crutch, an ice pack and some ibuprofen.

On a positive note ... I now know without doubt that I can run 150 miles (241.4 km) in 24 hours and I would have do so but for a sprained ankle.

The results for the UK runners were:

Pat Robbins ... 246.071 km
Steve Holyoak ... 240.377 km
Emily Gelder ... 238.875 km (3rd woman)
me ... 231.339 km
Debbie Martin-Consani ... 217.180 km
Sharon Law ... 210.404 km
John Pares ... 180.838 km
Karen Hathaway ... 179.956 km
Jen Salter ... 145.217 km

To finish I'd just like to thank EVERYONE who was there for Team UK (athletes and helpers) - they all made the weekend a memorable experience and I hope to get another chance next year at 150 miles.

Lots of photos here from Rory Coleman and from the IAU here.


Fiona Rennie said...

You had an awful lot to contend with, although you didn't reach your goal be proud of what you achieved.
Recover well,
Fiona x

Terry Lonergan said...

Well done, Chris. An amazing feat of endurance, once again. Pleased to read that the ankle is "only" sprained. I hope it's fine again soon.
Just a thought for a Spring 2013 target. if you can run "all day" at 4.21 marathon pace, how about improving that 3:09 marathon best down below 3 hours at say Manchester next year? recover well! Terry

Brewman said...

Well done, Chris. You continue to amaze and inspire me with your races and perseverance. I hope your foot is feeling better. Pat

Brewman said...

Well done, Chris. You continue to amaze and impress me with your feats (feets?) of endurance. I hope you're back on the mend and fully recovered soon.
Harrogate Harriers