you spin me right round

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One year anniversary!

12 months on from that accident.

Wow. That flew by, it really only feels like a few months. Although with my shaky short term memory, that's probably actually my elapsed time.

First off admin.
I have a race report to include that I've been meaning to write up for ages, but just couldn't think of how to cover it or what to say. It didn't go so well, but then there was no real drama or events to mention like normal ultra races.

On the 13th April I attempted my first "track ultra", this was the Crawley 24 hour track ultra.
6, 12 and 24 hour run events all happening at the same time. The venue was the running track behind the K2 sports centre in Crawley.

K2 with the camping
I had two "big" races lined up for the year, this one and the GUCR retry. The plan was, see how the track ultra goes then decide if the GUCR was realistic.
Recovery had been going well, although I (obviously) had some massive holes in my training, I'd had a few tentative test personal long distance training runs without any major drama.

I had a plan. A vague plan. I knew I was capable of running for 24 hours, I've done it before. But how far would I be able to go and how fast. I partially-honestly mentioned my plan to Cara, albeit then rumbled as I crumbled under interrogation when asked "what are these numbers at the bottom?" ah. um. er. those are the qualifying time and distances for Spartathlon.
I arsed about with a spreadsheet for a bit, tried to work out what was realistic what was possible, how slow to start (SLOOOOW) and at what point I'd know how I was doing and so on.


How hard can it be. Boredom was my only worry, surely it would be insanely tedious and I'd just not be able to face the idea of continuing.
Race HQ

Saturday morning we headed down with our kit and supplies, race start was midday so plenty of time to arrive and get organised.

Picnic HQ
Gazebo setup at the side, table out, food and drinks lined up.... perfect. Amazingly there are quite a few un-crewed runners with just their bags in a pile at the side of the track. Quick briefing and intro, run through of the essentials and schedule, change direction every 4 hours, how to exit and rejoin the track and so on.

There are a few familiar faces about, so the odd nod and hello. Line up towards the back of the pack and we're off.
In the zone

It's pretty cold at first, so I'm wrapped up warm and seem to be constantly removing and replacing my jacket and hat.
Toilets on the left, picnic on the right. :)

Right,. what to say about running around in a circle?

Well, at no point did I get bored. Bizarre, with having so many people about (and seeing the countdown and changing direction) it was just never boring, there was always something to look at or think about, and constant chatter (albeit nothing deep and heavy, just bland mindless chatter).
The Running Dan's Run Truck

Later in the afternoon, Hugo arrived to join the support team which was great, briefly.... until we saw Dan Lawson (the running dan) had arrived in *his* Delica "run truck" - (I have one too! -  although that's where the similarity ends).  and that was the last I saw of Hugo. :)

The weather had been nuts. It was cold. then hot. then sun. then cloud. then it hailed. so I was constantly changing clothes and hats... although not a huge issue when you have an aid station every 400 metres. :)
Wrapped up and toasty

I thought I'd been managing my nutrition well, although I wasn't managing with hydration very well, the hours just ticked past. I've frequently used audiobooks to help me on long runs (particularly solo runs) but here I just couldn't get into it so gave up trying.

Where it all fell apart
Then. just under 9 hours in, the wheels came off. I had stopped for a short break, I got up and tried to get going again, and muscle fatigue kicked I couldn't lift my feet more than a few cm off the ground, I alternated walking and "sort of" running for the next hour, hoping that it would just ease, but it wasn't working.
I had a think. did a few more laps. had another think. chatted to Cara. did a few more laps. had another think, but it was just not getting better.

OK it wasn't getting worse, but this was not good. I felt worse than I ever have at the end of a 100 mile run. This was the lack of training showing its presence.

I tearfully pull up, concluded that really was it, and told Cara.
She let me know that if I hadn't stopped, she was about to order me to stop. Apparently I wasn't looking good. 😀

10 and a half hours, nuts, not even half way. Decision made. Final. I walked over to the HQ tent to officially drop out , as you'd expect, everyone was trying to talk me into continuing. "Sit down for an hour and think about it" etc etc. But I had made my decision, that was it. I didn't feel bad about it, I wouldn't regret this (I have regretted pulling out of races before with hindsight)

Pam Storey, Charlotte and Dan
I had a chat to Dan and Charlotte, again they try to talk me into continuing, with all their experience they understand and they didn't want me to regret making the wrong choice. But I give a very brief canned overview of my recent history and that I'm 100% happy with how far I've got but that really is enough for me today.

We pack up and head home.

The Strava link.


As we pack up I've made a decision and tell Cara, I'm not going to attempt GUCR this year, the idea was to use the Crawley race to gauge where I was now after the progress so far this year, but clearly I'm not even close to being able to run 145 miles at the moment.*

*after reading through this Cara has pointed out that actually I changed my mind the following day, started planning and gearing up to do it and everyone (apart from some friends on Strava egging me on) told me not to be stupid.
I have no recollection of this, I swear she's making it up to confuse me.

So that's the somewhat late Crawley report, and that's it for racing this year, well proper races, I've got a few little things later in the year and I'm on course marking duties for Centurion this year so that'll keep me busy and out on the trails.
The next challenge

Next up

But otherwise, taking it easy. Oh and I've entered a late summer 8k swim - if I can crack this swimming lark perhaps I'll have a think about triathlon again.

So how's it going otherwise. One year on from that day.
OK. More or less.
Related image
I had planned on riding to work today to make a point to myself, but Hugo's travel plans put paid to that idea so it's a working from home day instead. and it's raining. and cold.

Most of the time I'm fine - occasionally I'm not, but I can manage it and I can anticipate and handle it and definitely getting better week by week, month by month.

The headaches are happening less frequently now.

What was I saying

My short term memory is still not quite right, and it's hard trying to come up with techniques to deal with it - without getting too annoyed - carrying a small notepad at all times seems very silly, but useful.
Sleep still a complete and utter disaster, nothing seems to help.

Mind the gap

Minor disaster when I munch into a lunchtime pasty and my expensively repaired front tooth comes apart, weekend of gappy lithspy fun, briefly contemplate leaving it but arrange an emergency repair for the Monday.
Mustn't lose my winning looks.

Alive. not dead.

So one year on, it's still hard coming to grips with not "being quite right".
Regardless of anything that happens or how I feel though, I'm just monumentally grateful to still be here and that trumps everything and makes it manageable.
Still finding it hard getting back into any sort of consistent routine, which makes planning for any sort of major racing pretty hard given that consistency and routine and the two crucial factors for success.
So it's going to either be fixing that or figuring out how to make "random training" work instead since I've got some plans and races lined up for 2020.


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