I messed up tonight
I lost another fight
I still mess up but I’ll just start again
I keep falling down
I keep on hitting the ground
I always get up now to see what’s next
Birds don’t just fly
They fall down and get up
Nobody learns without getting it won
The song for Zootropolis by Shakira. It’s pretty perfect for what happened at the weekend. I messed up, I lost, my body needs to be stronger, so I’m going to get back up and try again.
I was expecting failure. That’s not something you should have in your head when you’re at the start line of a terrifying distance of an event. Everyone else looked so calm. HOW ARE THEY CALM!!! Then again, I was full of smiles with my purple kilt and perfectly packed race pack – looking calm!! I had not expected the volume of people to be so great. Something I will take into account NEXT TIME. Where did it all go wrong? How could I have failed? What can I take from this failure and make better next time? So many questions that only I can answer and I just don’t have the answers right now.
It was all going so well.
I had made a plan A, plan B and plan C. It was all based on checkpoints. The weather was much hotter than expected for everyone but that was easy enough to deal with. I had prepared for it. It was May – the month of stupidly humid days when it’s sunny or really heavy quick showers when it’s wet. Prepared!! I knew savoury food would be available at the checkpoints and I had backup electrolytes and calories should the need arise. I even had walking poles that had taken several attempts at getting them onto the race pack without smacking the back of my head with them at every step. I’m proud of that moment. It worked a treat on the day!! Clothing was less than I was happy with but it worked well on the day. Even the Butt Shield wipes worked to keep my clothing from eating me alive. ALL of it worked. I can’t blame the failure on any of my preparations because it was all so well prepared.
What failed was my back. At around 40 miles when dusk started to settle in – a sudden spasm coming down a hill, it winded me. I took a moment. Sat down. Sorted out my poles and cracked on down the hill, a bit slower, just in case I had another spasm. Nothing happened and I quickened the pace again. Through the night it was constant hill, heather, climb, descend, climb, descend, heather on repeat. Another slip and my back yelped! Boy this was going to be dodgy if I keep up this pace through the night. Another sit down, sort myself out moment, get my breath and get moving to the next checkpoint that seemed to be at the bottom of a never ending hill. Crikey it went on forever. It was 2am I think!! My mind was numb, my feet were balls of pain but it was my back that didn’t feel right. Something was wrong. I could feel it. Plus the negative voices latched onto that. I left the checkpoint feeling pretty good. Got a good distance from the checkpoint before my back decided it had had enough and belted out a damned good spasm that left me gasping! That took me a good 10 minutes before I could move another step. When a back is not happy it has a REALLY good way of making you STOP! I didn’t want to stop though. I wanted to keep moving. This was going to be a battle that I knew I would not win. I started moving again, tentatively, slowly. No pain, good. I kept it to a walk and looked around to keep my mind on the fact that I was in beautiful countryside – albeit in the middle of the night!! The sun would soon be rising and I could still get to the breakfast checkpoint on time. Yes. Concentrate on that – NNOOOOOO!!!!!!! Another spasm that had me on my knees gasping for breath. Damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it, you stupid weak body, you utter waste, you downright mean unhelpful stupid stupid stupid back argh!!!!
Fighting back the tears I knew the fight was over. My back had made itself perfectly heard. It was not going to put up with any more walking. Well, stupid back. How are we going to get back to a comfy bed huh? How? I HAVE to walk to the next checkpoint!! STUPID BACK!!!! Ugh!! I spent the next 4 miles crawling to the 56 mile checkpoint. At a mile before that checkpoint a very lovely supporter gave me a lift to that checkpoint where I quit. My back a solid mess. Everything else feeling perfectly strong enough for the rest of the mileage!! I was a mess. Stupid back!!
A week later and my back is still tender but it was all down to tense, locked, overworked muscles and joints in my back. I have some exercises to work on to get some flexibility back. Nothing too serious. I still feel bruised inside though.
The strange thing is – I don’t feel like a failure. I let a weak spot in my body take over but mentally I kept pushing forward. I kept my focus. A battle I’ve always lost in the past. I managed to push through a bucket load of pain and keep moving forward. I’m taking that as a win. The LDWA 100 may have spat me out a bit broken but I’ve learnt a little bit more and I WILL be back! I WILL get to 100 miles and this gives me hope.
More training, more strength training and interestingly – less mileage running. Which somehow works for me. Nice!
Roll on Lakeland 50 – Let’s see how fast I can do it this year.
Keep fighting the good fight!