For anyone trying to crack the 3h15 barrier anywhere in the world
PJF - sounds like you've found some shoes that suit you there.
7 for me at lunch including 10 x hill reps.
Well my first attempt at a 100k Ultra Marathon didn’t work out as planned but I never imagined the day would end the way it did.
The day started badly when the car park ticket wouldn’t let me out and I had to return to the hotel reception losing about 15 minutes. I sped to the race and reached the Forest Park with 2 minutes to spare before registration was due to close. I need not have worried as there was a large queue which eventually resulted in the race starting 15 minutes late.
The weather was perfect as the race started at 7:15 am with 20 x 5k laps around Portuma Forest Park ahead of me. The 50k and 100k started together. My plan was to run about 7:40 a minute mile pace until half way and then allow myself to slow down to 8:40 pace over the second half. This would see me break 8 hours 30 minutes and if I could hold 7:40 for longer I would.
I completed the first lap in 23:57 so thought that 24 minute lap targets would be easy to remember. I felt fantastic and had a lot of difficulty on holding back my pace and finished the next laps in 23:13, 23:30, 23:27, 23:29, 23:14, 23:26, 23:36, 23:46 and 24:13. This had me pass the 50k mark at around 3:55 and I still felt very strong.
I started to dream that I might be able to hold close to this pace for the rest of the race and break the 8 hour barrier. I calculated that if ran 25 minute laps I would finish around 8 hours so this became my target going into the second half. I ran the 11th lap in exactly 25 minutes but for the first time was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable.
I had run 42.5 miles in training without any problems and was surprised I was beginning to struggle despite only having run about 35 miles. The 12th lap was the real turning point where I went from having a bit of trouble to the wheels coming off completely. The lap took 26:53 with the last mile over 9 minutes. I didn’t hit the wall, the wall hit me.
I tried to push on telling myself it was only a bad patch but my legs had gone completely and I had to walk parts of the 13th lap which took 31:12. Mentally it was extremely difficult to push on knowing that I had still a marathon to complete. I changed my plan to run about 400m and walk about 100m and maintained about 11 minute mile pace for several miles. The next laps took 32:59 and 34:59 as I reached 75k but my walk breaks were getting longer.
All time goals were out the window now and I just became determined to finish. I was now walking and running equal distances of about 100m and finish the 16th lap in 37:50. On the 17th lap I stopped for a pee but was shocked to find my hands red with blood from my pants.
I have had problems with haemorrhoids for years and had bleed after every bowel movement for the previous week but never expected this. I had thought my pants were just wet from water I had been pouring over myself but discovered that they were soaked completely in blood. There was blood inside my thighs and down the back of my legs.
I had only started a new lap and decided to soldier on putting tissues in the base of my pants. However, it wasn’t long until the tissues were soaked and I stopped at a water station and asked some ladies if they could help me out. They raced to their cars and returned with a nappy and sanitary towel! I went for the towel but will never forget the horrified look on some of the kid’s faces as I removed the dripping tissues.
I finished the lap in 40:10 and went over to my friends and family. I showed them the soaked sanitary towel and asked for another. I wanted to continue as I only had three laps to go and at even 40 minutes a lap I would be finished in under 10 hours total. One of my friends is a Doctor and made me go to the Red Cross Ambulance for a check up. He had a look and said I had an external haemorrhoid bigger tha
continued - than a walnut bleeding profusely. Both he and the Red Cross said I couldn’t continue and might need a blood transfusion if I continued to lose blood.
To say I was gutted would be an understatement. I argued with everyone and still wanted to continue but with my mum and wife in tears finally relented. I went to a disabled toilet and managed to force the haemorrhoid back inside and finally arrest the bleeding. My face was as white as a sheet.
I had already been to the Doctors last Wednesday due to the bleeding and I am waiting to see a specialist. I don’t like to make excuses but wonder if the blood loss over the previous week may have affected my performance. It probably doesn’t help that I am vegan so wouldn’t have the highest iron levels to begin with.
Haemorrhoid problems aside I still made some silly mistakes and didn’t take the 100k distance serious enough. My pace was too fast over the first half going through 26.2 miles in 3:18. I got greedy and let the podium predictions go to my head and thought all my hard training would see me through. I should have run about 8 minute mile pace and stop and/or walk much earlier. I was in ‘marathon mode’ throughout and hardly paused until I was forced to.
I was in 4th place early on then went into 3rd by half way and wanted to stay there so I wouldn’t let the forum down! Funnily enough the final top three were all behind me until I fell apart after 60k. The three ahead of me at 25k finished 4th, 14th and DNF. I’ve learnt a huge lesson about ultra pacing and running my own race. It really is a different discipline compared to marathons and 50k’s.
I haven’t run at all for three days now but plan 4 miles on the treadmill or grass tomorrow. Thankfully I still have the buzz but won’t be running too far until I have my haemorrhoid problem sorted.
Running some water through my pants and shorts when I got back to the hotel!
Not surprised your family were so worried; don't think there's much doubt that your blood loss would have had a lot to do with the way you were feeling during the race, along with the pace you kept over the first 50k. You're a quality athlete, and have had some tremendous results this year, so your training has brought you a long way. A lot of lessons learnt, and can only make you a better ultra runner in the long term. Recover well, and take a bit of time to rest; it's well deserved, despite the DNF.
The report to end all reports.All hail Badbark.
Seriously though, big cojones for (a) being really desperate not to DNF, and (b) finally DNF-ing which was the only course of action.
With the ultra hat on, and having ended up in a miserable heap in a long race, I would fear for anyone with such an aggressive pacing strategy. But DNF means you will recover much faster, be back in the saddle soon, and cane it next time.
Must avoid the Walnut Whip section on any future visit to a sweet shop
Badbark-sounds like you have learned some valuable lessons about pacing for such a long distance and should come back stronger for it , 100k is a seriously long way alright and once you hit the wall with mara distance still to go a finish would be near impossible.
Get well soon and take it easy for a while you've certainly earned it. I'm sure most top ultra runners have had more bad ultra's than good ones as its so tough to race one without blowing up.
Recover well Badbark.
Blimey, Badbark. Thank goodness you are alright now. I do think you were compromised going into that race. Well done for listening to those who told you to stop. You know it was the right thing to do and that is certainly a valuable lesson learnt there. It seems with ultras it is not about the finish line but the journey there. Recover strong and fully.
Badbark, you did not let the thread down, you are our talisman- respect
I am in Amsterdam- Vondelpark here we come...
Bloody hell, Badbark, well done for DNFing in the end - I always have way more respect for people who know when to stop.
Abbers - Only 20 degrees too hot? I'd say about 30! This week I have been catching the 6:10 train, but usually I just have an 18 mile drive to work. Good lunchtime session, btw.PJF - shoes sound good for faster stuff - nice tempo run.Badbark - that's some report! Right decision to DNF, but it's difficult to do. Glad to hear you are recovering, take care now.3 faster miles today - averaging 7:17 m/m. Only 2 days of the course to go, thankfully.
Badbark: I will never complain about photos of feet again... Seriously, good report and, as others have said, stopping was the right decision. You'll be back stronger and faster on another day!
5000 debut for me last night at my club's open meet and had fun, running an even paced race to (a) spend the second half over taking (moved from 15th to 12th) and (b) finally smash the 19 min barrier (albeit road times are bound to be slower): 18.26.5. 3000 split was pretty much equal to my season's best for the distance, so hopefully I can take a reasonable chunk off that at the next Midland League match!
Poacher can you please post a pick of your manky feet as I can't get the pic of Badbarks bleeding haemorrhoids out of my tiny mind.
Jeez, Badbark that does sound a very unpleasant experience, must have been tough on you and your family.
Nobody has been let down, it's only a race.
Badbark - all the best to you
Gul - so an even earlier alarm call than usual then (and even your regular one is still the middle of the night!)? Good job still squeezing some miles in too.
Jools - good 5000 there, nice and quick. Not doubling up on events last night then?
5 easy miles at lunch in the sun (and wind).
Badbark - Not much else to say as its already been said, massive respect to you. Take time to recover well. You have definitely trumped Ant with your bath photo,
Jools - Ticking your objectives off nicely!
My calfs aren't playing nice at all so decided that not running wasn't helping after another week off and went out for a lazy 8 last night. Everything was painful at the time but feels no worse and maybe even slightly better as a result. I think my over exuberant stretching and rollering has actually made it worse.
8*400 on the track today. Average was 79.7 so just inside my 80 target and the fastest shows as 5:04 per mile on the Garmin so sneaking up on a sub-5 lap. I have decided my legs feel tired because of these fast track sessions as it is using a very different muscle set and you are supposed to use muscles to make them stronger so tired is good.
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