RB - congrats; well happy for you both. Was also at a Scottish wedding near Bonar Bridge which I think is somewhere inside the Arctic Circle. Inverness parkrun would have been an hour and a half drive south (!!!), so settled for some tracks & trails around some Loch which was stunning. Good boozy night, though managed to avoid the whisky thank goodness.
All in all I still got to experience the course, the difficulty, the camaraderie, the pain and the despair, if not the finish line. So I don't feel like I've missed out on too much overall. Of course it's always disappointing to dnf, but if you do ultras, then you have to accept it as always a possibility. It's only a running race after all.
I'm fine thanks Jools & LMH. Have been enjoying the week in the Alps, walking today up on some of the UTMB high passes which I never get bored of.
Hope Stu comes on with his report of an epic Mont Blanc marathon. Was great fun to watch up close a top runner getting beat up by a tough course
As for my 80k race on Friday, it was as hard as I remember from last year, but somehow managed to both perform better but finish worse.
1100 starters at 4am start and it was already 18 degrees. Was dripping within minutes, so knew it was going to be a hot one. First 10k is a 1500m climb and took exactly 2 hours. In about 150th position. Descent to next cp was 8km and all on snow. Loved it, took another hour. Next 10k was a technical traverse and then 800m drop to first major cp. Got a bit of cramp in the adductors, but still holding position. 4.5 hrs since start and sun was up. It's very very hot.
Second big climb, but they've had to change the course at the top due to most snow in the region for 20 years - so they add some extra distance & ascent and split the climb into an up/down/up. The first up was fine (I'm 155th at the top), the down was OK but I'm cramping again; then the next climb was simply the hardest I've ever done in a decade of mountain running. But finally got to the cp in under 8 hours, in 183rd place, very tired but in good spirits. Find out Brexit result here too. 271 people have or will have retired from the race by this point already. TdF cyclists come up here next month too.
4k down to the valley and a 600m drop. Takes another hour. Temperature over 30 degrees in the valley. Penultimate climb from here and it's a biggie. 1000m climb over the next 8k. Had to manage cramp and dehydration now; top out still in top 200 and began to descend well. Last year I was a mess here but feeling much better this year. Had a bit of a wobble and needed to stop and puke for the first time on the way down, but still more than a couple of hours ahead of 2015 schedule as I got to the cp where Mrs DanA and SL were waiting to greet me.
Had to stop for 10 mins here to gather myself; I wasn't the only one. Spirits were still good and with only about 22km and one climb to go I figured it was a fait accompli. Sadly this is where it unravelled. Just before heading out for a relatively easy 10k, I threw up all that I'd drank in the cp and headed off. I should have stayed longer and ensured I ate and drank as I'd be needing the energy. As soon as I'd got going it was like someone had turned the off switch. I couldn't run (struggled to walk even), and had to keep stopping to lie down. Legs weren't too bad considering, but absolutely zero energy. If I tried to eat or drink even a sip it came straight back up. Knew I needed medical help at the next cp if I was going to carry on, but it took me 3 hours to cover that 10k.
They got me into the medical tent and quickly recognised severe dehydration. Said I'd need a drip (there were loads given that day), which I was fine with having had one back at the CCC race in August after which I'd continued to the finish. But unknowingly to me, the medical director had called for an ambulance for me to be take back to race HQ and withdrawn me from the race. Despite the fact I'd said I wanted to continue. I wasn't happy but I guess they do what they think is safest.
Within a couple of hours I felt fine and went home, but could easily have gone back and done the last 14k (there was still six hours before race cut-off), but I'd already been withdrawn. All in all, l