Posted: 17/06/2014 at 15:18
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