Learning From Failure Again
I’ve been thinking back to the 100k.
Everything was going smoothly until about 81k. I hit a patch on the course where I had to open and close lots of gates and wade through mud. It wasn’t especially tricky but I started to lose my flow.
Even up until then it was my goal to finish within 15 hours.
By 84k I’d been going for about 12 hours 45 minutes and it was beginning to get dark. I started doing calculations in my head. 10 miles in 2 hours and 15 minutes. In the dark. Through similar terrain.
The more you start to think in an ultra, the harder it gets. Sometimes it’s best to remain in a perpetual state of denial.
I’m not running 100k today! It’s only 8×8 mile runs!
My goal was to get to the final rest point before it was fully dark. But by 86k the sun was already down and I hadn’t even switched my head lamp on. I had to stop to do that about a kilometre before the rest point and starting up again was a bit of a chore.
I tried to regroup at the final rest stop. The 15 hour finish was gone but I knew I could still get a personal best if I finished in 15 hours 30 mins. I tried to rest for a little bit but was overcome by nausea. I was beginning to feel faint. Panic set in. And before I knew it I was in the medical area vomiting into a plastic bag.
“Better out than in mate”
Every time I’ve failed I’ve come back a little bit stronger. I need to be quicker. I have to work on fuelling. I took too much on board during the last 100k.
More importantly I’ve just got to keep off the alcohol. This allows me to train every day and it means that in each ultramarathon I will be stronger going forward.
I can cringe all I want about the experience, but I’m getting closer to where I want to be. I still harbour these mad thoughts of catching the night bus down to Shoreditch and getting smashed on Jamaician Tonic Wine but I know that thought isn’t me.
If I have a purpose in life it is to keep on this path. If I give in to booze and hopelessness then I’m setting a shitty example to the world.
There has to be hope.