Sunday, August 18, 2013

More Nothings

I've had some interesting comments on my last post, but I'm still one week from resuming running and there is no need to rush a decision. Meanwhile, I remembered that I put my name down for the London marathon ballot, but my chances of getting in are slim indeed. However, should my name get drawn I have to think long and hard about it - running London would be one of the highlights of my running life and I don't think I could treat it as a long training run. Then again, chances are I won't have to make that decision.

Instead of looking too far forward, I tried to gather a few more memories of Connemara.

My crew sent me their photos, but unless someone is incredibly keen of seeing dozens of photos of my backside I don't think I'll post them. They do tell their own story with the changing weather and conditions, but then I'd really have to post them all.

I also have a list of all the things I consumed while running 100 miles; food, drink and Happy Pills. Looking at it now I am surprised that I included hardly any protein - all the sweets are carbs and even the savoury food was potatoes and pasta, again mostly carbs. It's hard to tell if protein would have made any difference - from the way the race went I'd say probably not.

I was in remarkably good spirits for most of the race, but Iain found out that it wasn't all good when after my first lap in Clifden he shouted "5 more laps to go" and I went "What? ..... THAT'S NOT FUNNY, GO AWAY!!!!". In my defence, mile 98 isn't the best place to make fun of a runner and from what I've heard I am not the first runner to suffer a serious loss of humour failure at that point (apparently this is usually Seb's joke). Iain was scared enough to hide in the shadows when I finished - I had to seek him out to apologise!

Unfortunately I missed the last finisher coming through on Sunday morning. I had checked out the facebook messages but miscalculated the expected finishing times - by the time I wanted to head off, the last man had already finished. Ray said during the presentation that this was the fastest ever time for the final runner to come through.

I cannot thank the organisers enough for everything they had been doing. This will never be a big race, it is far too extreme to ever attract a big crowd and there will never be any money in it. And yet there is always a team there who know that they will be out the entire day as well as the night, and still they keep volunteering. The runners are the ones who get all the glory, but they wouldn't be able to do anything without the selfless work of everyone else.

With every runner having a car at his or her disposal, I did worry if there might be the potential for some cheating going on, but throughout the day I kept seeing the race official on dozens of occasions and in different cars as well. Having experienced it, I am now confident that nobody in the race, neither this year nor any other one, ever went even an inch by car.

Grellan got his crew to write a report, and very worthwhile reading it is. Check it out.

For most of it I have recovered very quickly, but there was a tightness in my iliotibial band that lasted most of the week. I noticed an issue there at one point late in the race, but at that stage there was no part of my body that did not hurt, so I did not take much notice. My achilles has been rather stiff most mornings but did not hurt. I'm not entirely sure if that's a running issue or if I'm just getting old, but for the last few months I have been managing this issue rather than getting rid of it.

Lola let me know in no uncertain terms that coming second out of 12 was a lousy result. Second out of 100 or 1000 would be acceptable, but out of 12? That's no good. Who said that one's kids are always your harshest critics?

When running in Connemara, it did cross my mind that I was somewhat the picture of a frugal ultra runner. Almost everything I had on me was cheap - the tops were free, the shoes €40 from a sale, the rain jacket was €10 from Aldi, even the headlamp was 3.99 from the same source. While the shoes were top quality stuff (I'm not THAT stupid), in some ways you do get what you pay for; the jacket's zip is rather temperamental and I did worry if the headlamp would make it to Clifden, but it all worked out well and fancy stuff would not have gotten me into Clifden a second sooner. There might a lesson in there - mind, I would use better stuff for a run in the mountains!


  1. Just catching up Thomas ... fab report. Fab outcome (I had checked that online somehow)! Well done! Massive, massive achievement!

  2. hope you get into the 2014 london marathon. would be great to meet up and make it a marathon/city double header. recover well.