Saturday, 11 July 2009

End of an era

Well, it didn’t work out yesterday.

My training had all gone well and I seemed well acclimatized. I also did not make the mistake of going off too fast. At around mile 50 (towards the top of Engineer pass) my body simply started to shut down – low energy, aches and pains, an increasing urge to sit down and sleep. By the time I reached Ouray I was in “death march” mode.

I had some time to think out there – all my 100 mile attempts of the past 2 years have ended in DNF with the exception of HURT (Hawaii Ultra Running Team 100) and that did hurt!! I love the mountains, travelling light, covering lots of ground but when it comes to races; I love being “in the mix” too – the competition, the adrenaline rush of catching someone, the buzz at aid stations.

So – Hardrock 2009 will be my last attempt at a 100 mile race. I have had 19 years or so of running very long and have been privileged to have the opportunities to do this. Perhaps in common with many other people, the head still wanted to race and dream for a little longer than the body was willing to support that idea but I am now reconciled and content with that.

I will still race shorter distances, I will still travel and adventure, I will still probably come up with near impossible schedules and epics but I will not push my body Ultra-long.

Many people have given me a lot of support, time and encouragement over the past 20 years to help me achieve my drams - I thank you all profoundly.


Eric Johnson said...

I'm sorry to hear about Hardrock. Looks like a tough race. I followed you on their live website. You have had many wonderful accomplishments and milestones in your life up to this point and I know you will have many more! I can't wait to read more about your next big adventure. Thank you for mentoring me during my first 100 mile race. You taught me some good lessons of which I will always be grateful for!

Catherine L said...

Sorry to hear the race didn't go to plan Mark.

The latest issue of the Fellrunner dropped through our letterbox this morning and your name appears on a lot of pages for records you hold all over the UK (like the South Wales traverse - when did you do that??!!) - people still trying desperately hard to get somewhere close to them.

Never say never. Lance didn't : )

Team Vasque said...

Sorry to hear about Hardrock. I was hoping that your time not moving on from Ouray was down to a computer error, but alas: no.

I know how you feel with your body shutting down, wanting to sit down and sleep. That happened to me in UTMB08. I couldn't understand how I could be putting in all that exertion, have all that adrenaline flowing and still want to sleep under that shady tree.

Bono is a man of cliches, but there is this excellent clip of him talking about Achtung Baby. After their previous album, they thought it had all gone stale and they went away to "dream it all up again". I really like that thought. When things go wrong for me in running, I go away and think that thought. After a poor Osmotherley Phoenix (for me) this year, I decided I needed to dream it all up again. Today I was hill training on Blorenge in the rain and I could see how I was going to run the next race better: the dream lives on.

California's the right place to dream.

PS: Catherine hit the nail on the head!

grhigh said...

Hi Mark

We were surprised to hear that you had dropped at Ouray but that was a good effort. After a few days of recovery and personal reflection perhaps you will change your mind and try again. Time will tell. Meanwhile, your own personal "Tour de HRH" was very impressive. So it was all worth it.

Jennifer and Gerry Roach
Boulder, CO

Ifor said...

Time catches us all you have made very good use of your good years feel proud.


Rachael said...

Hi Mark - sorry it didn't go to plan -- its been great to read your blog reports about your races this year and it has been great to see you so encouraging and inspiring for people like me just starting to get in to ultras.

Rachael Lawrance

Jez Bragg said...

Hi Mark,
After all your hardwork in training and preparation you definitely deserved a hell of a lot more. Whatever you choose to do, I am sure it will involve adventure and the great outdoors, nothing will take that away from you!
Keep your chin up and enjoy the CA sunshine you lucky git!

Nick said...

I'm so sorry it didn't work out this year, Mark. The build-up and first fifty seemed to go so well for you as well. I like your calm acceptance of the situation. You do whatever feels right, whatever brings the most pleasure and best sense of achievement.