I'm gutted. Yesterday I dropped out of the West Highland Way race after 27 miles, at Rowardennan. I hadn't been feeling good from the start - during the 1st section my stomach had been sore, and I had to stop for the toilet in the bushes, then I felt incredibly tired all the way from Drymen to Balmaha. I kept trying to tell myself that this was normal, that this was how it always felt, but deep down I knew something wasn't right at all. I came into Balmaha and was in a right state - with the benefit of hindsight this was where I should have sat down, taken a few minutes to pull myself together, and told myself to forget about times, targets and so on. Instead I rushed to the toilet (again), grabbed a soup and a coffee from the backup team, and headed out in a worse state than I had come in - in less time in total than I stopped last year. I didn't feel any better heading up towards Rowardennan, and by the time I was a few miles short of there I was really stuggling, and having to walk most of the path. I kept telling myself that there were always bad patches, that it would get better, that I just needed to get some food in me, but in my heart of hearts I knew it was not looking good. Alex Simpson passed and tried his best to get me going, but it was no use. By the time I reached the road at Rowardennan I knew I was done. I reached the car a few minutes later and sat down, hoping for a miraculous recovery. Unfortunately it didn't happen, and after 10 minutes or so I accepted it was just not going to be my day. I walked back to the checkpoint and handed in my tag. Race over. I was absolutely gutted.
I wanted to watch the rest of the race, as did allybea and George, so we dropped Sandy off at Milngavie and drove up to Auchtertyre Farm. After that we headed to Bridge of Orchy for a while, then Kingshouse, and finally to Fort William for the finish. I found it fascinating to see how everyone was doing - I've never seen the leaders before, so it was really interesting to see how they looked at the various stages. Jens Lukas was first finished just after 6pm, in a time of 17.06. We also saw Phil M finish in 7th position in an absolutely incredible time of 19.14, and John K sprint to the line in 11th position to dip under the 20 hour mark in 19.59 - brilliant performances from them both.
The prize giving today was quite difficult. I was delighted to see so many friends receive their goblets, but it was hard knowing my name was not going to be on the list and on more than a few occasions I felt close to tears. I spoke to Dave and Thomas, who had both dropped out at Kingshouse, and I think we shared the same feelings - delighted for those who had done it, but so disappointed that we were not amongst them. I felt the same driving down the road, and on a few occasions I had to wipe the tears away from eyes so I could see where I was going. Already I've had many supportive comments and messages - people have told me that I did the right thing, that they are pleased I took the sensible option, and that I would have done myself more long term harm had I carried on, and so on. I appreciate the comments, and they are all reassuring words, but to be honest it doesn't mask the pain or the disappointment: this was my main running target for the year, and I have failed to complete it. It will take me a while to get over that.