It's time for me to stop posting on my 'event specific' 24 hour blog www.ians24.blogspot.com and to move back to this mainstream site, where I plan to share some of my thoughts from the weekend. First, the facts: I completed 250 laps of the 400m track (exactly 100km) at Tooting Bec in 12 hours 28 minutes. I had real problems from about 8 hours onwards keeping any food down, starting getting really cold, and hit a complete low after about 10 and a half hours when I could see no way of carrying on. It was a great surprise that I managed to get going again and for a while was running reasonably well, but within an hour I was heading for yet another low. I decided to cut my losses and stop when I reached the 100 km mark, and this time no-one was able to persuade me otherwise. A day or so further on I am disappointed that I didn't run for the full 24 hours but still don't think there was any way I could have continued: I just couldn't get my head round the thought I would be out there, in the close to freezing temperatures, for another 11 and a half hours, and my body was not prepared to push through the barrier, perhaps because of the lack of food.
Despite the disappointing outcome of the run there were many positives from the weekend. It was great to spend a bit of time with Dave and Lee. The level of support they gave me the whole time I was in London was incredible. Nothing was too much trouble for them, even down to making me my pre-ordered Friday night dinner of pasta and chicken, and my pre-race breakfast of scrambled eggs on toast. Guys, you were just brilliant - you couldn't have made me feel more welcome. I was also really touched by the number of people who sent text messages of encouragement and posted comments on the blog. A particular mention is due to Brian, who travelled down from Milton Keynes with his daughter, and watched the first few hours of the race. Dave has already said it on his blog but I want to say it again here: the WHW family is a very special and close group of people, and I feel privileged to be a part of it.
A couple of members of that family produced outstanding results. Paul Hart ran more than 140 miles to finish in 2nd place, and Aileen Scott ran more than 117 miles to finish 1st lady. Wonderful performances from them both. Congratulations also to Rachel McCuaig, who reached her target of 100 miles - I thought she had dropped out at one stage when I thought I saw her in non-running clothes, but quickly realised I was looking at her identical twin sister who was providing support - and to Ian McCuaig and Ray McCurdy, who both put in their usual gutsy performances.
So what now? I maybe need to have a bit of a rethink, and take on board 'John's' comments which were left on my other blog (Incidentally if John is reading this can you let me know who you are? The comment was valid but I would rather know who had made it. Thanks.)
I think the time has come to rethink what you want to achieve as a runner. In the last 2 years all you have achieved is a giant step backards. ultras, marathons, half marathons, 10k and cross country you are now just average. You are better than this Ian.
There is no doubt in my mind that I have done a lot, probably too much, this year: 7 ultras and a marathon is definitely not a recipe for achieving PBs (unless your name is Richie Cunningham or George Reid...) However there are other factors that affect my ability to achieve faster times, particularly how busy I am at work. I have been running consistently now for almost 20 years, and when I look back at my best spells they have always coincided with periods when I have not been as busy or under the same pressure. I have also felt that my running has not been as good since I left Troon in 2003. Prior to that, I would be down at the club twice a week, bashing out high quality sessions with 5 or 6 people of a similar standard; I don't get the chance to do that now. Also, George and I used to meet up almost every Sunday morning for a long run of between 15 and 25 miles at a decent pace, and we would often go out on a Wednesday night for a tough tempo run of up to 10 miles - some nights we could hardly move because of the gale force wind, but it certainly helped improve both our times.
I plan to have a week or so without running to let my body recover, then have a fairly easy period throughout November. That will give me the chance to have a serious think about my plans and targets for next year.