Sunday, 30 October 2011

Know when to fold 'em

So it's day 2 of the OMM and I should be packing up my stuff ready for another day of navigating across the mountains near Comrie.

But I'm not. We had to pull out of the competition. We set off yesterday taking it nice and easy and were going fine for the first two and a half hours. Then I suddenly ran out of energy to the point where every step uphill was a struggle and my quadriceps would spasm and my legs would pretty much give way beneath me. We carried on for another couple of hours hoping it was just a bad patch but there was no improvement so about two thirds of the way round the day 1 course we decided to bail. Simon was a great team mate since he pretty much made the decision for me - that means a lot when I felt like I was letting him down. We pulled out at pretty much the furthest away point on the course so then had about eight miles down through Glen Lednock to cover before we could get a lift back to the event centre.

I had some sort of virus last week that meant I hadn't really been able to eat for the first half of the week, and still wasn't eating properly on Thursday and Friday. I think when I was ill earlier in the week I had used up all of my glycogen stores and hadn't been able to replace them on Thursday and Friday. I weighed 4lb less at the end of the week than at the start of the week, so something was missing and I know it isn't possible to lose that much fat so it must have been the other energy stores. On Saturday, as soon as I had burnt up the calories I had eaten that morning there was nothing in the tank and I ground to a halt. The muscle spasms in my legs were something I've never felt before - it was different to cramp - like my brain was telling them to do something but they weren't responding. They didn't feel particularly tired, just empty. It's frustrating because we were going at a level of effort that I know I can sustain for 10 hours on a good day. With the wind, rain, cold and tough terrain we were in yesterday there was lots of scope for negative thoughts, but I don't remember feeling particularly negative at any point - it was just that my legs didn't work properly.

It's the Glen Ogle 33 next weekend - not sure if I'll run now, I think maybe I need to take it easy for a couple of weeks to totally recover from the virus I had.

I hope the people who are out there running again today get some better weather (it seems alright so far) after yesterday. I wouldn't have fancied camping out last night. They are an impressive bunch.


  1. I had something very similar way back in May. The first time it's ever happened and really confusing. The heart and lungs were fine but below the hips were just not responding and whenever I forced the issue spasms brought me to a walk.

    You should follow your gut feeling, Ali and get some well earned rest back into those legs. Take it easy.

  2. In an event like that you need to be 100%. never good to DNF but there's always next time. Have a rest & recover fully.

  3. Must be disappointing but you probably know deep down you didn't have a choice. Hope you recover quickly.

  4. Sorry to read you had to pull out.

    Recover quickly.

  5. The Elite is tough if you are 100%, almost impossible if you are recovering from a virus. Hope the recovery goes well.

  6. sorry to hear that but sounds like right decision. hope you're mended soon!