|I hate rest days|
|Looking back towards Index and the Cham Aiguilles|
|The chimney climb|
|Cannot beat this|
Once on the summit I sat down , took in the amazing view and total silence. After about 20 minutes on the summit I stood up and felt a little dizzy and it took me a second or two to get with it. I then put my bag back on and as I swung it around my arm my phone came flying out of the front pocket and took a sky dive down the face of the mountain never to be seen again. I then continued along what was left of the ridge but I was having too really concentrate so hard on parts I would normally run over , I was feeling really unsure about myself on my feet. Anyway I got to the end of the ridge and began the descent to Lac Blanc , this was rather pleasant as there is still some snow so managed to slide down a lot of it and then got a little jog on again to the Lake , by this point I had run out of water and I wouldn't drink out of Lac Blanc but I didn't think it was that bad as it really wasn't too far from home or so I thought. The sun was starting to disappear behind the Chamonix valley so I knew that would keep the temperature down and help me from getting dehydrated. I had drank a litre of water from when I set off but never really felt thirsty all day and still managed to drink it all.
So I started to the descent to my house from Lac Blanc. It is pretty much all downhill but a long winding trail for 10kms. Just after leaving the Lake my thighs began to hurt and I was a bit concerned. My thighs should not be hurting after 11kms on the go! I can go 100km+ and not feel this bad. Just out of nowhere my thighs were burning and really badly hurting , so much so that again I just had to keep stopping to sit down. It took me a while(40 mins) to just get to the Flegere gondola station which normally would take 20 mins. I was not feeling good , my mouth was very dry and a was getting bad dizzy spells. I got to Flegere and knew normally I would be home in 35/40 mins if I was in good shape. I was hoping I would have seen a hiker by now to ask for some water as I was dying for some water but I didn't pass a soul.
|The descent to Lac Blanc|
|Body 5 minutes from shutting down|
|Every Ultra runners lifeline|
I really do not want to sound over the top here but I really did feel that bad from the summit of the Crochue. Looking back on it I reckon it was just a mixture of lack of fluids , food and the heat. I am still a bit confused as I have gone much longer on less food and water and not felt nearly that bad. I am usually pretty good at going on empty for a good while. Also this was an easy hike/jog day and I was not going at anything near my usual pace. I really really hope this never crops up on me during a proper long race or it is game over. On the last section about 5kms from home I would have been really worried if I had been out somewhere with say 20kms to the nearest water or food. I was really really bad. The fact I drank so much once home and the salty noodle soup really sorted me out pretty quickly shows it was most definitely dehydration. Now I know this was no life or death situation I was in , nowhere near it but it was surprising how much I have done in the past few years and not once came close to this. Yeah I have had very sore thighs many a times and had a couple of little bonk runs but the dizzy feeling and feeling like I was not actually in my body(if that makes sense) was all very surreal. Some would say a day like that is a good training day and in a strange kind of way I can understand that as over the course of an Ultra you do get little pains and feel a little empty but nothing ever like this so if I can deal with that experience then I can deal with a lot I guess. I just hope it never ever gets that bad on a race.
It is always quite funny when people ask what kind of races I run and when I say Ultras always always always the first thing they say is "oh you must run really fast , what's your marathon time?" errrr no I don't , that's why I run Ultras, I don't have to run fast and get a time , I am out to enjoy and to test myself by seeing just how far I can go. There are millions of people out there way faster than me but maybe as the miles go by I start to show my endurance but I am not fast. The other thing they think is that you are immune to pain and I think this little experience proves I am not.
I know I said this was ONLY 20km but I am just putting it into perspective compared to the mileage I have been doing all summer. 20km is still far. That is the one other thing people always get confused by with regards to Ultra runners. People think if I am going out a short run then I am going out for 4 or 5 hours errr nope. My short runs can be 30 mins , just like any other runner out there. I think the difference between a twice a week runner aiming for a half marathon time and myself is not that huge. The only thing you need to change when hiking up the distance you are going to run is train train train. Some people just don't have time to train for long distances and I believe anybody no matter what fitness level can train and complete Half's and Marathons(if you want a time then that is different) but it takes just a little more dedication and work to push the mileage up to an Ultra but remember most Ultras take place on Trails which are a million times more fun and interesting than running for 26.2 miles around London.
Anyway , I am all good now and going to properly rest for a good few days maybe even a week as I now need to focus on my UK races.