Another DNF but weirdly it doesn't feel like it. A week later we're looking back and thinking 'That was a great weekend.' I won't go into great detail as that is The Runner's job when he finally has a spare moment or two to write up his blog but I'll note a few things from my backup perspective.
The change in food this year made a huge difference to me. The Runner has blogged about meeting with an endurance nutrition specialist (this guy works with some of Scotland's top performance sportsmen). I know loads of people were very sceptical about his suggested use of Complan but I have to say it worked a treat. We used the chicken soup one as it had the least milky taste (he has developed a problem with milk products while running). Each mug of soup contains 250 calories (equivalent to a light meal) and is a complete balance of carbs/protein/vitamins and minerals. All I had to do was boil the kettle and add water. Gourmet dining it ain't but much easier than faffing about with my homemade chicken and rice soup. And he wasn't physically sick once.
We also changed his drinking habits. Instead of trying to take gels, Succeed capsules or sports drinks (all of which make him sick) we made up the recommended water/rehydration mix and glucose powder at home and stuck rigidly to the hourly volume. Since we knew how much we had started with, we always knew how much he had been drinking and were able to monitor his fluid intake. He still managed to drink some flat coke and coffee as well.
So if he managed to eat well and stayed fully hydrated in spite of the heat and avoid the serious cramp issues that he normally gets, why did he pull out at 62 miles? He wasn't injured or ill. Well, I'll let him explain that himself.
It was only after the event he told me that he had had several conversations with friends about a DNS. Thanks guys, a heads up would have been helpful! As usual he was extra busy at work and extra busy with a lot of admin stuff for the race. So on arrival at Milngavie he immediately disappeared off to take care of some admin stuff. Ten minutes before the start he appeared back at the car to to get his backpack. He looked me straight in the eye and said 'I don't really want to do this.' I knew then this was going to be a tough one.
When he arrived at Drymen he was monosyllabic. He took the soup, drank some coffee and left.
At Balmaha he was grumpy and angry. He refused the planned banana.
At Rowardennan he was tearful but we ignored him, fed him and shoved him out.
At Beinglas he was waaay behind schedule. Runners were coming in telling us he was struggling big time. Beinglas is always a low point for him so knowing that he was struggling badly and very late we feared the worst. But when he came in he was feeling good so things seemed a bit better.
At Auchtertyre the schedule had been binned. He told George that he could run with him now as he was more than 4 hours behind the leaders. This was a bad sign as my pre race instruction is always to hold George back until Kingshouse.
At Bridge of Orchy we had a devil of a job getting him going again. We promised to meet him at the other side of the hill. But when we saw him trudging down the path we knew it was game over.
So we set off for Fort William and checked into the hotel, had a few drinks and a meal and went to the finish. Despite the DNF our mood was high and we saw loads of friends arrive at the finish in varying states of health. The atmosphere was great. I hope I managed to speak to everyone I knew and congratulated them.
Prizegiving on Sunday was a great event. Being back in the big hall made a huge difference. Congratulations to everyone who achieved their goal and gained a goblet. Commiserations to those of you who didn't manage it this year.
Huge big thanks to George and Phil for giving up their weekend to help me with backup. You're just as daft as him!!
But most of all I want to say well done to the committee who put in 1000% to make sure that this year's race went ahead. There are hours and hours and hours of unseen and unnoticed work that go into organising an event of this magnitude. It was a hugely successful weekend and a fitting tribute to the wee guy who made this race the much loved event it is now.
Dario, I hope you were watching xxx