SDW100 2017: Post mortem

Six reasons I DNF my second 100 mile race.

1              Luck

On the flight out, I was sat in seat 13F. From that moment on, I was never going to finish. I blame FlyBe.

2              Nutrition

Or as it was called in the good old days, food and drink. I don’t know whether it was the skipping training runs to go for a drink or recover from a hangover that were the problem. Maybe it was the fact I had been eating more like I was entering a sumo wrestling contest than an ultra-endurance event in the build-up. Possibly it was because I was in such a hurry not to lose time at the first aid station that I left with no water and only a quarter of a cheese sandwich to keep me going for the next 10 miles. That may have contributed to feeling sick and having stomach cramps from there until finally dropping at mile 67.

3              Weather

What are the chances of a sunny day in the South of England in June? Three days out from the start of the SDW and all the weather gods pointed towards rain. But when Saturday came, a bright yellow thing in the sky came with it. A slight breeze from the south west should’ve helped but instead it masked the mean-spirited and constant solar assault. My skin at halfway looked like the Dead Sea at low tide. I was slowing poaching my way to dehydration.

4              Training

Prior to Saturday, I had run 726 miles in 2017. Happy days! But it was actually 500 less than my training plan dictated. Almost exactly the same amount of training I was behind on my NDW plan. Now I completed that race, I didn’t complete this one. The difference is that training to complete and training to race are two completely different animals. Like a fish and a caterpillar. Both of which may have been in better shape to take on the sub-24. There are very few endurance events that you can afford to be complacent about and still “compete” – a run across half the country and nearly the elevation of the Matterhorn is not the place to start.

5              Motivation

Put simply, I didn’t want it enough. I signed up to the South Downs Way because it was another 100 miler and doing the “Downs Double” had a nice ring to it. I wanted to get under 24 hours but I didn’t REEEEEEEEALLLY want it. You can probably get away with a lack of motivation with a marathon but 67 miles in and still a third of the way to go, it takes a lot of determination and I found out on Saturday that I didn’t have enough.

6              Stupidity

There is such an abundance of information on running out there in the world that some of it has spilt over into the dark and murky abscess of the interweb. But weed out the unproven, the comical and the disturbing and you are basically left with common sense.

Eat and drink sensibly, run at an appropriate pace for the conditions, follow your training and you will be fine. The rest of it is just bullshit to confuse you or make money for someone else. Remember, you should be enjoying it or what’s the point?

I can only blame myself.


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