But I knew it was a really big ask.
Training for an event like GUCR is tough for everyone. Doing it with three young children, an injured dog (Chewie had two leg surgeries in the spring) and a full time job, is even harder. I had a great race at St Peter's Way in February, but finding the time to fit in my running around my life had been nigh on impossible and I missed so many of my planned runs. I also didn't manage to lose any of the weight I had hoped to either, and come race weekend was still definitely on the obese side of the scale, at nearly 200lbs (that's 14 stone) on my 5'5'' frame - which obviously makes running much harder!!
Sadly...I didn't get the fairy tale ending.
All started well, but I missed a turning early on, only adding a mile or so, but it threw me, then needed an early toilet stop, and I spent the rest of the race obsessing about my pace and mileage. I made good progress though, and despite a bit of an ongoing issue with a dodgy tummy, I was doing ok, and remembered just how much I love running ultras. The scenery was as fabulous as I'd expected, and seeing friends along the course, both those cheering me on, supporting at CPs and running, was just so wonderful. I have missed everyone, and it reminded me how much I love the community.
Unfortunately, I started to walk more and more from here on in and really struggled to maintain momentum. I was thinking about getting home for the children, worrying about being out longer than I'd planned, my feet were blistered and agony, I was tired, not eating enough, and as the miles went on I think I gave up a bit, and started to tell myself there was no way I was going to finish within the cut offs, especially with my blisters getting worse.
I essentially talked myself out of it, convinced that my pace was probably too slow to even get a finish, and miserable that I was just walking when my forte has always been finishing well and running through out every race I've done. It wasn't the race I wanted, I wasn't enjoying myself in any way at that stage, and so as I was heading towards the checkpoint at 120 miles, I decided to give it up as a bad job. When I got to the CP, with just about 126 miles on my watch, I told them I was DNFing.
I've had months now to think about the weekend and my decision, and I absolutely know, in my heart, that I could have finished, and I should have carried on. With all the justification in the world of my feet hurting (did they really hurt that much?!), I was only walking, might have missed the cut offs etc etc, I should have regrouped at the checkpoint where I dropped out, got changed, dressed my feet, refuelled, and carried on. After I'd been at the checkpoint for a while, I knew that too. However, by that time, I'd already phoned Francis to come and pick me up, and think in all honesty I was just being stubborn. I'd made the decision, even though it was the wrong one. A real shame. Getting so far and then not finishing is very disappointing but I just didn't have the mental strength to get the job done.
That DNF has affected me these last few months. I have barely done any running at all, I've stopped coaching, and put on even more weight. I just haven't been able to find the motivation at all. Totally lost the love...
However, I feel I'm coming out the other side of that now, and have booked myself a full calendar of events to try and keep me engaged and motivated as I return to structured training. I know I love running, I love ultras, and I don't want to lose this part of me that has been so important for so long.