Saturday, 8 September 2007

Day 0 - Race Day

Greetings from from Kleine Scheidegge!

Job done. That's me in front of the north face of the Eiger. The weather was absolutely perfect. It was lovely and sunny but not once did I feel too hot. The scenery was stunning. My fan club were out in force (aka Rosie, Vicky, Lucy and Polly) and managed to see me at five different places by jumping on the (extremely crowded) mountain trains.

After my scary run the other week where I fell to pieces after 15 miles I was determined to make sure I kept hydrated and my energy levels topped up. As it turned out I had a 26 mile long buffet. I took so much fluid and energy stuff at each water station that I'd only just finished it by the time I reached the next one. It did the trick as I didn't have any real lows, no cramps and I feel fairly spritely considering, but I'll be giving energy bars, gels and drink a miss for a few days.

At one drink station I was handed a honey based gel sachet that has been pre-opened, unknown to me. The stuff flooded out all over my hands and got everywhere. It was horrible. I had to keep my fingers spread for over a mile to stop them sticking together. Gross.

Unfortunately, it took me a time just outside of 5 hours (5:08) to drag my carcass up the mountain but (and here comes the excuse) the crowds were horrific. I made the mistake of starting too far back and got stuck behind hundreds of other runners. Interestingly, I finished in a time identical to the expected finish time zone that I started in, just behind the 5 hour marker. Normally, I'd start as near the front as possible and run like hell to get clear but I was worried about tiring myself out on this one. Big mistake. I had no room to move for the first 20km and most of the last 4km. It was like Oxford Street on a Christmas Eve. I did manage to make up about 20 places on the last downhill stretch due to the Swiss reluctance to let loose downhill (and thanks to a wide path). In fairness being held back probably stopped me overdoing it but I reckon on the day I could have done 4:45ish. My fellow blogger Aquaasho did a fantastic run of 4:19. Well done AC. Shame we didn't meet up.

I managed to meet up with a few of my new friends from the August training week at the start, Robert (French), Rolf (Dutch) and Franz (Swiss German). I also bumped into Diana (Swiss French) several times on the run. Looking at the results I was sandwiched between Karl-Ludwig (German) and Denise (Swiss German) by a few minutes. Unfortunately I didn't see either of them.

On the run down to the finish I experienced a very strong wave of emotion. It was the pent up grief I've bottled up since Tony died. I've had similar waves recently. It's as if the pressure has found a way out but I managed to put the stopper back in. This time I found to difficult to breath properly but as I was sprinting downhill at the time I reckon it provided the distraction required to stop the wave. I was expecting to have my own private breakdown at the finish but it was just too crowded and busy to afford that particular luxury. It'll have to wait until another time.

This blog has served its purpose now but I can't shut it down just yet so stay tuned while I decide what to do with it. TTFN


aquaasho said...

Ha ha I had the same experience with the gel! I just wanted to carry one for a while (just in case) and they gave me an open one!

Well done Mick! Tony would be very proud of your achievement and the effort you have put into your training and preparation. Wasn't it the most spectacular marathon scenery ever! You were so lucky to have your supporters. I got plenty of support from British onlookers as they saw my Irish gear.

Well done again! Don't close the blog, just use it for your next endeavour. (Thanks for the mention in your blogpost!) I've only just arrived home, haven't got round to blogging just yet!

aquaasho said...

Hey Mick did you get the special name bibs because of that training week you did? Great idea!

Mick said...

Hi Aisling. It was something special wasn't it. We were very lucky with the weather. Today is overcast so we wouldn't have had the views of the mountains. Lucy (daughter no 2) and I went up the cable car to Mannlichen and burst through the clouds to an awesome view of mountains above a sea of clouds(see photos on my flickr page). We walked back along the last 5km of the course. It was bad enough walking down never mind running up. We are not going home until Monday evening so we're off up the Jungfraujoch on the train tomorrow. Thanks for the encouragement on the blog. I think I will keep it going. I've got the OMM in Scotland in six weeks. Yes, The named bibs were due to the training week.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mick,

Just wanted to say bloody well done!!!

Of course, if you'd spoken to me before you signed up for this, I'd have done it with you (only faster!). :o) You know how I love running!

A great blog, hope to speak to you soon.



aquaasho said...

Hi Mick

In case you didn't see it, here's a link to download a few seconds of your finish!