Hardcore Hundred Miles
In four months of training I ran 1,500km, attained over 60,000m of vertical gain, and added 18kg to my deadlift. I slept an average of 10.4 hours a night. I ate a fruitarian diet and even abstained from overt fats for the final two months. Everything was dialled for Hardcore Hundred Miles, yet I only made it 14 fucking kilometres. Here’s what happened…
It was dark, and I was running through a forest. The single track trail was slightly downhill. A few metres ahead, I saw a branch. Not breaking stride, I ducked, then SMACK! It felt like someone had swung a baseball bat at my forehead. Next thing I know I am lying on my back, dazed and confused. Both my head and neck are searing with pain. Blood is gushing out of my forehead, covering my face, shirt, and legs. Somehow I managed to get to my feet and to cover my forehead with gauze. Then I started to walk. I tried to run, but my neck hurt with each footfall. I knew pretty damn quick that my race was over.
I got to the aid station and was told I needed stitches. Dejected, I then told the race director to put me down as DNF (did not finish), my first ever. I was driven to the hospital where five stitches were put into my forehead. It was now 3 a.m.. I went back to my guest house, had a watermelon, took a painkiller, and passed out. That was my Hardcore Hundred Miles race.
Two weeks later, I am home in Chiang Mai, and for many reasons, I am pissed. Hardcore Hundred Miles was supposed to be my qualifier for both Hardrock 100 and Western States, and it was six points towards UTMB. I now have none of that. In addition, this race was supposed to be a springboard for another race later this year. I received no training benefit from the race. At the least if I had made 100km or so into the race, it would not have been a complete loss, but nooooo, I smacked my head at 10k! Turns out there was a second branch directly behind the first. I blame no one but myself for the incident.
I know I did the right thing by pulling out. I have always known that I would never risk long term injury in order to finish a race. Regardless, I cannot deny my feelings. I have a race in two months and have no desire to run. It has been a tough pill to swallow: training hard for four months and getting jack shit from the race except stitches and whiplash. I don’t want to come across as a complainer, but I need to be honest with how I feel. If the complaining is bothersome then allow me to send you the first draft of this post—the boring, clinical post without any emotion in it.
I will end this on a positive note, as even when I am pissed I can’t help but see the silver lining. Everything besides the injury and its correlations was first-class. The race organizer and race volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful. Kayapa and its people were amazing. All the runners who passed me while I made my way to the aid station were deeply concerned and caring. Marvin, who I had only met earlier that day, kept me company at the hospital. The hospital staff were welcoming and professional; they stitched up this runner, even though it was the middle of the night. Finally, I made a ton of friends and now have a family of Filipino runners.
So although the result of the race was no where near what I wanted it to be, there was still a lot of good things to come out of the experience. If anything I know now to DUCK and WALK under all branches, vines, or anything obscuring the trail.