Well it almost did. This weekend I completed what has to be one of the hardest races I have experienced to date, the Spartan beast here in Morzine.
My immediate response to getting over that finish line was a feeling of being broken and defeated. All I could think of was the poor sods that were doing the Ultra Beast that day and had to do that fucker twice over!!!!!
It was my intention to complete the full trifecta, so all 3 race distances over the weekend. However I pulled my knee on the decent of the Beast and I had to make the tough decision not to run the other two races.
Part of me felt like I was just coping out and being soft, but I know that the following day I was still in quite a bit of pain when walking downhill and it could have potentially taken me out of the Ultra Beast in Edinburgh which is now just 2.5 weeks away.
As always I like to turn any experience into a positive one.
“There are no failures, only lessons”
And boy did I learn a lot from this race.
1# never get complacent. Especially as I was moving into brand new territory with working towards more endurance based races. Since I ran the Paris Super and Sprint on the same day I had eased off the intensity of my training, these races felt fairly good and I felt strong on them. These were of course flat courses and maybe I got a little cocky about it all. Whilst I was still training I, just feel like I hadn’t really been pushing myself and the Beast had no mercy for those that hadn’t put in the training.
2# Nutrition is King – As I set off on the race I immediately knew I wasn’t on full form. My legs felt tired early on and very soon started to feel hungry. The day before the race I had been prepping the chalet ready for the girls to arrive and I forgot to take my lunch with me and so I ended up just having a bowl of porridge for lunch. This was NOT good race prep nutrition. And it’s safe to say by about 4 hours in I was hungry tired and pretty miserable and was very tempted to have a good cry about it all. I didn’t, but I was very close. Moving forward to the Ultra Beast I have some tips from a friend who is a an Ultra runner and so will be putting those into practice, having my own hydration pack with electrolytes in and also some gel packs as I attempt to complete the race ahead of the time hack. I’m still unsure if I’m gonna make it, but by hell I’m going to give it my best shot and taking the time to plan an improve my nutrition is at the top of my mind.
3# It’s All A Mind Game – Weather you are getting on with your day to day life or completing a challenge it all comes down to the mind and the constant chatter that you allow to flow through your head. Your thoughts will either assist you or try and break you. So at the times when I was struggling, I was tired, hungry, thirsty and that damn hill was never ending, the chatter was all negative. “ Oh this is so hard, It’s too steep, this is so heavy, OMG its so muddy and slippy, what if I fall, what if I hurt myself” (I did actually end the race with a massive hole in my pants right on my ass from sliding down the mud slips) BUT there was a period in that race when a fellow UK racer was close by. We chatted, she brought me out of my head and back into the race and I felt good (well maybe good is an exaggeration but I felt better) and we were about 3k from the finish, I knew I could keep pushing on even though my knee was feeling pretty painful. Because where your mind goes, energy flows. If you focus on the hard stuff that is exactly how it will feel, hard. Take control of your thoughts and you can do anything.
So despite being disappointed that I didn’t complete the Trifecta weekend that I had set out to do I am very happy with my 29th place woman at 5.54 hours, especially as I know there is room for improvement and can’t wait to take it on again next year because my god what a course it was. Muddy as hell, 25km with a 1,842m elevation (yes that’s not just a hill, we went up a mountain!).
So where ever you are challenging yourself right now, just remember that everything you experience on your journey is there to teach you how to become even greater.
Don’t stop now!! You got this!!
Emma ‘I Am Spartan’ Colsey-Nicholls