The first day was amazing. I caught up with so many people I'd not seen in ages, and there was a real buzz around the start. I was just happy to be getting five days straight running on a great course with great people, and was feeling a lot fresher than I did the same time last year.
The course was exactly as I remembered it, really tough underfoot, and it got worse during the first couple of hours when it rained a fair bit, but my shoes coped pretty well and I managed to stay upright which was an achievement in itself.
I wasn't really looking at my watch, just ticking off laps until I hit eight, and headed back to the finish in around 5:05, 20 minutes faster than day 1 last year. I had some soup, chatted to a few of the other guys and then hoofed it back home to catch up on work.
Thursday was tougher. The wind was howling, especially on top of the Pike. It made the only nice, downhill and runnable stretch a nightmare as it was straight into the wind. I ran most of the first half with Malcolm Collins which was great fun, but I slowed a bit after half way and dropped back . I eventually finished in 5:43, which was slower than I'd hoped for, but in the conditions I was happy enough and ready for the next day. Unfortunately, it didn't work out quite as I'd planned.
When I'd entered this, my part of a massive project I've been working on was due to be finished about six weeks before the race. But a few delays along the way meant I was having to juggle a few last minute bits. Everything was lined up so that all I'd have to do is coordinate things in the afternoons Wed-Fri after the races, but on Thursday night I found out some bits were late, and on Friday morning, that some other things hadn't happened at all. It was absolutely sickening, but I had to cancel my leave, drop out and spend the day working. I worked until around 2330 that night hoping to get things sorted so I could still do Saturday and Sunday, but as things transpired, there were even more loose ends and dropped balls than I'd first feared and I had to spend Saturday (and will spend) most of Sunday working as well.
I'm thoroughly miserable at having had to drop out and it feels like it's going to take a long time for me to give a shit about racing again. Nothing in my race schedule is anything like the challenge I've just had to walk away from and it all seems pretty pointless to even bother. On top of that I know I'm going to eat my three days worth of uneaten drop bag junk food and put on loads of weight.