Notes > What went wrong? >
Some 'random thoughts' from Mark Pierce who was a finisher in 2002, but thinks he may have learned more from pulling out in 2003.
It is VITAL above all else to pace oneself. Starting out too fast in the GUCR will scupper you just as surely as it would in a standard marathon. It's a long way (Doh!) and feeling good at 100 miles is no guarantee of finishing. The mental discipline to keep to a slow pace is as vital as fitness.
The other discipline needed is to make yourself stop and attend to problems - blisters, chafing, dehydration, etc. before they become withdrawal issues. Spending half an hour to correct this type of issue when you are going well seems like a daft thing to do, but it is the only way you can put yourself in a position to finish at all.
When you get bone weary - DON'T sit in a car to rest. It'll suck you right out of the race! It'll break the strongest of wills. Walk or stand still, but don't sit in a car.
Keep drinking, but only in small volumes at a time. Too much fluid can make you feel just as wretched as too little.
Whenever you feel like giving up - just keep walking. Often the deep despair, the fatigue and pain comes in waves and then you pick up again for no apparent reason. If you just hang on in there you may find a 2nd, 3rd or 4th wind, but if you make that call (to HQ) that's it and inevitably you'll look back and wonder if only you'd trekked on you might at least have finished.
That's the last thing - even if you set out with a time goal in mind and reach a point where it becomes un realistic then it's worth asking yourself if you wouldn't rather trek on to finish than just pull out. You don't realise it necessarily at the time, but to finish is a great achievement and you may well surprise yourself with your performance. All this needs to be balanced against a sensible assessment of safety and your long term health, but a year is a long time to harbour regrets about decisions taken when you are tired and not best placed to consider the options.
I'd urge racers to agre
e strategies with their support crews to deal with these occasions. I now wish I'd had my crew say to me this time something like "OK you've had enough, but we're here now. I'll walk with you to the next control or next bridge - just at your pace - lets see how you are then. If you still feel you have to stop, then that's what we'll do. But if you feel a bit better, or not any worse then maybe we'll stroll on a bit further." I think people need to be prepared to do a lot of walking at various times and to be mentally strong enough to accept that this is OK. It may well just be an interim phase before they feel they can run for a bit again.
Retrospective wisdom! Always the best sort!