Mix 63 runners in temperatures between 17-23 celsius, on shady forested trails over low-lying rolling hills, in early morning fog breaking to a fine but cloudy autumn day, and give them 50km.An ambitious trail plodder can only hope for ideal racing conditions like these, a perfect cook's recipe for a PB. One would think or dare dream eh? Result? DNF!
I was trotting along the rolling undulations of a forest reserve and negotiating a gully crossing when I felt something give in my right knee. Next thing I was on my haunches in a ditch almost on all fours. I was wondering if I got shot or if I tripped. I tried to get back on my feet when again my right leg just collapsed under me.
And that was that for this attempt at the 50km race. I wanted a race well done but I was only half-baked. I was at about the halfway point (26km) of the race and I was faring well prior to my right knee going. Dr Me did some quick diagnosis and discovered that I could not push off the leg climbing uphill and not put any weight on it going downhill. However I found that I can somehow walk at some steady slow pace on flat ground. And that's what I did to get back to the start line. I strolled the remaining 8km of the west loop back to checkpoint 8. I considered walking the rest of the 50km route but decided that discretion is the braver part of valour. The next 5.5km east loop included a hill climb and was not worth risking a dodgy knee. So at the checkpoint I advised the marshalls that I was pulling out.
And then what else do you do on a beautiful Sunday morning if not go for a walk in the bush. That's exactly what I did - all the way back to the start line. All up I ran/walked 45 kilometres that day. Yes it took all day! Along the way I took some photos.
Only then did I realise that everyone was going past me.