I’d never been to a Swiss hospital before. Actually, I’ve never really been to any hospital for anything major. The odd X-ray here and there but never in a bed hooked up to a drip. I can tick that off the list now.
Last year (2014) I successfully finished the CCC. For those that down know, the CCC is the last 100km of the UTMB which is a ‘run’ around Mont Blanc. The CCC has just over 6000m of ascent so I guess you can’t call it a walk in the park.
It took me 17hrs 20mins. I was hoping to be slightly faster. With the problems I had, I was just glad to finish. Read the report here
I decided to enter again in 2015 to try and better my time. Except, this time it went a little worse.
Preparation, in my eyes, had been quite good.
I’d ran more miles, including some long runs in San Fransisco and Boulder.
We drove over two days before the race and relaxed in Chamonix staying with friends and eating good food.
The morning of race started quite relaxed. I didn’t feel like eating so didn’t bother. I had trouble with my stomach last year so I didn’t want to fill it just because I thought I needed food. We’d had a big feast the previous night.
We walked to the bus stop and waiting to be picked up. The bus was 15mins late. Still, no stress.
When we arrived in Courmayer and departed the bus, I realised how close the start time was.
I rushed to get my kit on and pushed my way into the back of the start field. I was at the very back of the first 1000 runners. Not ideal.
The gun went off and we started to run around the small streets.
The start was crazy last year with people racing to the front. I decided I wasn’t going to follow and left them to go and kill themselves.
By the time we hit the singletrack I must have been pretty close to the back. With so many people in front and a small track to follow there started to be traffic jams in the steeper sections. Not a great start.
I hit the top of the first climb a long way behind last years time.
I was in 500th place.
I didn’t panic and still felt good. I descended well and gained a few places by the checkpoint (now 400th).
We ran along quite a way before dropping down to the last big checkpoint for 15km and a huge climb ahead.
It was hot. Really hot. And we’d been in the sun ever since leaving the woods pretty early on.
It was now the hottest part of the day and one of the biggest climbs.
I had moved up to 300th by the top of the climb but felt tired and decided to sit down. I didn’t want to over do it especially with a long descent to come.
I was still keeping my heart rate down to around 140 and 150 on the climb. 120 on the flats.
The long descent to La Fouly, Switzerland felt much better than 2015 but I could feel the heat hitting me hard.
I was drinking water at any available moment and putting water down my back and over my head. I was doing anything to keep cool.
From La Fouly we dropped down the river towards the climb to Champex Lac. This is where I started noticing more and more runners at the side of the road. Some just exhausted but many of them throwing up. Not a pretty sight.
We got the climb and all I was thinking about was food. I knew Marin was waiting for me in the next 10km. I wasn’t sure if I was up on last years time yet but I was feeling good considering and hadn’t pushed too hard.
I reached the top in good spirits and in 200th position.
I went into the checkpoint and looked around for Marin. I saw her in the corner unpacking my food. I walked over and set my timer for 15mins. I wasted a lot of time last year in the checkpoints and didn’t want to do that again.
I started eating some chicken soup, oranges and Pringles.
Less than a minute after sitting down, it hit me.
I got a pain in my right side just below my ribs.
I struggled to talk and couldn’t really move.
Marin took me to the medics and after she described what happened they immediately took me to a bed and got everyone else out.
The rest was a bit of a blur.
They put me on a drip and started wrapping me up. They called an ambulance and requested help.
Apparently my body was too dehydrated. Even though I was drinking water, I needed more than that. The salt tablets I’d been taken hadn’t been enough.
Marin had to stay outside for the first hour until I came around again.
I was taken to a Swiss hospital to be checked over.
All was ok in the end. They only found a bit of blood in my urine but nothing too dangerous.
I was on a drip for 4 hrs and went through 1.5L of Seline straight into my veins.
I was buzzing afterwards – even if I was still in pain.
We took the bus back to Chamonix and that was the end of my race.
We took a few days off afterwards doing some smaller walks and touristy things.
We drove back on the Monday and I was feeling much better.
I didn’t go for a run or on the bike properly until the following Saturday – UK SINGLESPEED CHAMPIONSHIPS
Not sure that was smart recovery …