2024 Ranger Ultra Pennine Bridleway 270km

Since the Spine Race in January I've had a pretty torrid time with a knee injury developing at the beginning of March.  It came from nowhere but resulted in my knee being painful to the extent that all physical activity was off the cards for over a month.  Even with all of my injury troubles in the past I have always been able to do some form of activity e.g. cycling or cross training but this time the pain was too severe.

Only around the beginning of April did my knee troubles begin to subside and I took a gamble in entering the PB270, but my expectations were low.  It was very much a 50/50 call and although the injury flared up a bit after I had entered it eventually settled down again.

I lined up at the start mostly with the mind set about completing and discounting any expectations from the race.  From the off my legs felt dead but I was not unduly surprised due to the lack of activity over the preceding six weeks.  After a couple of km I took the lead and steadily built up a small advantage but my legs still felt really sluggish and heavy.  At Parsley Hay (11 miles in) I just had to stop to walk but just couldn't get moving again and even walking felt heavy and laboured.  I then started to feel waves of light nausea and was difficult to accept any further fluids or food.  I struggled on to the water station just after 13 miles in where I was overtaken and I was considering pulling out then.

I decided to carry on as sometimes the feelings of nausea subside, but I just felt pretty terrible all round.  I then started to feel really cold and felt like I had to overdress for the conditions, although part of me was telling myself that it was down to just moving slowly resulting in core temperature dropping.  It was becoming more evident that something was just not right.  I came to the conclusion that I had probably picked up the same bug my son had the week before - some sort of stomach bug resulting in sickness and diarrhoea for several days and my wife came down with same the night before the start of the race.  It clearly had not manifested itself in me yet but was obvious that I was incubating it.

I made the decision to stop a little after 15 miles and that was it.  I knew I could have probably shuffled on to the first checkpoint at Hayfield, but I felt there was little point and stopping early also made it logistically simpler for me to get home the same day.  I have no doubt the decision was the right one - although not affected to the same extent as my wife and son, I have struggled to eat and drink anything for the 36 hours or so since getting back home and the nausea has come and gone as well as being extremely tired.

I'm getting extremely frustrated as if its not one thing (injury) its something else (sickness) and events such as these don't come cheap.  Maybe the motivation will come back but my mojo just isn't there at the moment.  Time will tell whether I'll bounce back but I have no immediate plans for events at any distance at the moment.


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