It all started pretty badly for me. The early signs weren't good.
Firstly I misplaced my gel bottle for my Thunderbolt belt. Can't remember where I'd placed it and finally gave up after searching high and low for it. I was planning to load the powergel into the bottle for the extra boost in times of desperation. 3 packets can be filled into the 4oz bottle and saves me a lot of hassle. But it seems the plan had to be abandoned. Back-up plan then, my arm pouch
Secondly I hardly had any sleep the night before. Twisting and turning around on bed, I simply can't fall into sleep mode. Everytime I tried to close my eyes, the memory of last year's nightmare came flashing across my mind. It was not until 1am in the morning that I manage to dose off, after England had put 4 past Kazakhstan.
My lack of training couldn't be more obvious, made worse by the searingly hot weather and haze. I haven't done any runs more than 2 hours for a few months now. This has taken a heavy toll on me as I experience discomfort just after the 15k drink station. I hung on for another 3k before the cramps finally set it after the clock tower. I was bitterly dissapointed as it was even sooner than last year. I recalled it was somewhere after 20k last year that my legs gave in. Trying to be positive, I pressed on by doing the walk/jog routine. With my Gatorade running out, I wished I had brought along some small change as I noticed some runners deviated into the Shell kiosk to recharge. I was surprised that there were no isotonic drink provided this year. I knew that water couldn't properly replace my depleted electrolytes, in fact it might have even more adverse effects.
As I was nearing the 23k drink station, my legs finally gave up and reduced me to a halt. The cramps were so severe that I can no longer walk. I had to sit on the pavement and relax my legs. I can see the muscle spasm on my calves. It was like worms moving in it. At that moment, I really doubt my ability to finish the race.
I was hoping that there were some medical officers on-site to provide assistance but there were none to be seen. Fortunately after some massaging and stretching, I was able to get on my feet again and pushed on. Now, even walking was a difficult task as I had cramps on both my calves, thighs and even toes. I knew I was too close to give up now, just another 2k to go.
Being reduced to a walking pace, it was a good time to engage in some conversation with fellow runners. This had somewhat helped distract me from the excruciating pain from the cramps. Finally, I was able to cross the finish line at 3:05 which is my same time as last year.
So here is my rating on the race this year.
Improvement Required: Insufficient medical staff at final kms, no isotonic drinks, poor mile markers
Good Job: On-time start, sufficient water at stations