Wadi Bih 72km through the Oman mountains is the setting. You have just climbed a vertical km up what is commonly known as “Butt F**K” hill (or so I was told). The reason being that by the time you get to the top, your glutes are fried!
I had run this race once before in a time of 8 hours 20 minutes, and I had a goal in mind to crack that 8 hour mark. Everything was going well and I had ascended “the hill” in great shape. There was another small climb and a nice descent to bring me to the 36km halfway point of the out and back route, and I was feeling very confident.
Then BANG. I could feel this pain surge up through my knee.
Confusion set in, and I started mentally backtrack through the race so far. I’d not gone over on a stone, not pushed too hard up the hill, I had warmed up. In my opinion, I had not done anything to warrant this pain.
Running became too much, so I downgraded to walking which over the course of a few more minutes downgraded further to limping. Admittedly, I am a fairly stubborn person when it comes to pain and expect every race to incur a decent bit of either physical or mental suffering, but this was different. I was limping along the ridge of the penultimate summit and took an anti-inflammatory, the stabbing pain now shooting up my leg into my hips. I was certain that my race was done. Stubborn as I may be, I know that shuffling along for 40+ km is reckless at best. As I was pondering how to stop the race and get myself back to either an aid station or a support car, I needed to pop to the toilet. As this is ultra-life there are no portaloos so a quick detour off the trail behind some rocks to take care of business was in order. I then stood up to get back onto the course, and the most bizarre thing happened….. There was NOTHING, no pain! The was pain completely gone, I could walk and run as normal!
Just goes to show you when you think you are done, you are probably not, yet your body might do some strange things to get you to stop.
Ultimately I didn’t make the sub 8 hour time cap that day, but came out of it with a good story and lesson learnt.