I´ve been writing here always about finishing races and good vibes after big races, but never about quitting a race and how much you can learn or how you can feel down.
Running for the second time in Gozo, I was feeling relaxed and confident. It´s true that I didn´t train properly after Sevilla Marathon… but the idea was to have fun and to do my best. We slept over in Marsalforn the night before, to be fresh the day of the race. My idea was not too push very hard until I reach Marsalforn to be strong enough for the second part of the race. Big hills and technical parts, so it´ll be better to safe some strength for the last 20km.
This is me in the picture below, which was taken in Marsalforn after 33km. I wasn´t realizing what was going on and the consequences of quitting a race because it happened for the first time.
The first 20km from the Ultra I did really fast. I was feeling good and strong, I passed two water stations and looking forward to reach Xlendi in 4th position after 14kms … 6kms more we reached Azzure Window where I drank a lot of water and took one gel.. I started not feeling 100%… heavy legs and signs of dehydration.
The idea was to take it easy, at least running until Marsalforn the 30km but my mind twisted completely and I started running fast since the beginning. First 20km in 1hour 53min.
Pushing really hard since the beginning at a very fast pace and not realizing that I was in an ultra-race, “this is not how it starts, but how it ends”.
On the half marathon 21km after Azzure Window, my race perspective changed completely from having fun running with Chris Moss to going down into darkness. I was running and looking forward to get into Marsalforn where my girlfriend and friends were waiting for me. The reality was that 5kms before my legs were burning and I was having problems to run so I decided to mix it with some walking. The Salt Pans were painful; I was unsuccessfully trying to keep the pace.
Entering in the town I started to realize that I was out of the game, I saw my friends and I told them straight that I was out, they were laughing… I paid the price in Gozo and learn a great lesson “never underestimate an ultra!”
Weeks before I was having the doubt to run Gozo or not, but I was thinking that I´ll make it without any problem. I trained a lot for road races and some good track session but I didn´t run trail at all. The weeks before I ran Selmun Bay and I was feeling good. But my biggest mistake was not to go for long runs.
The feeling the day after the race when I woke up was like big hangover coupled with the realization that I didn’t make it! I was feeling angry with myself and thinking to come back to Gozo to fucking do it 🙂 crazy right?! Luckily, a few days later I took some days off for a holiday in Bulgaria. This worked out to be the best therapy to cool down my temper.
The days after the race I was trying to look for the mistakes I made and find some reasons why… my legs didn´t work anymore after 33km….bad strategy and I didn´t stick to the previous plan holding myself until Marsalforn, I didn´t build a proper endurance for this type of race… many reasons could be possible.
It´s important to know how to push your body until certain limits and know how to quit in the right time to avoid bigger injuries.
Thanks all for the support especially to the Bulgarian crew! Ryan and Donia for hosting us in Gozo. Congrats to Ruben DeGiorgio and Nathan Farrugia for making this race come true every year the best one in Malta. We need more races in Malta like this one!!!