The following week

Andy Luke
Monday, 15 October, 2012

After almost a full 12 hours sleep on the night of the race, I managed to get out of bed without any real resistance from my aching legs.  I stretched off, popped a couple of pain killers and jumped in a warm shower before checking out of our Sheffield hotel.  After a 2 hour journey driving back home I had to remind my legs once more that they needed to be functional when we pulled up home.  I was mobile the rest of the day and to be honest I was quite proud of myself for recovering with such relative ease.  I went to sleep again at night with a fear that the dreaded second day can be much worse but was pleasantly surprised to find on awakening that I was even more mobile than the previous day.  Things were going well.  Or so I thought…..
That evening I was relaxing watching a bit of TV and still reliving moments of the race when it happened.  My stomach seemed to flip and I very quickly began to feel queasy.  I couldn’t fight the feeling for long and ran upstairs to the toilet.  Avoiding too much detail, let’s just say I had a severely upset stomach.  This dogged me the entire evening with trips to the bathroom reaching double figures and eventually a bout of vomiting to finish the evening’s discomfort.
After a terrible night’s sleep (and again more trips to the bathroom!) I felt absolutely terrible.  I rarely get ill and if I do it’s just the odd case of the sniffles which passes by over due course.  This however, knocked me sideways.  I was sofa-bound for the next 3 days feeling weak, having no appetite and feeling very sorry for myself (not to be confused with the self-pity associated with man-flu!).
My upset stomach eventually subsided but I still wasn’t feeling right so I decided to take a trip to the doctors.  After describing the symptoms and the fact that I’d completed a 50 mile race over a week ago he deliberated for a short while.  Taking some blood tests to “be on the side” he suggested that my sodium levels could have been badly depleted during the race due to the length of time I was out for.   Secondly he offered that I could have simply imbibed some germs throughout the time I was running, sweating profusely, eating, drinking and being unable to wash my hands.  Both of these suggestions seemed like pretty strong contenders for the cause of my illness.  I’m more inclined to think that it could well have been lack of sodium in my body due to the fact that I did not have enough drinks that contained electrolyte replacements on the day of the race.
On the day of the race and as the day went on I was very conscious of the fact that I hadn’t brought enough electrolyte drinks with me.  This has been a very hard lesson learned but believe me, I’ll know for next time.  I will always ensure I have a big supply and good balance of fluids with me come race day.  Please let my experience be a warning to everyone!


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