Unfinished Symphony..

On the 20th June 2015 I toed the line for the 4th edition of the Mozart 100 in Salzburg. This was also my 4th start at this event & part of my continuing effort to raise awareness of muscular dystrophy. 
If it had been a different event I might have elected not to set the alarm & give it a miss as I had been unwell in the preceding two weeks but this event is very dear to me for a whole host of reasons. Probably the most important among these is the passion of the organisers & volunteers who together create an incredibly supportive athlete centred event. Add in the beautiful scenery, some sunshine & the friendliness of the other runners & my fondness for the event is easy to understand.  
Each of my previous three finishes has also been significant or special to me. The first edition was my first 100k, the second was my first run after recovering from a bout of pneumonia & the third edition was , quite simply, full of smiles. This event really is very dear to me. 

So I really wanted to make it 4 out of 4. My twin aims at the start were to make the first cut off (at the end of the first loop) & then make it to the finish within the time allowed. The plan was to share this journey with Ute who I had run the last 20k of last years event with. It started off well. I made it to the start line with seconds to spare, spotted Ute & was facing the right direction when the countdown was done. The only drama in the opening few kms was managing to ‘loose’ Ute. We were re-united at the third aid station by which time I had decided that the rain was sufficiently cold & persistent for me to abandon my gillet & put on my waterproof. Apart from a few brief & foolish minutes this remained my attire for the remainder of the opening loop. This was not the weather I had come to expect!!  

In the words of the Mozart 100 team..

'The weather specialists did not know better, or simply did not dare to announce the weather as it presented itself as an untamed companion on race day. The temperatures remained the whole day well below 10 degrees Celsius. The rain fell in unbelievable quantities and ruthlessly attacked the bodies of the many athletes started and the 150 employees of the organizing team by the temporarily strong wind.’

Put simply it was a very wet & cold. These conditions didn’t stop me enjoying myself but because I didn’t have the right kit with me it did ‘eat into my core’. I couldn’t get & stay warm. I wasn’t sure if I was alone in this respect. At the ‘30k’ aid station the soup & cake on offer were welcome but couldn’t stop me shivering. At this point thanks to the language skills of some of the marshals & Josef I learned that Ute was also suffering in the conditions & we resolved to close out the loop & call it a day. 

We closed out the loop, comfortably within the time limit & with weather conditions seemingly improving. The temptation to abandon the decision made & carry on was huge. I began to dismiss the fact that I was soaked to the skin & cold to the core. I began to dismiss the fact all of my ‘emergency’ kit was either being worn or soaked. I began to forget I had started the event with a cold. I began to forget what I had achieved & focus on the negatives associated with the letters DNF. Fortunately I paused, re-grouped my thoughts, re- acquired some perspective & stepped off the course. 

By the time I reached my hotel I was comfortable with the decision made. Pleased that I had started, pleased that I had been able to experience the first loop, pleased that I had been able to be part of this years event & pleased that I had prioritised my health. The DNF rate for this years event was 30%. That is significantly higher than previous editions. It gives an indication of the conditions. However, I am not seeking to justify my decision by reference to others. The decision I made, & fortunately stuck with was the one that was in my best interests. I feel no shame. Sure it would have been nice to make it 4 out of 4 but I don’t enter events to chase statistics. I enter them for enjoyment & because I can. Despite the cold & rain I enjoyed my ‘day’ on the roads & trails around Salzburg & I flew home with increased fondness for all that is Mozart 100.

1 Comment(s)

a smart decision mate!

Dave / 23-Jun-2015 07:22 AM

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