While Alan and Rich are part-way through stage 5, I find myself at the overnight camp quite a lot earlier than expected. Just before the start of this morning’s stage I was wretching and throwing up. We debated whether I should start, but given the cool conditions it seemed worth pressing on to checkpoint 1 to see if I improved on the way. Unfortunately I didn’t, and struggled to keep down any food. On arrival there I was given some antacid and anti-sickness medication, but this didn’t seem to help, and I lay on the floor of the checkpoint wondering what to do. Had it been another 10km I’d have considered pushing it, but with 58km left to go and the temperature rising it was looking like an unwise option. Attempts to give me IV fluids didn’t work out (Clare: it turns out my veins aren’t always so easy to canulate!) so that really left me with the choice of withdrawing or trying to push on slowly in the hope I improved. Stopping at a checkpoint rather than passing out in the desert seemed a sensible move. Once again Alan and Rich did everything they could to support and encourage me, but it just didn’t seem to be my day.
I guess I’ll never know whether this was the right call or whether I should have powered through. It didn’t feel like the easy option: it felt like I was letting the team down after we’d all worked so hard, but I can’t hide the fact that I also felt a sense of relief.
Thank you so much to everyone who has sent messages of support and commented on our blog: I’m sorry I won’t be able to deliver the result we were all hoping for. Thank you in particular to former Chief Scout Peter Duncan for his comments – it’s great to see him still taking an interest in HSX – and also to Rowland for delivering the great news that the Real King of Spain is back on what has otherwise been a rather subdued day.
I’m hoping to cheer Alan and Rich over the line later this evening ahead of tomorrow’s rest day. I should be OK to run the final 16km on Saturday so at least we’ll cross the line together, albeit with me as something of a spectator.