Friday, 7 October 2011

2/10/11 - Loch Ness Marathon

And a new pb!

I'm very proud to say that the Loch Ness Marathon this year was the best one so far, despite the shoddy weather at the start. In the weeks leading up to the marathon I had done quite a few runs - maybe 3/4 times a week, ranging from faster 5-15miles. I must say that, in retrospect, all the runs were pretty fast. I think because it is so much flatter down here that I am inclined to run faster to feel I'm getting a better work out...Mind you, I have still managed to get in a few hill sprints by driving to a local town (the hilliest for miles!)

So the day of the marathon I got to the start in plenty of time. I was suprised there were still people walking to the bus as it was due to leave...On the way to the start I chatted to a guy from England who now lives in Scotland. It was his first marathon and we had a nice chat, although we got separated at the queue for the toilets and I didn't see him again. I hope he had a good run!

The start was wet and cold and I just wanted to get going. When we eventually set off I got positively soaked. The first few miles were ok, though I really could feel the effects of not having run on hills for 3 or so weeks. And about 5 miles into the race something really weird happened - I was absolutely starving! It has only happened once before - during the Devil race this year. I wonder if there is an optimum speed to be running at where your body is actively burning calories but hsn't quite moved onto fat yet??? Anyway, all I had to eat was some cashews and raisins so I munched these down, keeping some for later. I felt I was going to need them later! I wasn't aiming for a time - as close to 3h50 as possible, last year was 3h52.

The next few miles passed quite quickly but I felt I might have been losing time. I was listening to podcasts which is always good for distracting you. When the rain cleared though the views were fantastic. I felt so happy to be back in Scotland - I would love to move back here and will be once my course is done! For another year the crowd in Dores was just phenomenal. It felt like another finish line! I was mentally prepared for the hike out of Dores and it didn't feel as bad as it has done in previous years. On one of the hills I saw John Kynaston which was lovely. He said something along the lines of I was doing well, and that made me think I might still be on track for my time, so thank you to him!

I was tailing a guy between miles 21-24 and I think him pushing ahead kept me pushing ahead too...not that I'm competitive! I offered him a cashew nut at one point so that made sure it was a friendly rivalry ;) During the last 2 miles the guy seemed to find a spurt of energy and ended up ahead of me. Not by much, mind you. I decided that, whatever my time I should keep going and just enjoy it. I wasn't really hurting, though I could feel tightness in my calves and my feet were sore. I think I need new running shoes...

The last mile, the crowds were phenomenal. It was great and I'm so grateful to everyone who clapped, cheered, shouted etc. I smiled at everyone who did and I hope that showed my gratitude enough! When I ran into the home straight and saw the timer say 3h37m30s I was absolutely overjoyed. I pushed it hard to ensure I got under 3h38 mins (forgetting my chip time was faster still!). My ultimate time was 3h36m45s or thereabouts - beating my previous pb of 3h50m by quite some time.

Overall, a terrific run and I am so glad I made the trip up for it. I missed my Uni photograph to drive to the airport - that's commitment!! A photo from the finish (I support MacMillan cancer support through giving monthly so thought it would be lovely to wear the tshirt for running):

Now? Well, what now indeed. For the first time in a while I think I have no more races lined up. I am, of course, wanting to do the Devil race again next year. Only issue is I will be busy till late on the Friday and am going to have to make a crazy trip up to Tyndrum. Is it doable? Who knows. I will also enter Loch Ness again, just because I love it! And most likely the GSR too...although maybe could exchange that for a half in the lake district...any recommendations welcome!

And, of course, the question fling or not to fling? Last year I said I enjoyed the fling up to 43miles, then it went downhill. Maybe 43miles is my maximum running distance?? But, having said that I did enjoy the challenge and it would give me something to work towards in the new year. Only issue, of course, is that it falls during study time for exams. Is it wise to run an ultra when you are probably in lectures and meant to be studying on the weekends? I don't know! It's something I will consider.

In the meantime, I will continue my runs in Cambridge and continue to find new routes! I will report on my findings.


John Kynaston said...

Well done Christine. An excellent run and great report.

Go for the Fling!

Silke said...

Well done! Congratulations! What a cracking PB! By such a margin. Maybe see you at the Fling?! Enjoy your studies in the meantime!