Monday, 15 October 2012

Loch Ness Marathon 2012

A little belated but below follows a report of my 2012 Loch Ness Marathon experience. Again, an absolutely fantastic race with phenomenal support en route. This year I finished in 3h39mins, 3 mins slower than last year (strangely) but I did manage to raise some money for Scottish veterans' Residencies and had a great day overall.

My longer (some not so long!) training runs for this had been as follows since the Devil:

w/c 13/8: 5.5miles (then 10m cycle)
w/c 20/8: 8miles fast + 15.5m run in Peak district
w/c 27/8: 6.7m fast + 14m fast
w/c 3/9: 6.7m fast + 12.2m
w/c 10/9: 6.7m + 5.5m easy
w/c 17/9: 6.7m fast, 2x5m hilly + 9m fast

Then, of course, I got ill the week before the marathon! Nothing serious, a small cold, but enough so I did no training for the week before. In addition to all of the above I have been doing 2 spin classes a week, again amazing marathon training, pushing the lactate threshold enormously!!


The morning of the marathon I'd slept well and had a big breakfast. The buses were as exciting as ever to the start. I didn't think the people around me really wanted to talk (as opposed to last year when I was chatting away to the guy next to me) but as we reached the start line we started having a bit of a chat. A few folks were shocked when I said this was my 5th time running Loch made me feel a bit shocked myself given I'm only 25...and that got me thinking (more on that later). We had a good chat and tried to calm one another down a bit. I always get nervous before marathons, I don't know why! One of the guys was meant to be running this as his first marathon with his wife but she got ill so he was nervous to be running alone. I tried to encourage him but he obviously didn't need it as he bombed past me and waved about 10miles into it and I didn't see him again!

The start as usual was a stramash of people eating, chatting, peeing in bushes...always interesting. The pipe band were excellent, and the lady on the stage at the start line instructing people in warm up exercises was funny. That was until the couple in front of me started doing the leg flick one and spraying water up into my face over and over. I lined up in the 3h45 area and made a pack with myself that I wasn't going to try and hold back on this, and to try and beat last year. Though I knew that would be hard as last years 3h36 just seemed to be a fluke.

Started strong and all went well (great crouds, especially the MacMillan supporters) until I got to the first lucozade stand and realised all they had was energy gels. I have never had gel before and I wasn't sure how I would take to them. Turns out they are pretty horrible and I wouldn't chose them again, serves me right for not reading the race details carefully and presuming things would never change - I'm a lucozade girl! So I think that early incident threw me and I panicked a little - I wasn't getting sugar in as I normally would on a run and had only brought enough nuts and cereal bars to last me to Dores. So a quick text to Derek who was armed and ready at Dores with lucozade. The desperation was obviously showing in my face, haha.

Of course, I was running pretty fast and making sure I kept going even when I wanted to stop, and I started to feel sick. I blame the energy gels. The lucozade Derek gave me too was fizzy which I don't think went down well in my stomach as I got cramp coming out of Dores. I managed to keep running the whole way which  always makes you feel good, but I did slow down enormously and I blame that for the extra 3 mins. Running in Cambridge I'm obviously not managing as well as I could be on the hills when I'm tired, though managing on hills in general fine (with frequent trips to Essex/Peak District for long runs).

I started to feel better about 22miles but by then I had added quite a lot of time onto my race. I picked the pace back up again and cranked up the beats, doing the last 4 miles pretty fast (in about 30mins). As I said, the crowds were just fantastic round the finish and lining the river, thank you so much for being so encouraging. Susie from SVR also shouted some encouragement and it was lovely to see her and SVR support at the finish line, which I crossed in 3h39m (and 20s or something like that).

I was tired at the end but I did feel like I had a little fuel left in the tank. I think that if I'd had appropriate sustenance and also done one or two longer training runs I could have broken 3h36. But I really enjoyed the day and a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me! It means a lot that I have your support (:

And now what? ...................................

Well, I have a place in London marathon next year (good for age), which I am very excited about. I will aim to do the Devil and Loch Ness again next year and also a half marathon somewhere where I will aim to beat my pb. This year though....that's another question!

Speaking to the folks on the bus made me think. I have done 9 marathons now. I thought it would be amazing for london to be my 10th, but then I saw another marathon I quite fancy doing on 4th November at Rutland Water : Rutland Water Marathon

That got me thinking, I could do Rutland, get experience of a race down in England and have done 10 marathons before my 26th birthday (end of the year). Then I could aim for 3h30 at London, which may be possible with good training. I am also running London for MacMillan, and what better incentive to raise as much money as possible than aiming to set a new pb! So I think that is the plan for now. I did a fast, hilly 14miles (1h45) yesterday and I think that is going to be my tactic for now - faster and hillier runs. I love heading out and just plodding along but the faster, shorter runs are really tough and I think they pay off enormously during races.

1 comment:

John Kynaston said...

Well done.

Did you get the photo I sent you?