This should probably be a review of my leg of the XC Nationals in Cumbernauld from the weekend just gone, but I was full of the cold and didn’t run. So that won’t be happening.
Instead, I’ll go on for a bit about my running up until now. This is as much to test my own memory as anything!
It got started in 2011 when my flatmate at the time decided to run the Great Edinburgh 10k, and talked me into it. Some under-training later (football was my thing at this point) and I’d tackled it in 52:xx having had to stop to tie my shoe laces! And my flatmate beat me by 2 minutes. Blast.
Next it was the Kilomathon in early 2012, a 13.1km race from Ocean Terminal to Murrayfield Stadium. Finishing alongside the pitch (in 1h 01) was fantastic, and this’d be the first of four consecutive years doing the race. All for the finish! The Edinburgh Half Marathon followed in the May of the same year in 1h 38. I remember vividly being ridiculously chuffed with my first 10-miler in the weeks leading up to it, which involved lots of laps of the Meadows among other bits and pieces.
Oh, and I beat my flatmate at both events!
I was starting to get ‘the bug’ by now. The pair of us went over to run the Berlin Half in March 2013, followed by the Edinburgh Rock ‘n’ Roll Half (RIP) the weekend after. Two in a week was a bit much at this stage, and the decent times (1h 34 & 1h 38 respectively) hid some more knee trouble. The rest of the year was affected, leading to a limp round the Great Scottish Half in Glasgow and a DNS in my first marathon attempt, which was to be in Athens.
This re-lit my enthusiasm, though. I savoured my day in the Panathenaic Stadium as I watched the 10k strugglers, then the marathon winners come in to finish. It was bloody hot, even in mid-November, but it was also very inspiring! I knew I had to regroup, recover, and tackle the distance.
After podiatry and physio involvement, I got myself up and running again for Spring 2014. I headed south for the Silverstone Half and bagged a new PB – by 23s but it still counts! – and got a taste for going really fast (!) around a Grand Prix circuit into the bargain. Half marathons 6 & 7 in Helsinki (ill) and East Lothian – the “Scottish Half” – lead to finally tackling my first marathon at Loch Ness.
The spectacular scenery goes without saying (…) here, and it being where I grew up gave it that extra significance I’d wanted for this first taste. My mum was there to see me finish! Provided I could, that is. I’d targeted 3h 20-30 pre-race, but I was unprepared for the undulating nature of the course. Downhill for the first segment, I went out too quick and was paying for it even before the ‘big hill’ coming out of Dores at mile 19ish.
My stubbornness got me up it without stopping, but the last 10k was the death march. Although I got myself together again by the time I was into Inverness, my time of 3h 30:05 haunted me a little. I couldn’t speak much for the next 30-45 minutes; the whole thing was so overwhelming and I was completely knackered, but it meant loads having my mum there at the end. Even paid for a massage for me, though I still hurt until at least the Thursday after…
And that’s where I’ll end for now. Photos to follow once I get my act together! [Now added!]