I spent 6 months training for the marathon. I had planned on doing 4 runs a week, short and mid-length runs during the week and an ever-increasing long run at the weekend. This was rarely achieved to be fair. I probably averaged 3 runs a week, and once mileage for the long run got over 15 miles. I often only ran twice. My longest run in training was 17 miles, which I only managed three times. I had thought I would probably do 20/21 miles for a least 3 times. Also for the last 4 weeks I was struggling with a calf injury. I rested a strain for 2 weeks, then I went for a run, on the run I torn the calf. It felt like I had been shot. This was 15 days before the marathon. So to even get the start line was amazing. Luckily I have been generally active on roads and the gym for 3 years, so I have a pretty decent fitness base. So whilst the training didn’t run smoothly, I knew if the calf held up I could finish it.
The night before I had a steak and greek yoghurt. I planned on having the same for breakfast. However, I felt a bit nervous sick, so only had the greek yoghurt. I wore SKINS compression socks. Then I had support bandages on both calves. Then Calf sleeves over the top of them. So I gave my calf as much help as possible to finish. The race is a linear route, so they have buses taking you to the start. There was a pick up a mile from our campsite in Foyers which was good, so The Wife dropped me off and drove into Inverness to get a good parking spot. Which she did. The start of the race was a bit random, just on a small country road in the middle of nowhere. Which meant it was a bit basic. The ques for the toilets, baggage drop off, teas & coffee were long. It was weird that there was no water given out. However, you cannot complain about it and I think the organisers handled the logistics well.
So as I have said, I had no idea if my calf would last the race. So I had no interest in getting a specific time, only to finish. I was more than happy to walk it if I had too. So my plan was to take the first 3 miles super easy, to warm up. Then take it easy for the first half. Then she how I was feeling. This is exactly what I did. I had a few calf twinges that kept me honest and mindful. However, I felt really good, so I upped my pace a little. I still felt good at 19 miles but then the wheels started to fall off. Between miles 20 and 24 my quads and hamstrings were severely fatigued and were cramping. I was taking salt tablets so I do not think it was only a salt issue. I think it was just lack of miles in my training. So between these 4 miles I was basically jeffing. Where if they cramping I walked, then ran when they were ok. When I could run I still felt good, aerobically I felt great still. The last 2 miles, was basically just torture. I was cramping, legs had gone even when I could run. Just basically praying for the finish line.
I finished in 5 hours 2 minutes. Which considering my injury I am very happy with that. I was also very close to having a positive split. I was only 1 minute slower on the second half marathon than I was on the first. I had a couple of clothes changes and took too many selfies haha, that probably cost me 5 minutes!
All in all, I loved visiting Loch Ness and I loved the event.
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