Thursday, 27 March 2014

Loch Katrine Marathon

I was pleasantly surprised when the alarm went off at 5.30am that it wasn’t totally dark, I haven’t seen this time in the morning for ages. After a big bowl of porridge and a big mug of coffee, I was ready to go.  Sue picked up Morna and then me, and we arrived in time for a pot of tea before the start, very civilised for pre-race preparation. It was lovely to have a wee catch up with folk I haven’t seen in ages, especially Ellen; we compared notes on returning to running.  Yep, we both agreed that the fatigue from chemo and radiotherapy is a bit of a pace killer, but we are on our way back.   

It was a stunning day although a bit of an icy cold wind, the snow topped hills were sparkling in the brilliant sunshine. I was looking forward to running somewhere new to me. My race plan was to have a quality training run, I still felt heavy legged from the Great Glen runs nearly a fortnight ago. My goals were to be quicker than my Loch Ness Marathon in September, and, if possible, to run it all. My quads still need building up and hill work is the way to do it and from what I’d heard about the course, this was place to do it!  I was also carrying my camera, I didn’t plan on stopping to frame photos but the scenery was too gorgeous not to try and capture it even if it was just a point and click on the hoof.

After a photo and a short race briefing from Audrey we were off.

I love an out and back course, it’s great to see and say Hi to everyone face to face, I tried to photograph everyone (all my photos here) but since I was shooting from the hip, I ended up with quite a few fuzzy ones, some tarmac and close up nostril selfie!  I got a better selfie with Sue near the turn.

On the way out I wasn’t confident of being able to run all the hills, especially when I saw the one at around six miles, it would be climbed again at twenty miles!  

I maintained a steady plod and didn’t stop at all except to hug a few marshals and to pee (I’m blaming that pot of tea) also a quick pause for a photo shoot-out with Lorna near the turn. 

I got this cracker pointing my camera over my shoulder earlier

But more importantly was the way I felt.  I was comfortable the whole way, maybe because I remember how empty and exhausted I was at Loch Ness, I felt as if I eased myself round, not fighting the cold wind or the terrain, on the hills I told myself I could go as slow as I liked as long as I didn’t walk, and shuffled my way up.  I had a wee cheer to myself seeing this sign on the hill at twenty miles. 
Mission accomplished, no walking! 

I finished with a big daft grin which I think was on my face all the whole way round. I was also thirty-three minutes quicker than Loch Ness, a great confidence boost in my recovery and another step towards my goal in June.
photo from Running Gannet

Loch Katrine is a small no frills running festival organised by Audrey for the first time last year as a one off fund raiser incorporating a 10k, a half marathon and marathon and after its success she was persuaded to put it on again this year.  I'm so glad she did, I've just found my new favourite marathon. Now don't tell anyone about it, it's our secret, 'cause when the entries open next year, there's going to be a stampede! 
You can follow Audrey's Adventures and find details of Loch Katrine Running Festival here


Jamie Graham said...

Well done

Helen said...

Another Awesome Achievement xxx

Robert Osfield said...

Well done Fiona. It was was lovely to see your smiling face as I we passed in opposite direction at around your mile 12.

I couldn't believe quite how many ultra-marathoners were out having fun with us on Sunday. It was nice to see. I suspect places in such a gem of marathon will fill up very fast next year.

Your pictures great, capture the beauty of the place and the fun atmosphere.

Yak Hunter said...

Beautiful photos. Well done.