running, Scotland, Scottish Hills, trail running

I’ve never done a marathon!

Having never run a marathon before, I decided that The Glencoe Marathon would be my first.

Why? I simply didn’t fancy running that distance on tarmac. There was no further thought process. If I was going to run that kind of distance, it would be on trail.  With 5 days to go, I’m starting to use my brain a bit more. I thought it could be interesting to some of it down on paper.

The Route

http://glencoemarathon.co.uk/#!prettyPhoto/0/

Distance:  26.2 miles   |     Elevation:  1330 meters     | Terrain: Mostly trail

I think everyone wishes they had trained a little more. That is definitely me right now. I could have gotten one more run in (maybe even per week), stuck to the training plan better early on, not ditched the run just because it was a little windy (Thank you storm Ali!)

However, I’m happy enough with the distance that I’ve trained. I’m pretty confident that I’ll make it to the end. Of a flat marathon.

That elevation though! Most of the race follows the West Highland Way. I’ve walked the route before. I have however been pig-headedly ignoring quite how much height climbed happens on this course.

1330 meters. That is pretty much the height of Ben Nevis! Send help.

I’m still feeling pretty positive overall though. Throughout my training, I have found a real joy in trail running. It’s so different from the roads, and I have caught myself having a giggle at the wee vole running across my path, stopping to move frogs out of danger and trying to race the pipits flying alongside.

The Kit

The route has some pretty remote segments, so there is a mandatory kit list for race day. As well as figuring out what socks keep my feet blister free, I’ve had to figure out running with a rucksack for the first time. I’ve borrowed a wee bag that is exactly the right size, and I’m sure that it’ll be packed and repacked several times over between now and Sunday.

The biggest revelation for me has been a baseball cap. In Scotland, the main task of this garment is not too keep the sun off your face. On no. It’s to keep the rain out of your eyes when it’s coming down by the bucket load! I’ve had a few training runs where I have been massively thankful for my wee cap!

My trail shoes have been cleaned and are ready to go. I have got the exact socks, leggings and t-shirt looked out (Thnks MND Scotland for sending me a running teeshirt!). I just hope it doesn’t rain too hard. My wee jacket is great, but I hate wearing it when I run.

Food

Many proper runners have an exact schedule of energy gels, a hydration plan and some kind of scheme that includes at least half a banana somewhere along the course.

Blaeberry = snack breakI have a more ad-hoc plan to eat some porridge, pack a cereal bar and get by on a pack of party sized mars bars along the course. It’s worked so far in the training and I fear that I have left it too late to try anything new.

 

I have been guilty of stopping for a snack of blaeberries during my training (they’re super tasty!)  but it might not be an option on race day.

The Playlist

This is the bit I still need some help with. I think I might be running for up to 7 hours. I’m hoping it’s less, but there are a lot of hills That’s a lotta tunes I’m going to need to keep me going.

I’ve powered through my training with Brian Fallon, Frank Turner, Pink and the occasional Greatest Showman hit. (That’s a lie, there has been A LOT of The Greatest Showman)

I’m looking for song suggestions to keep me motivated.

While donations to MND Scotland would be massively appreciated (JustGiving link here), if you’re skint, you’ve already sponsored someone to do something mad already this month or you just don’t know me particularly well, a song suggestion would be massively appreciated!

Here’s to Sunday, a pint and hanging up my trainers for at least a week!

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