Tuesday, 23 March 2010

1. Run 5 Different Marathons - Loch Ness

Once my place was confirmed I drew up a training schedule - I had a vague idea of the sort of mileage I needed to be aiming for and knew all about increasing your mileage slowly to reduce the risk of injury. However I soon realised that 5 months wasn't nearly long enough to get fit and the early part of my training schedule was excelerated much more quickly than the experts advised.
On 4th May my Facebook status read "Jane ..... has just registered to run in Loch Ness Marathon...and shes not drunk, or Scottish!" The replies typically ranged from "Are you Mad?" to "Is this a myth or a real marathon?"
Over the next few months I got up at 5 most mornings so that I could fit in a run before going to work - I saw some odd sights on those runs; I regularily met giant muscle-bound men running uphill (backwards) in our local park (they turned out to be boxers out cicuit-training), during the height of the summer it became normal to come across drunks who had spent the night sleeping rough, sometimes the odd couple who hadn't been able to "find a room", once I watched two drunk middle-aged women physically fighting in the street, drunk men returning home on a Sunday morning (finding themselves locked out), I saw police raids on the crack houses in the neighbourhood and witnessed dozens of arrests - nobody paid me any attention, except the occassional bin man! I limped on through a range of minor injuries and fretted about how I was going to get rid of any excess fluid during the race itself. Once my friends realised I was serious they stopped mocking me and became genuinely encouraging. One close friend was a veteran marathon runner - I was in daily contact with him, seeking re-assurance that I wasn't completely bonkers - on reflection perhaps he wasn't the best judge of that. I lost 17lbs (dropping 2 jean sizes) but was eating like a horse!
I arrived in Inverness the day before the marathon - it was cold, wet and windy, with raindrops the size of bullets, everyone assured me the the weather forecast for the next day was promising. I slept fitfully that night but I was up and ready long before the wake up call that I had booked. The day was beautifully clear and freezing. Following a disasterous mix-up with the buses we were all eventually transported to the starting point at the far end of the Loch, the start had been delayed by an hour. Waiting up there (in the cold) was nerve racking, I looked at all those extremely fit people and wondered what the hell I was doing there. A band of young pipers standing nearby nervously began tuning up, then they were marching through the crowd, a loud cheer went up and we were off. The months of training were over, I was running my first marathon. I had trained on the polluted grim streets of South Norwood, Loch Ness was clear and spectacular, my lungs almost burst with the purity of the air I was breathing! I was going well, I'd run the first 17 miles in under 3 hours, when a thumping pain in my back warned me that I hadn't taken enough fluid during the early stages of the run and it was getting hotter. I reached the bottom of a long steep climb and started walking to the next water point - I refuelled then slowly started running again. The next 6 miles were the longest I have ever run, I don't know how I made it into the stadium - I could hear my friend yelling "Come on Jane" and then it was all over - I wanted burst into tears! I said something very rude, grabbed a banana and some biscuits and stuffed them into my mouth with unashamed greed. When I went to bed that night it took me an age to fall asleep, I was re-living every painful step, I had done it - I had run my first marathon.


  1. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed reading all of this - more of the same please :)

  2. Looking forward to hearing you shouting in Brighton!