Glen Ogle 33 mile – 1st November 2014
First ultra marathon!
Due to IT Band issues I was out for 3 weeks in summer when I originally had intended to start the training but due to those issues I ended up having 10 weeks to build from nothing back to get here. There was Loch Ness Marathon halfway through the plan which doubled as my final long run. The weekend after I managed another 20 miler incorporating 2 races on the same day, Glasgow 10km and Glasgow half marathon (really fun races).
I was meant to start tapering a week later than I actually started but I think I was exhausted with a quick build up, as the week after the double race I ran 18 miles along the West Highland Way from Tyndrum to Glencoe, crossing Rannoch Moor. I anticipated this to be flat but it worked out as a pretty gradual uphill throughout. – This run really took it out of me and started my 3 week taper.
This was the really fun bit for me. Buying all sorts of food and drink to try out on the day and see if it worked for me. I had previously figured out what gels I like this year through plenty of trial and error and now I wanted to test it with real food which I liked.
The hotel was booked in Strathyre, a small B&B called Airlie House which was a beautiful little B&B in the heart of Strathyre minutes from the race start…. A few days before the race there was a notice posted about how the field in Strathyre was flooded and we all must go to Killin to start the race and run the loop in the opposite direction, a logistical nightmare for the organisers I bet, and it worried me now.
We both worked the full day which was easy as I can sit down all day in the bank, making sure to take in plenty of water. At 4pm we headed home and Vicky made dinner to put in boxes for later at the B&B. The drive to the B&B was hard going, it was pitch black in windy country roads I’ve never been on before.
The lady who owned the B&B was very accommodating and told us we can sign up to the race at the pub. Heading out into the rain to find the only pub in Strathyre was full of people in fancy dress (being Halloween), we approached what we assumed was the correct place and I told my number, incorrect at first (no idea why). After we got my race number ‘138’ we headed back for dinner in the communal living room. After dinner we headed upstairs and I laid out all my gear and sorted out my drop bags.
Drop bag 1 & 4 were in the same place as were Drop bag 2 & 3 so I only needed 2 bags and could choose what I wanted, when I wanted.
Far too much food:
In the first bag I had 2 packs of Randoms, 300ml of flat coke a 500ml bottle of Watermelon Electrolyte, Cheap Oreos, 2 chocolate brioches, 6 mini sausage rolls, 2 angel slices and some monster munch.
In the next bag I had all the same apart from 2 packets of Monster munch and a walnut whip (for good measure). I knew it was overkill but as it was my first ultra it gave me a lot of food to choose from, the more the merrier 🙂
I wore my Hoka Rapa Nui Trail, Salomon Twinskin shorts, Salomon Hydro 5l pack and my Garmin. It was cold out so I decided to wear 2 layers, a Nike Combat Pro base layer and a Highland Relay race T shirt.
In my pack I had about 5 gels, a buff, an ipod and 2l of water in the bladder. – I forgot my waterproof jacket at home, which was the only reason I bought one earlier that week!!!
After breakfast of Porridge, banana and bacon we checked out and drove to Killin, I parked quite a walk away but didn’t fancy parking in a muddy field with my small car so opted for a free car park at the other end of the village. Vicky was going to the in the car anyway watching tv shows when I was out so it was best to park somewhere quiet.
I gave my drop bags to the marshalls and chatted to Eileen, Andrew and Joe with Vicky while waiting for the race briefing.
We then got marched to the start.
The race started all of a sudden and we were off, 10 weeks training had led up to this day, I just hoped the views would be fantastic having not recced any of the route.
The first mile led into the open street and road just past the Falls of Dochart, this is where Johnny Fling came skipping past.
The first 5 miles were much like the photo of the track on the right, we climbed up roughly 800+ feet before the first road crossing and checkpoint. Luckily the weather was nice, the path was slightly muddy and at first it was very tight going with so many people but thinned out pretty quickly.
I stormed by the first Drop Bag station taking nothing, It was only a few miles in and didn’t feel like taking anything yet, although I took one of my gels on the approach to it (Cliff Lemon) After the checkpoint the views opened up and looked stunning. It was a very gradual downhill all the way towards Lochearnhead, this means you cross the viaduct.
I started my first conversation of the day here with a guy who was originally from England but living in Scotland like myself, it wasn’t his first Ultra but he realised we were both running too fast so he dropped back after a few miles. I slowed down also at this point not wanting to burn myself out but trying to keep some good splits.
The viaduct section was pretty long but it felt easy, I was worrying about my shoe choice now as I wore trail shoes on an easy going route I could have worn my road shoes instead.
There was a very steep downhill section around 9 miles, I resisted going fast down it so soon in the race.
Lochearnhead looked simply stunning.
I can’t remember much of the route after the downhill and Checkpoint 2, but this is where I took some chocolate brioche, 3 sausage rolls, a pack of Randoms and a bottle of Electrolyte.
The sausage rolls I struggled to eat so after 2 I gave up, and didn’t fancy the brioche so it had to just sit in my front pocket perched nicely up against my camera. I probably spent too long at the Checkpoint fussing about food but it was nice to choose and leave what I didn’t want. This Checkpoiny also ended the out and back section which started at drop bag 1.
From then on I got chatting to more people along the way, and offered them food.
The route goes around Balquidder and down some country roads towards the official end in Strathyre over a bridge.
I took a wrong turn with some other guys after I took the below photo, but it wasn’t for over half a mile and I wasn’t fussed for time so it didn’t matter.
I started speaking to Gavin who had done the Transvulcania race before, a race which is on my bucket list for the future. Unfortunately it will be impossible to do in 2015, but maybe the year after. The race will always be there so there is no worries about when to sign up and run up a volcano 🙂
We ran down together for a few miles and crossed the bridge.
After the road crossing there was an unofficial station for water, haribo and some gels had been left there which was very nice. I wanted to take one of the Gu Strawberry & Bananna gels but felt a bit awkward and cheeky about it so left it.
This was about 18 miles in and we hit a steep hill which was about 400 feet, I really enjoyed this, I love power walking up the hills, taking in plenty of water and gels. The Randoms had been fantastic and I couldn’t wait to get more from my drop bags.
We climbed up for what seemed like forever and the sun even came out for 5 minutes or so!!
I know it doesn’t look like a hill in photo but it went on for miles. I decided to walk most of the hill, there was no point running it like the guy in front of me because I overtook him walking a few times, we played this cat and mouse game but a good 15 minutes through the pine forest.
At the tops it opened up again with some stunning views, I wasn’t looking forward to checkpoint 3 as I knew there was a long section back along the same route I had ran from CP1 to CP2 already.
After CP3 I had a long hard slog up a steep hill which I walked up and tried to take in some water and gels. From here it went a bit downhill and I just felt exhausted, I was drinking Coke and also Electrolyte drink but just didn’t fancy doing the long out and back section so I walked a fair bit of it and chatted to quite a few guys along the way.
As I approached CP4, I left most of my stuff on the table again for the other runners who might make some good use of out all the junk I brought with me 🙂
The final 5 I ran pretty hard! Maybe I just wanted to finish and have it over with now and see Victoria.
The finish was great, I could see Vicky just waiting for me beyond the blow up finish sign and I just felt exhausted, hands on my knees and saw a few familiar faces there which was nice.
We waited around for about 30 minutes seeing people in, and we saw our friend Joe come in. All along the walk to the car we got to cheer on runners who were just finishing which was really good fun to do.
Overall I’m very happy with my performance, after my injuries I never went out for a fast time, my actual time was 5 hours 12 minutes and 40 seconds, and I finished 58th out of 237. The lesson I learnt is to wear SUPPORTIVE shoes as the cushioned HOKAs put me out for 3 weeks with Tendonitis after this race.
In total I ate 5 gels (3 Gu, 1 Torq and 1 Cliff), 3 small packs of Randoms, 2 mini sausage rolls, a snickers. 500ml of flat Coke, 700ml Watermelon Electrolyte, 2.2 litres of water.