Glentress Marathon 2016

Glentress Marathon – Saturday 27th February

29th position – 04:23:58 official time

Preparation 

Marathon #3

I’d run 2 marathons previously, Edinburgh and Loch Ness both of which are pretty much flat as a pancake, so this seemed like a great way to start 2016 off with a bang, and see where my fitness level is early on in the season, hopefully ready to build on when it comes to the longer races in summer.

I had enjoyed the build up to this race, remaining injury free, doing nice long runs at the weekend and some speed session’s mid-week to keep the legs ticking over.

Race Stats:

2 laps – Half Marathon each

4980ft elevation total

Ran on bike trails with 2 miles of downhill

Gear

  • Salomon Hydro vest with the 2 soft flasks – I hate these damn flasks nowadays for leaking.
  • Inov8 Race Ultra shoes, Injinji Socks
  • Bright red shorts
  • Compressport base layer, Devil top, Windproof and gloves
  • Fling buff

The shoes weren’t the best for this because most of the trail was very hard packed so my feet were killing, and the muddy sections were pure slippy!

Pre-Race

Vicky was also doing this marathon too so I drove us down on Friday evening after work to check into the MacDonald Cardona Golf & Spa Hotel. Very fancy!!! I booked us in this hotel because it was a low price and close to the race start, wow it was beautiful, reminded us of Port Orleans French Quarter at Disney.

During the drive we ate dinner at a service station in the car (Pre made low carb pizza with low carb brownie) and spoke to Casey on the phone about some plans for the race.

Once checked in we relaxed with Radox, Rugby and Catfish before trying to get an early night.

We decided not to book breakfast because it was extortionate so we had made our own the night before, a well packed fruit bowl with full fat greek yoghurt, mixed nuts and berries – Was delicious!

Set off for the race too early because we didn’t realise how close we really were to the start.

Nutrition

I packed in two 500ml flasks with Naked Tailwind, 2 spare pouches of Raspberry Buzz tailwind and 3 pork sausages for some substantial food.

Chai Charge bars & a gel for backup or worst case scenario.

Race

Marathon start – 9.30am

Loop 1: 02:01:06

The first few miles were really fast, I got caught up in it all running along the wider roads up to the forest tracks.

The climbs for the first half of the loop were pretty runnable when feeling fresh but I’m not that good at powering up the uphill’s like some folk there. My favourite and fastest sections were the rolling technical sections through the woods, they were great fun! Luckily I didn’t even go over on my ankle even though some of it was a little too fast for my comfort levels.

The switchbacks ‘near’ the top were also runnable, I thought they’d be horrendous after going up switchbacks in the Lakes but they were only on a slight gradient which just grinded you down but you could maintain a nice pace.

I stopped a few times on this loop to take photos because the area was beautiful!

Had about 10/15 half marathon runners charging by me, I let them all go past without bothering too much, and tried to keep up with them on the descents. The descents were a strong point, even the really steep heather filled ones, I love descending as fast as my legs will go without falling.

The first water stop was at 10 miles, I had drank 1 full bottle of Tailwind so I poured my bottle full of water and attempted to put a pouch of Tailwind in the bottle. I’d say 30% of it went in, the rest of the powder was all over my hands and all over the grass!

Beautiful views from the top.

A mighty sting in the tail near the end of the first loop when you thought it was all downhill from the top, naw we’ll throw in 2 super steep uphill’s, man it was hands on knees grinding, almost steep enough for hands on the ground haha. I was thinking “I can’t be bothered doing this again”, I did definitely go out too fast but it was fun while I felt fresh, but paid the price in the second loop.

The final 2 miles were some really nice downhills back to the visitor centre place. The first mile was pretty slippy muddy bike trails and the final mile was through woodland on trails with roots everywhere.

The volunteers and people along the course were very encouraging and supportive and I really appreciated their words of encouragement throughout.

When I finished the first loop, I headed to the aid station and the guy gave me a cup of coke and told me to help myself to a 9Bar and some flapjack. I had the coke, a tiny bit of flapjack and a jelly baby before walking up the stairs out the aid station and into the next loop.

Loop 2: 02:22:51 (21 minutes slower)

During this looped I had the plan to maintain a good slow pace for at least the first ¾ of the loop, then try to run hard the final ¼.

The pace on the ascents slowed a lot during this lap, I walked some of the steeper inclines to get a rest for the flats and downs, again though my favourite bit was the technical section in the middle through the woods, it was so much fun!

The climbs must have really worse me out because I felt pretty weak at this point, the sausages were working a treat and the Tailwind was fine if not a little watered down after the incident on the first lap.

I was constantly stopping by the side of the trails where there were streams to stand in  and fully soak my feet, thinking it would take away the soreness on the balls of my feet from rubbing, it helped for the time being.

I power hiked the climbs and was thinking about the final 2 steep climbs to come. The descent was a huge relief though, knowing it was all almost downhill from there out. I loved the final 2 miles too! I ran so hard I thought I was going to fall over, I even got a stitch!!!

Crossed the line in 4 hours, 23 minutes, 58 seconds in 29th position. Certainly no PB but it was never going to be on such a hilly course.

I waited around for a bit, got changed, got food and drink, chatted to some familiar and new faces around the café area and waited for Vicky to come in.

She had the same method of pushing hard towards the end and came in ahead of schedule at 06:31:53, which is a PB for her on a trail marathon.

Happy marathon finishers.

We grabbed a drink and headed off to Abington services for Krispy Kreames and then back in Milngavie for McDonalds, woooo!!

Post Race thoughts

  • Excellent course, would do it again! Well marshaled, well organised and a nice choice of T shirt colours (despite not being allowed a purple one)
  • Very happy with the outcome, happy the training runs are paying off and look forward to seeing what the year brings in terms for new distances and new challenges into the unknown!
  • Tailwind works a treat but would need a different pouring methods. Was thinking of using cheap bottles already mixed up and just pouring them into the soft flasks from the drop bags.
  • Cold sausages are surprisingly nice
  • Inov8 shoes are pretty good for long distances on me, but the Compressport top is not, too much chaffing under the arms.

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