Glentress Trail half marathon
I signed up for my second trail half marathon in two weeks, mainly because Izzy was going too! This one had a totally different character though. It was run by High Terrain Events and based at Glentress forest. The route profile was definitely lumpy!
I went through the usual debates beforehand about which shoes to wear, and decided with the stony trails and potential for wet and mud, I’d go with my Inov8 X-Talons. It had been snowing the day before but due to warm up considerably.
There was some kerfuffle with parking when we arrived, as the earmarked field was waterlogged. We got a space on a fire road and luckily had plenty of time to go and register before returning to the car to faff a little bit. This mainly revolved around ‘what to wear on top’. It was damp, warm, but potentially exposed higher up.
You can see from the pictures I decided a thin long sleeve T-shirt was enough, despite being surrounded by people in wind- and water- proofs (I had mine in my pack). From the off, one girl shot out in front, then there were four of us kept swapping positions behind her. I felt OK, but it was tough going straight up hill with no lead in!
I was running on feel and not checking my splits. Unfortunately, after about 4km my feeling was not good! All the girls around me overtook and disappeared round the corners. I couldn’t lift my pace or stay with them, and I became a bit disheartened. I played mental games with myself. Imagine if this was in a race like Engadin? Just keep going. Have new goals, run every step. Wait for Izzy and have a sociable run? No, keep pushing, who knows what might happen. I eased off a touch and lost another couple of places on the way up. I knew I was sitting in 8th but by backing off slightly and taking a couple of gels I was feeling much better. Stay in the top 10, I thought!
After a few fire roads and walker’s paths, the route ascends on the Glentress black mountain bike route. It’s one I know fairly well, and I was glad of my shoes with slightly more cushioning in the sole compared to my Icebugs (which are great for slippery rocks but you know about it when it’s stony!). I ploughed through the puddles uncaring, and as we reached an exposed section and a final uphill sting in the tail, it started sleeting as the wind blew us sideways. Perfect conditions for me!
The marathon racers were doing two laps of the same course and had set off ahead of us. I was now catching them up in a steady stream. I tried to be patient in over-taking, but it must have been difficult for them to be continually passed by speedier runners, especially as the path was very narrow and they often had to step aside.
As we descended off the main trail, the path pointed downwards and became steep and muddy. Surprisingly, I was flying (compared to those around me!). The shoes were perfect for this, as the knobbly bits gripped the mud and I ran thinking, ‘how would Lucy do this?’. Sadly for Izzy, she took a slide here in her not-so-grippy trail shoes and did great to make it back down under her own steam (just before I started properly panicking…). I thought I even caught up and overtook a couple of the girls, though I was only sure about one, who had a distinctive rucksack and had stopped to take something in or out.
I kept pushing on, actually enjoying it, finally! This was despite a couple of short sharp climbs that had me walking after all. A guy was hot on my heels down the last descent and finally overtook me, but I was happy to fall over the finish line, literally crashing into one of the marshals, who knew my name! 6th female, which wasn’t too bad given what a dodgy start I had. 44th overall, out of nearly 400 runners. Results. As if to underline the difference compared to the flat race I did two weeks ago, my time was more than 23 minutes slower!
The sun came out and we headed off via a minor detour to get a tasty lunch at the cafe at Whitmuir.
Covering these sorts of distances on foot seems to be becoming a habit, but the next race on the agenda was another Open 5 … report to follow.