Loch Ness

We made it to Inverness! Wendy was having a bit of terror when I suddenly questioned whether the insurance worked the same on her courtesy car. If they had only insured her to drive, without me as named driver, she would have had to drive the six and half hours here. No, it’s all the same, I’m good to drive.

It’s a nice car they’ve given us, a ’20 plate Skoda. Wendy hates it. Since passing her test she’s only driven her Mini, so going from a diesel 1.6 to a litre petrol, with a different bite on the clutch and a slightly different feel, and having to do the adjustment on fast, very bendy, wet, unfamiliar roads is a bit much for her. I reckon if she’d have just been trundling back and to to work, cutting her usual groove, she’s have been fine and really quite liked the Skoda.

I drove us here, we went into Inverness to pick up my race pack for the marathon then we drove to our holiday chalet. It’s really nice. Comfy, quiet, and has heating, which is an imperative as we’ve gone from long, long, warm summer into a cold, wet Scottish autumn. It’s weird though. They’ve got underfoor heating. So it takes hours to warm the pipes up and for the heat to get the room toasty, then suddenly you are lathered, you turn the heat off and it takes many hours for the pipes to cool and stop roasting you alive. Not an ideal system, really.

Anyway, we got here, race pack collected, and settled in. The owners had left us a welcome pack, a loaf of bread butter, cereal, milk, eggs, shortbread and a bottle of wine! Eek! Thanks but can you take that with you?

Then Wendy had to stress again. In the morning my race was a bit weird. You are not allowed to go to the start under your own steam, so Wendy had to run me to the main road (6 miles) where they had a collection point for the coaches. They don’t provide a return service, so I needed Wendy to come and pick me up from Inverness, 20 miles away. Poor sausage was a nervous wreck.

I had moment on Saturday night when I realised I hadn’t packed any gels (basically sugar sludge in individual packets, to give you energy). They were giving some out on the race, but not enough, and not at the required intervals.

Another stupid mistake: they said it was going to be cold at the start, wear a disposable layer. I looked through my kit, I had a long sleeve running shirt that I never use, wear and discard that. Stupid, stupid me. It’s meant to be a breathable, light top you can wear while running. We got to the race start, where Wendy had wisely suggested I try and buy some gels, and someone on twitter said if not, get some sweets. It was a wind blown, desolate hill top in the middle of nowhere. Oh dear. The temperature was about 6 degrees, but it was blowing a gale. We got dropped off 45 minutes before the race start. I was shaking with cold and my teeth were chattering.

I was looking around at some other runners in bathrobes and such when I remembered some advice from ages back, buy a cheap warm layer from a charity shop. Idiot! I’ve never needed a discardable layer before, so the advice never registered. I won’t forget in future!

We got going finally and after a few miles I started to warm up. The all I had to worry about was running out of energy and the hills. I’ve done basically zero hill training and this was solid up and down. The first 7 miles I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to finish. I just didn’t think, with insufficient training (and no hill training), I was going to be able to keep going. They had the first gel station at 6 miles and I managed to grab 2 gels. OK, if I can do that, I’m good for race fuel. Just the actual running 26.2 hills to worry about. It was brutal but I surprised myself by staying pretty consistent.

I’d said on twitter that I was going to take it easy to save my legs for Manchester next Sunday. Just a fun run, as long as I’m under 4 hours. Ha! It smashed my legs, and I had to dig deep, but I scraped in under 4. Chip time of 3.58. And a decent T shirt for a change.

Wendy came and got me and did one more drive after that, but she woke up aching more than me (from tension and anxiety) so I think I’m driving until she gets her Mini back. It was good of her to run me and pick me up if she was that anxious. I’d have been stuck without the lifts.

Yesterday we did some touristy stuff. We drove around for a bit and finally ended up going around Urqhart castle.

And got some pictures of the Loch.

We’ve had some good news about the car. The garage rang up, they’ve inspected it and are going to replace the bonnet, the front wing, the door, and the back wing. Basically the whole side of the car. Because the dent passed over the frame of the car I was worried that it might have bent it, then they’d have scrapped it. So, good outcome. Wendy’s made up. She can’t wait to get her familiar car back.

I am definitely getting a towing car for our next holiday. The Loch has been choppy and windy and perfect for sailing. Grrrr.

Right, Wendy’s up. Some twitter and I’m cracking on.