Ness, again

Yesterday was the 2014 Loch Ness Marathon, with 2,478 people crossing the finish line at the end of the gruelling 26.2-mile course. I was one of them, crossing under goal time by more than five minutes. (Yay, me!)

I wasn’t excited about the race when I woke up in the morning. In fact, I told myself I was done with marathons; I just didn’t enjoy the early starts.

Within minutes, however, I’d convinced myself that maybe I’d just do the Edinburgh Marathon instead. After all, its closeness to my home means that I don’t have to worry about the logistics of getting to the start line – and it’s a flat course compared to the hilliness of Loch Ness.

So, that was my mind made up.

Then I got to the Loch Ness start line and I began to feel energised by the crowds of runners and by the spectacular scenery. So I told myself that if I finished under 5:30, I’d register for next year’s race.

But by the time I hit the halfway mark, my feet began to ache terribly and my muscles suffered because of it.

And so I told myself I was done with marathons once again. My body wasn’t made for them and I enjoyed the half marathon distance so much more.

Don’t get me wrong, I was enjoying the run (despite the pain) I just wasn’t feeling it in my heart and soul the way I had before.

And by the time I got to mile 17 I started to realise I might not make it under goal – although I knew I would make it.

Oddly, I was OK with that. I was OK with the idea that I’d be slower than desired. I think it helped that as I made my way around the course, I was excited by the energy surrounding me.

And then, by mile 20 I was really, really feeling the energy again. My feet and legs were still sore but I was managing to run more than walk and I was enjoying the experience.

So by mile 22, I knew without a doubt: I would run the Loch Ness Marathon again in 2015.

With that decision fully embraced, I found the excited energy I needed to run even more! And all of the sudden, I could see my goal in view again. More running means faster miles, and faster miles means I’d be able to make it in under 5:30.

And I did! I crossed the finish line in 5:24.21.

Yes, it was slower than my last time, but it was also faster than my first. Importantly, of course, it was a finishing time. I finished, and that’s an accomplishment on its own.

So I guess the title of this post has two meanings: I’ve run the Loch Ness Marathon again, and I’m going to run the Loch Ness Marathon again! (Please feel free to sign up and join me!)

To see more photos from this or other races I’ve done, check out my running gallery here.

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