10 things I learnt from my first mountain marathon

1. 4 years old is actually rather old for a pair of Innovates. If you make comments like 'I'll wear them til they fall to pieces', you're likely to end up regretting it.

2. Should the soles come off your shoes half way through Day 1, just tie them back on with your shoelaces and they're 'good' for another few hours. A bit slidey and not ideal for your ankles but way better than you think they would be!

3.You know you've got a great team mate when, after Day 1 (7hr) they're prepared to run an extra 12km on hard tarmac (in hill shoes) back to the start line so as to pick you up a new pair of shoes. The organisers said this was ok, as long as we did it under our own steam. The locals up there are so friendly however that every passing car stopped to offer Elsie a lift and she had to keep turning them down - that's perseverance!

4. Salomon XTs are really not meant for hillrunning but are significantly better than no shoes at all. We moved signicantly faster on the second day and moved up a few places in the rankings.

5. It is indeed possible to sleep on bubble wrap instead of a roll mat. And I didn't even shiver too much!

6. It is also possible to get sunburnt in Scotland in April. Funny how I have to learn this fact every year...

7. Even if you're trudging through wet bog for a day, you can get really dehydrated if you only drink one bottle of water.

8. Navigation isn't just about knowing where you are. Elsie's route choice was truly phenomenal and I learnt loads from her this weekend about how to choose your route, whether to contour round, seek out easier terrain or bash on up. It was awesome to watch! I aspire to that level of comfort with a map and have firmly resolved to enter some orienteering events by myself to practise.

9. If the weather's sunny and you just want a good day out, why not combine a mountain marathon with some Corbett-bagging like Graham did?

10. Friendly marshalls and organisers really make an event and I couldn't have picked a better atmosphere for my first mountain marathon than the Highlander. I loved the community feel of a smaller race and the marquee and ceilidh to keep us warm at the overnight camp. I will definitely be at more Hands On events this year. Next up is the Skye sportive. I wonder if the cakes in Skye are as good as they were at the Cairngorm sportive last year?

We came first female pairs in the C-class so that's another triumph for the Westie women. I now have a very rose-tinted view of luxurious mountain marathons (sunny, ceilidhs, friendly marshalls). It was great to finally meet Kate and also Andy who I was supposed to race in the Heb with last year before it was cancelled. He's now given me an intriguing long list of remote bike rides in Scotland which are proving very tempting.

I can't wait til the Highlander next year!


kate said…
haha! no.2 explains why, a-your shoes looked so pristine at the mid camp and b-why we were so close to you on day 1 ;)

great result, you guys really made some time up. very impressed for your first mm.

great to meet you too. see you at next years if not before :)
trio said…
How I laughed!

Well Done it sounds an amazing experience. Between this and Kate's blog post I am almost tempted to try one!
Elizabeth A said…
Do it Trio, you'd love it!
I felt slightly guilty at the mid-way camp in my lovely dry shoes but decided that Elsie's suffering along the road made up for it!! I got a really shocked look as I binned my shoes at the midway camp - like I was making some sort of statement about my attitude to hillrunning!
trio said…
I'm pretty sure my knees could never take the training needed for a mm!
jumbly said…
That is serious dedication from a MM partner!
Elizabeth A said…
Hi Trio, I don't run all that much really. I think it's my cycling muscles that got me up the big hills. I didn't run much in the MM either.

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