Before I start this blog, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has commented on my last blogs, to the people who have sent me emails and to the new followers of my blog. I really appreciate all of you. And I love reading comments on my blogs, so please feel free to comment!
So.. what has happened since I last posted a blog? I started my third year of university and my first term is nearly finished. 2017 is nearly over. It’s nearly Christmas (!). And I ran my first ultramarathon!!
Running my first ultramarathon was such a huge achievement for me. I never thought I would ever be able to run a distance like that let alone in the Scottish Highlands where my Dad and I ran it in October. We ran ours with a company called “Running the Highlands”. They were fantastic and they do a range of marathons, ultramarathons and running weekends for all abilities. A few of you reading this may have seen some pictures of this on my Instagram (@flothefoodie) but I will post a few more on here. It was extremely picturesque but was absolutely freezing, we might as well have been in Antarctica!
(This is my Dad and I on Saturday. This is a Sub4 long sleeve running top and classic black Sweaty Betty leggings)
We completed the run over three days because of the weather and the sheer distance. So, on Friday, the distance was a little over 10 miles in the highlands and the pouring rain. Let’s just say, we were extremely grateful for the warm hotel when we got back! I thought the first day was hard but nothing prepared me for Saturday. We were woken up at 7, given a pretty good breakfast (to be fair) but we were then bundled into a minibus in freezing temperatures. Our driver then stopped on the side of the road after 30 minutes, pointed to the top of the highest mountain I’ve ever seen (maybe a slight exaggeration) and said, “that’s where you’re running to this morning. Good luck!”. It was at this point that I decided I was going to try and hide in the minibus for the day. However, this somehow did not work.
(This is a photo of the group we ran with for the weekend)
The route we ran was around 23 miles and covered 5 munros (like mountains), with the highest point being Lochnagar at around 3780ft. It took us around 8 hours.. yes, 8 HOURS. The views almost made up for the distance and time by taking place in Cairngorms National Park, starting and finishing at the Spittal of Glenmuick. They were stunning but I did feel on the verge of collapsing from the 18th mile onwards. At this point, I was just wishing I had drunk one more coffee that morning.
(These photos just give you an idea of the heights we reached and a little idea of the weather!)
It’s safe to say, that I woke up on Sunday morning unable to get out of bed, let alone walk or run anywhere. I couldn’t even lift my legs to get myself into the minibus… Sunday was meant to be an “easy” 8/9 miles (which I was told was flat but it most definitely was not). Once I got over the crippling pain from the day before, the running became easier by mile 4 and 5. The location was very pretty because we were running around a lake in Aboyne and for once, the sun was actually shining, providing a little warmth.
I have to say, all I could think about when I saw the minibus at the end was relief but mostly.… food. I just wanted mac ‘n’ cheese, chocolate, a burger (or plural)! To be honest, I was craving anything and everything. I still can’t quite believe that I managed to run that far and I don’t think I ever will be able to again but I’m so happy to be able to say that I have done it.
I say this, but I am running the London Marathon next year on 22nd April which isn’t quite as far but far enough for me! I am running the marathon to raise money for a charity called ActionHeart (www.actionheart.com). This is a charity that my Grandma works for which works to rehabilitate heart attack patients through exercise. As it gets closer to the marathon, I am going to put my GoFundMe link on my Instagram and blog if anyone would be willing to donate.
Quite a few people asked me about what I was wearing during my ultramarathon. I wore my new Brooks trail shoes and Sweaty Betty leggings every day and my running tops were a mixture of Sub4 and Nike. A warm, oversized Zara hoodie was also essential to change into after each run due to the sub-zero temperatures!
I was really nervous before I started it and I have to say, part of me really didn’t want to do it, but I am now so glad I did. I am very proud of completing it and it’ll definitely be a weekend to remember! If you’re ever thinking of doing one, please do it. You will not regret it.
“Running the Highlands”, I think I’ll be back for another weekend trip. Scotland, I will most certainly be back. But until then.