Returning to our former home area of Culloden last Sunday morning, I was set for battle mode, fittingly.
In an attempt to compensate the lack of preparation by boosting my moral I had pugnacious tribal sounds blasting from the car stereo on the half hour drive to Culloden Battlefield. A weeks holiday in Austria and other commitments hold the blame for not following through with all training plan runs I should have done. Plus I had months ago decided that I’d take part in this for the joy of it without really competing.
The briefing for the concurrent 10k and 17.46k was packed with around 600 runners, equally distributed on both races. It wasn’t warm, but dry with little wind, ideal conditions really that held throughout the event.
After a rapid start and 1.5k with the top group I switched back a notch and found a challenging, but doable pace. Apart from two hard going ascends and a few minutes of strong headwinds the track was pleasant, with beautiful scenery on all sides, to be widely ignored, most of the time.
The bit of routine I managed to gather in the past few months allowed me for the first time to run in a way that’s not exhausting to break point, but instead leave some reserves for the final bit.
A few minutes before the finish line the routes of the 10 and the 17.46 rejoined, making the final 50m funnel the most crowded bit.
Two days later ankles, shanks and thighs are still tired, but also expectant of more of the same; this battle of Culloden will see me again next year. But first: Hibernation (a bit of it).