1.2mile swim (Loch Linnhe), 56mile mountain bike (4 laps of Cow Hill / Glen Nevis) and 13mile run (involving a not insignificant hill).
Not exactly a hill race but it was pretty hilly so I thought it sort of counted. First of all, I survived (yippee!). This is a truly awesome race and everyone should do it at least once.
The race started at 7am to make the best of slack tide but despite the early hours there was still a good crowd there to support. Getting into the water was pretty tough as there was no way of kidding myself it was going to be warm – even with two swimhats. The pain in my hands from the cold was pretty bad but they soon went numb and once the whistle went I didn’t care anyway. Managed to get into quite a good rhythm, despite swimming slap bang into two different buoys and having to weave about to avoid the flailing limbs of the guy in front who was doing breaststroke.
I got out the water a good 12 min faster than I had in my last triathlon in Aberfeldy. Got my paws stuck in the wetsuit, maybe cos they were so cold, or maybe because of my watch but I’m sure it afforded lots of amusement to any onlookers. Saw my friend Lizzie just leaving transition so hared after her to stop the bike. Neil saw me off, I knew it was going to be a long haul from there so it was great to get his encouragement. The bike course was one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of racing on. With every lap it just got better and the smile on my face got broader. The hill was excruciating but once on that sweepy beautiful down it was worth every bit of the pain.
On the second lap I got a puncture but managed to fix it before the midges killed me and finished the four laps without any more mishaps. Just lots of jelly babies.
Then came the ‘run’ up the Ben. I say run and I maintain that I did to run the road bit to and from Fort William to the start of the Ben. And a couple of the flatter bits. The rest of the way up was more of a determined walk but I loved it all the same. It was great to see the buddy runners nearer the top, it made such a difference to have someone there to follow, especially now that the mist had come in. It was cold and my legs were starting to give up and it was just wonderful to chat to someone about completely irrelevant things and forget about the rest.
Just after the buddy runner left me I saw Lizzie running down which cheered me up no end, it was great to see another friendly face. I’d only seen one other girl so thought she might be third but it turns out that the first girl was about 1hr30 ahead of the next and I’d missed her somewhere. That’s my first time to actually reach the summit of Ben Nevis, after a good few attempts in the past few years in various climbing trips. I started to run when I saw the summit, gleefully hugging the cairn and calling out my race number. I think I was fourth girlie in the end. I’m not going to say how many actually entered the race as I’m not too sure (hopefully at least 5?) but, judging by the shocked look on one walker’s face as she pointed her pole at me and exclaimed ‘It’s a WOMAN!!!’, I’m guessing not too many. I suppose I should just be grateful that despite the windswept and interesting hairdo and my general bedraggledness, it was still possible for her to tell!
Took me 10hr30 in total, including 3hr30 for the run. I think my legs will hurt for a lot longer than the race lasted but you know that thing about pain being temporary and pride being forever? I’m pretty pleased with it. I’ve had my eye on this race for a few years but always thought it was only for the truly hardcore. Well it turns out that’s just all in the head.
Awesome race, look here for the video and enter now for next year!