Diary of a Newbie Marathon Runner - Kristian Sayer - Loch Ness 2022
So the race has been run, and now looking back where do i begin?? 6 months or so of training and here i am.
So why did i start all of this in the first place? That's the most important thing, is to find out your "why" as that is what will get you through those tough moments. For me, it was initially about my self-doubt and whether i could even do this. Unfortunately circumstances changed and I lost my dad in June. So that became my added motivation, i wanted to make him proud. I decided to raise money for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and make something positive from what had been a terrible few months.
So we drove the long journey from Yorkshire to Inverness, arriving late friday night. Torrential rain, roadworks and a police diversion through the home of the World Porridge Championships (who knew??) - i hoped this wasn't an omen for Sunday. Saturday morning, the rain had cleared and we headed down to the Connage Dairy for a restorative coffee and to buy my bodyweight in cheese. Suitably restored we then made our way to the Race Expo to collect my race number. We managed to bump into a couple of cheeky squirrels on the hunt for some nuts as well as John from the Drig Dynamos, the world champion marshmallow balancer.
The night before...i went with my tried and tested dinner of chicken and pasta. That would be my advice, stick to your tried and tested things and hydrate well. Don't try anything new, as the nerves start to kick in and your stomach won't thank you for it! I laid out my kit, and my stuff (gels etc) was literally spread out *everywhere* (properly annoying my missus). Trust me you will check this 100 times!
Early night had....but try as you might you will get no sleep
5am already awake before the alarm goes off. Time to go through the pre-race breakfast which for me never gets easier to digest. Find out what works for you...for me it is coffee, juice, electrolyte, cornflakes and toast .
This time will go quicker than you realise. Showered, liberal amounts of vaseline applied to prevent the inevitable chaffage before a final kit check for the 101st time....
Most importantly know where and when you need to be in advance. Your mind is in 1000 places so this is one less thing to worry about.
Now off to the coach meeting point to meet my wingmen Joel Hardwick and Hannah Mason. A 1hr bus journey through the beautiful Scottish Highlands with a load of nervous and excited runners . I was glad for the company of these two as the scenery could be my by nemesis later on.
As the Coaches arrived to the start line meeting point the nervous energy kicked in & the masses of runners embarked like gorillas in the mist Highlands Wonderland. Toilet Toilet Toilet was the only thing on my mind & it dawned on me we had about 20 of them with a mile long queue Pretty much everyone rushed towards the massed tree-lined plains to ensure Liberal amounts of watering
As time was rapidly running out we threw our bags onto the waiting lorries, took the quick obligatory selfie and fist bump. We headed past the bagpipers towards the start line.
Suddenly we were off! Everyone shoots off at what feels like a frantic pace, full of smiles and excitement. But remember find your own pace and run your own race. And stick to it.
The Course is Undulating Challenging & Beautiful Scottish views But You won't appreciate it as much as you should Spending my time staring at the runners in front & trying to remember my race fueling strategy
Taking on sips of water while trying not to choke Things will get tough so it's Important to remember Your WHY & have a mantra Mine was Relax Enjoy & Believe. If you end up running on Your own don't worry everyone will be together & despite my singing I never felt lonely.
Remember to trust Your training was becoming so important & I started to smile while thanking the lovely people on the route plus a quick wee stop was needed
25 mile ish in I started to feel it but I knew my Dad would push me on & I would finish.
Finish line in sight I went for it & finished.
1st Marathon over Chip Time: 03:58:02 I'll take that.
The rest was a blur as I got my medal & finishers goody bag & tshirt plus Erdinger Alcohol Free... WTF
I Wanted to find Angela for a hug, Joel came out of the masses like a ginger bullet & we all waited for Hannah Mason. The Race had taken its toll on all of us... But it was awesome
Would I do it again Of course Should I have chosen an easier Marathon like London? Maybe but whatever do Your own & You be You.
Off for a Burgers & Beers with my support crew while cheering the other runners coming through
Started to feel tired & looking like a zombie after a couple of celebration beers with the guys our Airbnb was calling & a nice hot soak then bed #hardcore. Not a great night's sleep up again at 5ish feeling sore in my legs & back My days of foot modelling over & ibuprofen now to become my best friend for a while now. Stuff packed & checked out early so we could tackle the Long Long drive back to sunny Yorkshire. Angela Lester being a patient superstar drove us home while I started to seize up & fighting to stay awake.
Now to the hard part the, Thank You to everyone
To the awesome massed ranks of the #morleymassive Morley Running Club for starting me on this Journey & helping me turn the door handle to get out running. Danny Barnes & the Drighlington Dynamos Running who are a champion bunch of people The Spen Valley Pacers runners who got me out on those cold winter times & patiently waiting while I got lost driving but pushed me to sign up for this Marathon Joanne Chappell Jo Hirstwood Marcus Damian & the gang of Minions. Special mention to The " Coach " Mick Brearley who guided me through this process
To the Cheeky Stingers Squirrels Andrew Cooper Hannah Mason Joel Hardwick Thomas Sharp the running Jesus Together we are stronger & weird #Pray4Andy
If I have forgotten anyone so sorry. I want to also thank everyone who has sponsored me so far & those that have sent kind wishes
Last words are for my partner Angela Lester who held me together throughout this long process she went Above & Beyond to support me through some dark moments. You are amazing & words don't do you justice but this medal is as much Yours as Mine