We’re driving back from Kinlochleven to Newcastle upon Tyne. Taking the road that passes Glasgow, so we’ll see a part of Scotland we haven’t seen yet. Being in the car for almost half a day will give me the time to reflect on the Three Mealls Trail race of yesterday.
But before I take time to reflect, I have to say, I would love to come back to this part of the Highlands. With the mountains disappearing in the mist, they look more mysterious, more rough than the Highlands we’ve seen up north.
And returning to this part, might be a good excuse to return to Skyline Scotland, because yesterday’s race was the most brutal I’ve ever done, but it was also beautiful.
A slow start is a good start
So let’s reflect. For starters, it’s okay for me to start slow. I’m a diesel. I need time to warm-up. And if the race starts directly uphill, I even need more time.
Yesterday I got caught up in the first group. The people that sprinted through the streets of Kinlochleven to start up front on the first climb of the day. That’s not my place. I should be in the back. It’s just that I ended up in the front at the start and I felt like I couldn’t run slow, because all the runners behind me wanted to go fast. So next time, I should make sure I am in the back again at the start.
I have to train more in the mountains, if I want to do more runs like this. It’s going to be hard to find altitude nearby, but I just miss power going uphill. Some strength work will probably do as well.
On the flats I’m doing fine. Running downhill is no problem. I dare to go fast, without taking huge risks. Which is a bit surprising to me, as I don’t like to ride downhill on a bike. Than again, I don’t mind snowboarding downhill. But I have to say, I prefer to be in control on a snowboard as well.
I am not so slow, for an old guy
I finished the race as number 95 out of 218 finishers. That’s within the best 45 percent. Not great, but not bad for a debutant. My official time was 2 hours, 39 minutes and 30 seconds. Brendan Forrester won the race in 1 hour, 37 minutes and 45 seconds. That’s more than an hour faster. But in my defense, even the number 2, Tom Smith, needed already 13 minutes more than Forrester.
At the same time, the number last needed 4 hours, 40 minutes and 21 seconds. That’s 2 hours slower than me.
Plus, I’m an old guy. Forrerster runs in the age group 30-39. If I look at my age group, 40-49, I’m number 17. Next month I will be 50 years old. In that age group, I would have finished as number 6. Okay, there were only 17 people racing in the 50-59 age group, but I do think that says something as well. I’m still out there.
So for an old guy, I didn’t do that bad.
Run with heavy loads
During the race my shoulders started to hurt. We had to take our own water, an emergency blanket, an extra dry shirt, rain pants, rain jacket and of course our food. I am not used to running with so much load on my back, so I have to mimic this in training.
Get the right shoes
My Brooks Cascadia did pretty okay in the bog, but a bit more grip wouldn’t be bad. Plus maybe a half high shoe that sits around my ankle as well, so it doesn’t come off that easily in the mud.
I know I might have to make a compromise, because of my bad ankles. I can’t just run in any shoe, but yesterday it sometimes felt like I was landing on the side of my shoe, instead of on the sole.
Keep doing yoga
I’m kind of proud of myself for how I handled all the slipping and sliding. My feet and legs didn’t always go the way they were meant to. Yet, they feel fine. I have no muscle injuries and my ankles feel fine as well. A bit sore from all the bumping against rocks, but nothing that feels like nerves or muscles problems. So I definitely have to keep on doing yoga.
My training schedule worked
Having said that, the minimal muscle pain I feel, also means my training schedule has worked. Sure, I could have used some more altitude, but I was fit, and ready to run this trail. So for now, I’ll keep on making my own training schedule. I think I’m getting the hang of it.
I think that’s it. Those are my reflections on the Three Mealls trail race. Let’s see what is going to be my next big race.