We set off on Thursday for Edinburgh to break the drive to Inverness in time for the marathon on Sunday.
It was a long drive with a lot of road works. But the scenery on the drive yesterday to Loch Ness was stunning.
I got up early at 6.30 today. I needed to get on the bus to be transported to the start line. There was a bit of a hitch with the buses - three didn't turn up, which meant the departure to the start was delayed by almost an hour and the start of the race was also delayed until 10.50.
I had hoped that the Loch Ness marathon would be fairly flat - and since much of it runs along the side of the Loch it seemed a reasonable hope. It started well, beautiful scenery and, if anything, a little bit down hill for the first 5 miles.
But six miles in I started to get a bad blister and the course was actually quite undulating. Everything was fine for the first half. I went through thirteen miles in just over an hour and a half and well on course for my target time of 3 hours 30 minutes.
But it got tough at 17 miles. There was a long haul uphill to Inverness once we left the banks of the Loch. Three miles in fact. So, at just the moment when I was starting to flag, I had to start climbing a three mile hill. Four miles in to the marathon I had overtaken a man in his 50's who was suffering. "He won't make it" I thought. But amazingly he came past me on this hill - still sounding like he was suffering. That will teach me!
But I managed to keep things on course and, although the second half was obviously slower than the first half, I crossed the finishing line in 3 hours twenty nine minutes and 34 seconds. It was a reasonable time but I don't think I will be in a hurry to do another!