And The Beat Goes On – Slowly

And The Beat Goes On – Slowly

I’ve been putting off writing this one. Truth be told I thought it was going to be more of a ‘hey this is common for those who do a lot of running but it’s nothing’. Turns out, for me, that’s not quite true.

I’ve had dizzy spells on and off for as long as I can remember but they got worse this year and when I collapsed outside my house with my youngest alone still in the house it was time to do something about it. Having your elderly neighbour have to help you through your own front door isn’t the best either. She’s a great neighbour though.

At the doctors and they wanted the nurse to do one of those ECG reading things – the ones that take longer to set up than actually perform. ‘How are you feeling?’ She asked me. ‘Much better than before thanks, little dizzy but it’s nothing.’ She then says she’s just going to run it past the doctor. ‘Just as a precaution, wont be long’ she said as she scurried away.

2 hours later I’m still at the doctors and they want to do more tests. I instantly think it’s something to do with my diet and I’m convinced they are about to tell me I’ve given myself diabetes! When will you listen about the red bull?!

I had to wear a heart monitor for a week. Pretty standard and very common but it was an ugly thing. Huge! They told me I could still run with it. They lied. It ripped off layers and layers of skin and left a horrendous mark. One or two people asked what it was which didn’t bother me and that’s how I found out just how common it was to have your heart monitored like this. Everyone knew someone who had had to wear it before, mainly those in the running community I knew. Your resting heart rate drops as you get fitter, that’s just a fact, nothing to worry about.

I then had a scan of my heart. Again still common place, a lot of people have this done just to check. I even manage to look at the screen and the nurse starts telling me all the different sections. (I now know there are 4 heart chambers and there’s a flappy thing that goes up and down.). She gives me a couple of funny looks and asks how tired I am. I’m pretty wide awake love. I’m lying here with no top on whilst you roll a very cold object covered in slime on my chest. Yup, I’m definitely wide awake!

I think nothing of it at all after that. I thank my lucky stars it wasn’t diabetes and again swear off the red bull. I even purchase a replacement and it goes quite well.

Then I get a call.

‘This is consultant x from Ninewells in Perth’.

‘Oh really? Well that’s interesting seeing as Ninewells isn’t in Perth. What ever you’re selling I’m not interested thank you.’

I go to hang up, fed up of how my number seems to have made it in the cold callers list of marketing hell.

‘Mrs Webley! This is the consultant you saw at the hospital about your heart! I need to speak to you!’

He has my full attention.

They found something. Not 100% sure what it is but they think the best course of action is to implant a permanent heart monitor until it picks it up and they have the detail they need. Then they can take it from there. I don’t say much. Still waiting on him telling me it’s probably diabetes and I should be embarrassed and ashamed to have given myself that. He wants to put me on the list right now for it rather than waiting but if I feel I need to discuss it he can do that now or we can make an appointment – ‘but’ he says, ‘that will delay it and I don’t think we should do that’.

He then mentions cutting in to my chest muscle and I stop him right there. That is not the kind of detail I need thank you very much! He’s the specialist so I go with if he says I need it then I need it.

‘Can I still run?’ Is my only question.

He hums and ha’s a little then tells me they have nothing that tells them I should stop but to be watchful. That’s the same with everyone – if you don’t feel well you should stop. I understand this.

The appointment comes through and a couple of days before I realise I don’t have a clue what’s about to happen. I didn’t want to hear it before and that was my choice but now, well, maybe that wasn’t so wise. The night before I couldn’t really sleep. And going on google most certainly did not help that! (Don’t ever do that, trust me!)

In the morning I go for a run to calm my nerves and try to chill out – well aware that freaking out over this isn’t going to help matters. We then take the youngest to look for conkers before heading through. It helped, I didn’t feel too bad after that.

Sitting in the waiting area and I can’t help but notice everyone there is at least twice my age, if not three times. I try to ignore this but my other half seems to take great delight in pointing out this is proof I am really old.

For someone with as many grey hairs as he does he’s got some nerve.

In the room I go. There’s two doctors. One with a very rich Scottish accent called Scott and the other I think was called Kaiser. I start singing ‘I predict a riot’ in my head before realising the irony of it and quickly stop.

Scott tries to distract me as I’m clearly not comfortable with this. I’m trying to shrug it off but it’s about as convincing as telling the world Donald Trump was a good choice for president. I’m awake for the whole thing which has its positives and negatives.

Kaiser (?) then covers me in the iodine solution and starts poking about looking for the right place guided by Scott. I get the distinct impression Kaiser may not be as experienced at this as he is. I’m then asked to confirm all my information – name, date of birth, address. He takes a while to find my year of birth on the computer and comments it seems to think everyone that has this is closer to being born in the 30’s not the 80’s. He then asks me to confirm my address again.

‘No kidding’ he says. ‘Eh, yeah, that’s definitely it’.

‘I used to live there! When I was about 10.’

‘No way!’

‘Ok, small scratch’.

Oh you crafty git!! And that’s not a small scratch you prick, that’s more like barbed wire ripping through my chest!

I’m grumping about the distraction technique when he asks me if there is still the small white wall at the front. So he’s not lying! Talk about a small world!

This is the only time I smiled whilst in that room – for obvious reasons.

There was a lot of pushing and shoving, a joke about breast tissue (you’re not likely to find much of that on me I’m afraid!) and some immense will power to hold back the tears but that was it done, it was in.

I left the hospital with a box of ‘goodies’ and a tan that would of made that guy from bargain hunt look like a milk bottle thanks to the iodine.

So now I am officially an Iron Woman ha ha, just not the kind I would prefer. Plus I’m more a Wonder Woman fan but ah well. It hurts. I won’t lie, it hurts like hell right now. I woke up crying from the pain, poor Joe didn’t know what to do. I usually only cry when he says I can’t sign up to a race. I’ve spent all day resting – which I’m my world means I’ve been bored to death all day. I’ve had to cancel my race at the weekend which, at first I was annoyed about but now, I know I couldn’t do it. There will be no swimming for a couple of weeks. I will run next week but it will be very slow and careful.

I’m still kind of hoping they turn round to me and say they all got it wrong and it is in fact something that can be cured with a vitamin or a change in my diet. At the end of the day this heart has got me through 2 marathons, a Half Ironman and an ultra – and that’s just this year! So it can’t be all that bad.

My trainers are most certainly staying on my feet – just not for the next few days.

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Roar Like A Tiger

Roar Like A Tiger

For all those that hate the whole ‘journey’ thing may I start off with an apology.

Actually no scrap that, this is my blog, I can call it what I want.

Before I started My Journey (which was basically me trying to run from lamppost to lamppost – no map and compass needed, thank god) I signed up to an obstacle course. Not just any obstacle course. I signed up to Tough Mudder.

Truth be told I got a ticket free through work as part of an incentive to bring the office together. What ever the intention, I’m afraid the old cliche is right in this case, and my life took on a completely different direction after that.

I spent a year doing every obstacle course and mud run I possibly could before deciding running was where it was for me. I loved the obstacles but I hated having to walk in between them as part of a team. There was always someone who hadn’t done any cardio and that frustrated me truth be told.

Fast forward to last weekend and I found myself at the start of another obstacle course after a bit of a break from them. The Tiger Escapade.

7 of us from the Road Runners had signed up for a bit of fun, something different. Although we are a competitive bunch we were there to have fun so no pressure. We could all run too so there wasn’t going to be the walking periods I hadn’t enjoyed before.

I was secretly hoping for some really hard obstacles and even though the thought of a skip filled with water was quite clearly going to be a drowning experience yet again, I was up for it!

The location was where I have done my open water swimming (because a Loch is the same as the sea – duh – maybe I subconsciously want to drown?) so I knew the area and it wasn’t far.

At the start line and we couldn’t hear a word the emcee was saying. Not a thing. We picked up a few hand gestures but I genuinely think he may have been speaking a different language. Those around us were unable to translate either so we turned our attention to the inevitable – what team were we going to beat!

The red tshirts were going down.

Off we went in search of the first obstacle. Even though it was less than a week ago, I can’t remember what it was – oops. I do remember the usual tyre ones, the cargo net I caught my watch in and nearly ripped my arm off on and the standard bales of hay. I also remember the long run at the start. Didn’t bother me so much but had me wondering where the obstacles were.

Then we came to the skip. Ok then, a proper obstacle! Let’s do this!

The water barely covered my ankle.

No, I didn’t drown.

(And before any one says it, I am not quite that small!)

To be fair I don’t think everyone in the team was hoping for some death defying obstacles as much as I was.

Time for the hill. You would think being runners that we would nail this, sweep past every other person on the course. Nope! I huffed and puffed and wheezed my way up there.

I will say it again. I am NOT a hill runner.

After that we had a few good obstacles that left us with cow pat in our hair and fish in our pants. A standard weekend for Perth Road Runners ha ha. We did enjoy the one where we went in the Loch. Freezing and wet (hi, my names Sherlock Holmes) makes for a good water fight.

The long running sections gave us a chance to chat and we discussed what races we all had coming up. We also wondered how others were getting on in Chicago, Bournemouth and other exotic places we tend to find ourselves.

Approaching the finish line and we crossed together as a team – in front of the red tshirts, just saying.

It was a low key event but Natalie, who had had to pull out due to injury, had come to cheer us on along with Scott’s wife (who ended up laden with our coats, thank you) and my other half and youngest. He loved the mud in his wellies – Joe, not so much.

The obstacle course was a great morning out. A bit of fun and bonding for a change. It just shows me I really did make the right choice in joining the road runners last year. And afterwards we had another water fight in the Loch when we were getting washed down. Why wouldn’t you?

Next on the calendar for me is a rest period. I have had to pull out of the Dramathon but that’s another story. Probably to be written when I’m grumpy and feeling sorry for myself. Bet you’re looking forward to that one!

Getting Wet In Weymouth

Getting Wet In Weymouth

When I was in college – just a ‘couple’ of years ago – one of my assignments was to promote Weymouth. Being the young, care free gal I was back in those days I had no real idea what activities were done in Weymouth so came up with the slogan ‘I Got Wet In Weymouth’ to sell t-shirts on the beach. Ironman was a comic book character at that time, not something I would ‘half’ be several (hundred) years later.

Weymouth 70.3 was Joe’s ‘A’ race for the year. The one he wanted. It fell just after our youngest’s birthday so we decided as we would be down that way to take a slight detour to CBeebies Land for him. The slight detour ended up being many additional hours as we hadn’t really taken into consideration just how often we would hear ‘I need a pee!’ in a frantic voice. And let’s not mention ‘I need poo’…..

It was worth it though and he had a great time. Lesson learnt though – it would have been better after the race. Less stressful.

I had really, really wanted to do Weymouth. A perfect one to sign up to after Edinburgh. But this was Joes race so I had to set that jealousy aside and I love going to his races and supporting anyway (even if I’m ‘not invited’). Weymouth is a about 30 miles from his side of the family so I also messaged the aunties and cousins to ask them along as a surprise for him.

4am and the alarm goes off.

We have rented an uber cool pod lodge where we shower and get ready. Half the site is filled with athletes so we aren’t the only ones up and don’t have to worry too much about being noisy. We put our son in the car and drive to the car park where I will sit for an hour before heading down – Joe heads straight to the swim start.

Now. I was going to try and sleep for another hour in the car but I was awake. And excited. I may not have been racing but I really do love chasing him round a course. I also love instagram. So I made a few videos. During these videos I was spotted by a couple of people going by and let’s just say I made them smile ha ha.

Whilst messing about in the car at 6am I found Joes timing chip. Uh oh. I phoned him to tell him before he frantically tried to search for it. I would have to get it down to him. The plan was a slow toddler paced walk down to the swim start but this had now turned into a frantic move-as-fast-as-you-can-whilst-carrying-a-4yearold-and-a-heavy-rucksack. Thank god I ‘occasionally’ do strength work! Jogging (yes, jogging) to the swim whilst politely telling people to move Joe suddenly appeared behind me.

‘Chip!!!’

‘Back pocket’

And he was gone again.

Who says romance is dead?

I headed up to the rocks in the hope this would cheer up my now unhappy toddler but he was having none of it. We weren’t close enough to spot Joe anyway so it wasn’t proving to be a good idea from any aspect. We moved round to the back of the start and as we slowly wandered down I saw Joe waving. Talk about luck!

I was able to calculate his swim start was roughly 7:13am so from there I could again roughly predict what time he would exit. Oh yeah – this isn’t my first time supporting – I’ve got skills in this area! CV worthy skills!

We went down on the beach so Oliver could throw stones in to the water and I was struck by just how many people 2600 are. The start queue for the swim was huge!! I think it may have taken up to half an hour maybe more to get everyone started.

Oliver got bored very quickly so the first chocolate snack/bribe was administered. Yes, shoot me, I gave my child chocolate at 7:30am. It cheered him up ok. He doesn’t usually have such bad things so early but this was a special event. We found a good spot on the swim exit and plonked ourselves down. I pulled out the sign Oliver had made and proudly placed it in front of us – yes, I am that person. He would hear us before he seen us and he would definitely see us.

However, Oliver had other plans. ‘I need a pee’. ‘Daddy will be out any minute now can you hold it?’. Cue wailing and crying to further cement me in to the bad motherhood society. That’ll be a no then! Off we went to the portaloos. One of the good things about this race was the number of toilets so no long queue.

I was quite sure we would have missed Joe coming out of the swim so decided to plonk ourselves about 70 metres down from the bike out. It was another great spot. I was ridiculously nervous Oliver would wander on to the road in front of a bike and get seriously hurt and knock a rider off. There was no reason for this train of thought – he had never done anything like that before, was aware of the fast moving cyclists and had clamped himself to my legs anyway. Still, it was nerve wrecking. Only to be made worse by witnessing a bike crash in to another and one rider go head over heels. It looked painful and I’m not sure the rider continued! And of course it was at this time Joe came passed. And he looked right pissed off! (Excuse my language). Looking at the time I took an educated guess he wasn’t happy with his swim. He was out though and on the bike, his favourite section.

I updated Facebook (life’s priority ha ha).

Looking for somewhere warm Oliver and I headed to the Sand Sculpture place hoping for entertainment for him and a cup of tea for me. ‘Do you have a warm cafe in there?’ I asked the women at the desk. ‘Yeah we do’.

Lies!!!!! Absolute lies!!! It was a TENT. And a leaking one at that! Bloody freezing! Colder inside it than out! Olivers lips actually started turning blue so it was back out and a walk up the promenade whilst wondering why we lived and raced in such a cold bloody country. Decision was made then and there to emigrate.

We found a proper cafe further up and warmed up whilst I amused myself listening to the waitress continually saying she didn’t understand where all the people had come from and that they were experiencing their busiest ever Sunday. Every customer in there had Ironman merchandise on – including Oliver and I – obviously. The road outside had been closed for the event. There were signs everywhere stating ‘Event’.

I just smiled at her and shrugged.

We met up with Aunt Jackie who phoned from right outside the shop I was in. Shortly after Aunty Maria and the cousins appeared and all of a sudden it wasn’t just Oliver and myself – we had a full on cheer squad! Amazing!! (Unfortunately Aunty Julie was full of the flu and being on a beach front isn’t the best place when you are ill but she was there in spirit).

They didn’t know how we would be able to tell when Joe was coming but I was all over that. I can pretty much pin point it to the minute. I’m telling you, skills of a ninja. His doppelgänger did throw me off though I have to admit. This guy was his absolute double just slightly taller – and not wearing a Perth Tri Club Tri suit but it was blue and he had the same visor, glasses, beard and compression socks.

As soon as I saw Joe that was it.

HERE HE COMES!!! I screamed at everyone. Cheer squad assembled and we roared waving our banners. The grin from his face was worth it – he clearly hadn’t expected it. The run route was 3.5 laps so he he came back the other way less than 10 minutes later. Cue more shouting, cheers and frantic waving. Oh yeah, we owned that promenade!

He seemed in good spirits and he didn’t look like he was hurting too much. By the next time round I could see the pain on his face though so we cheered louder (hard to believe but a group of 6 women, 1 teenager and 5 small children can always get louder! Ha ha).

After his last lap past us we headed towards the finish. I knew it would be difficult to see him but miraculously we got there just before he went up the red carpet, cheering him on the very finish.

After he was done and came out the finishers lounge we all headed for something to eat. It had been a long day for everyone but worth every second. You just can’t beat having support like that. He’s always said he doesn’t ‘need’ it but I think we’ve proved how great it can be. Especially when it’s unexpected. It was a good event and one I think we will be back at next year.

Island Running

Island Running

Run round an Island you say? Yeah I’m up for that!

Around Cumbrae is a 10 mile road race on, yup you guessed it, Cumbrae. Cumbrae is an island off the west of Scotland so a bit of a journey to get there but all part of the adventure!

In hindsight my planning maybe wasn’t the best. Running a fast Parkrun the day before and then hurting my ankle doesn’t make for good preparation. It happened though so I ‘ignored’ the Parkrun and taped up my ankle. Job done.

Sexy isn’t it.

I begged my other half to come knowing I would regret it after but everyone seemed to be organised for the car share and I thought the kids would love it – go on a ferry, be on an actual island – what’s not to love? Everything apparently. Turns out it was just me that was excited by this. Maybe I need to get out more.

On the Saturday the weather was gorgeous. Sunny, no wind, no rain, just bliss. On the Sunday, the day of the race, well, no. It was not. Let’s just say I didn’t need the sun cream.

A full on wet suit and survival guide would have been more appropriate but I had to make do with my long sleeved top and shorts. Hair was plastered back. Very attractive.

The good thing about the other half coming was that we could test out the new car. Oh yes. No longer do I have the Zafira bus that hadn’t locked for over a year, windows had a life of their own going up and down and would make weird and wonderful noises for absolutely no reason at all. In comes the BMW whose stereo I can’t work (only the most important part of a car!), has more buttons than a space ship and I’ve been told I can’t get it dirty. ITS A CAR!!

But anyway, the race.

We arrived 2 hours before the start – something of a complete wonderment to me! I’m more of a pre 5 mins girl so with 2 hours to kill and wind that could capsize the titanic things got boring very quickly. I soon became the most hated person in the car as I was the reason we were here. ‘I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I need a pee, I need a poo’. 2 hours I had to endure of this, and iPads were not a cure for the situation.

After firmly sealing my place in the worst mum hall of fame yet again I gingerly made my way to the hall where everyone was gathering for the pre-race photo. Only to find out I had already missed it yet again. I was just beginning to think someone was trying to tell me something here when the heavens literally opened and we were engulfed with torrential rain. I sheltered under a tree but that wind was determined to get me and get me it did! This race was not turning out to be the fun filled experience I had thought it would be…..

It wasn’t clear where the start line was but one of the many benefits of not being the fastest means you can safely just queue up behind other people. Job done.

Thanks to the torrential downpour the roads were very slightly flooded. Don’t think I earned myself any brownie points splashing through them but my god I had fun doing it!! There’s something oddly satisfying about splashing in a puddle! Until you Splash your bum and you have to seriously consider if you’ve possibly just pee’d yourself. Nope, that’s cold water. Maybe no more splashing though Ella.

First couple of miles were probably a little too fast given I’m meant to be doing marathon pace. I didn’t have to worry though because just before the mile 4 marker the wind started to hit. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ran in but it was enough to push me back. That coupled with meant to be going slow just completely messed with me and that was it. As much as I enjoyed the views and running right beside the sea my body wasn’t having it. I just couldn’t push myself on. So I settled on slower. I even stopped for a bathroom break (just to check ha ha). This had dire consequences on my under garments however and I ran the last 2 miles with my pants only being held up by my shorts! At least that made me go a little faster!

I crossed the line to discover Joe had taken the kids for a late lunch to pass the time. We headed straight to the ferry after a quick chat with a couple of other road runners and collecting my medal. That’s right, it may have been a small island race but there was still a medal! Wa hey!

Of course I had to apologise for the ‘boring’ day in the car on the way home and I will no doubt be held to ransom over this in the near future (Can I have £20 mum? No! Remember when you made us come to one of your races that was a 200 mile round trip and it was pouring with rain with nothing to do? Here’s £30, on you go).

This race has made me realise I need to take a step back and slow down though. I need to do some slower runs to get ‘that feel’ for my pace to be able to do 26.2 miles. Am I still going for my London time? Well, I want to, but I have also realised it just may not happen at Loch Ness. That’s not to say it won’t ever happen. I absolutely will be running London next year! It’s more that I need to still enjoy running for running and not always be aiming on a time.

Nanny On The Run

Nanny On The Run

I am undoubtedly going to get a scolding for this post but I don’t care, it’s worth it.

My mum – aka Nanny – ran the Race For Life 5k! 

Very proud daughter here.

I signed up for the 10k and suggested to my mum she did the 5k with me straight after.  She hasn’t been out running but she does walk a lot and she enjoyed it when we ran it 2 years ago with my daughter.  So I signed her up.

Then asked her.

It’s ok she was up for it.  I then asked a fellow roadrunner for an idea of a plan to get her to the end of the 5k and he suggested 1 minute run : 1 minute walk.  

Sunday morning I headed down to the start line of the 10k.  There were quite a few less people than what I remember from 2 years ago which was a bit disheartening.  I got there just as the warm up was finishing so I made my way to the start.  Joe was coming down later with the youngest on the bikes and my mum was going to meet me at the finish line.

There was a minutes silence so we could think about the reason for this run.  My mother in law passed away from cancer before I had the opportunity to meet her and I often think about how different things would be if she was here.  The minutes silence however was rudely disturbed by yet again someone playing their music out loud.  I was not impressed to say the least.  To show such disrespect is beyond me.

I chose not to push it – or to be more accurate my body chose to remind me I had completed a ‘rather tough challenge’ just the weekend before.  I also had a heart monitor on which, despite the doctors promise of it not being really obvious and of course I could do my usual activities wearing it, it was ironically killing me.  With every stride it was ripping a layer of skin of my chest and side.  I did however actually look like Ironman – or Ironwoman in my case ha ha.

The route took me past my friends house twice.  She had decided not to run it but had said she would be at her window to wave me on.  She wasn’t.  Her cat was, but she was not.  Pretty sure she was sitting on her comfy couch eating her breakfast in the warmth.  Yes.  I was jealous.

It was 2 laps and in all honesty nothing exciting.  I was more geared up for the 5k with my mum! I came in at a good time and Joe and my youngest were at the finish which was nice.


My mum, well, it’s my mum.  She got there a few minutes later. 

We headed over to pick up our numbers.  I had signed up quite late so they weren’t posted out.  The 5k wasn’t starting for another half an hour so I ran back to the car to get a banana.  Before long it was the starting line again.


We opted for the back of the ‘joggers’ as they were labelled and started with a 2 minute run.  I had to keep telling my mum to slow down as she was intent on going as fast as she could.  We went past Joe and Oliver which was a good boost for her.  I had text my friend to say we were coming past and true to form she was up at her window with her boys (and cat) waving away.  Obviously she’d finished her breakfast ha ha.


We went round by the river and there was a bit of a headwind but it was ok.  The walk/run/walk was working well and I was doing my best to convince her to keep it up.  One day I will get her at park run!

On to the last stretch and she pushed it that little bit more.  


You would think after doing her first 5k she would be really tired and go home and rest.  But nope.  She went to do the food shopping! 

Next year I’m going to sign her up for Pretty Muddy.  Who knows, it might be Tough Mudder after that! 

Signing up for a race is no longer quite the ‘knees shaking, sharp breath inhale, turn white, what the hell am I doing’ experience it once was.  Still hard but just not quite that bad.  I wasn’t too bothered when I signed up for a local half – happening tomorrow.

However, after reading nothing but ‘warning, not for first timers’ and ‘the race that can throw anything at you’ then hearing that there were quite a few DNF picked up in an ambulance last year, topped with less than 150 people signed up and it being uphill for the first 9 miles – it’s fair to say, I’m definitely bricking it now.

I’ve entered races when I thought I was going to be really far back in the field and it didn’t bother me too much.  I ended up at worst middle of the pack.  This ones different though.  There aren’t many entries for a start so there is absolutely no hope I am anything but bottom of the field.  It’s also quite clearly a difficult route.  9 miles of elevation, and not gentle elevation, I’m talking the kind of steep you need a harness and ropes to get up.  There’s no earphones so I can’t use my 80’s power ballads to get me through it and oh, let’s not forget, it’s October in Scotland.  The weather alone could kill me.

Because of course, it’s very open in the middle of the countryside.

Why wouldn’t it be?
So, the plan.  Simple really.  Take it slow. Let the other runners go off and take my time.  Pace myself.  The aim for this one is to pace it right and finish.  No time in mind, just the finish line.

And my reward? I’m actually going out on Saturday night! First time in a long time!

Presuming I haven’t died on the run of course.

This may be my last blog……

Loch Ness (Monster) Marathon

Loch Ness (Monster) Marathon

When I first heard about the Loch Ness Marathon I thought nothing more than its a marathon in a bonnie place.  Didn’t take much deliberating, I knew I wanted to run another one so up I signed.  I had a little look at the route – start at one end, finish at the other – and the elevation, which looked pretty much downhill to me.

Oh how wrong I was.

A lot of the reports said – and I quote – ‘this is not one for first timers’.  Naively I thought that was just because it wasn’t a route there would be many spectators along due to logistics.  Turns out that was only part of it, a small part of it.

In true ‘Ella’ style the few plans that had been made were thrown in the fire just a couple of days before.  The eldest wanted to go to a party on the Saturday night and we couldn’t leave knowing he would be drinking and there was no one here for him so it resulted in the other half staying at home and I would jump in with my parents in their motor home.  A change like this throws my mind in to turmoil and yes, there were a few tears when we drove off but I managed to control them quite well.  My dads dukes of hazard style driving is enough to distract anyone!

Registration was easy and my mum and I had a good look round the expo.  This was my first expo and although small I still managed to pick up a few things.  The other half had given me money to buy a top as a momento, probably hoping that would be all I’d buy but he was wrong – half price Brookes you say? The exact ones I had looked at before? Be rude not to!

These new trainers got me thinking about the ones I had bought instead of them a few months back.  I wasn’t keen on them.  I had to mess about a lot to make sure nothing was digging in to my foot before I started running.  Wearing brand new trainers on a 26 mile run is a bad idea.  But I did have my old ones with me, and I love my old ones.  I decided to wear them instead.  Take a gamble.

Worst. Idea. Ever.

But I will come to that.


After speaking to the couple in the campervan next to us I discovered there was a bus pick up point a 5 min walk from the campsite so after a little back and forth I managed to get myself booked on to it.  It was an early start but no one likes a run starting mid afternoon so you really can’t complain.  The only way to the start is by bus which is all put on for you as they close the roads.  Very organised.

As I sat on my seat and watched my mum pulling faces at me I tried to focus on what was lying ahead.  I had signed up for this, I wanted to do this, I had dragged my parents up here so I could do this. I had even had arguments at work because I wanted to do this. So surely I could sit on a bloody bus by myself for 20mins and get myself to the start line for god sake. I resisted the temptation to sit on my phone and instead listened to the loud voice of the guy a few seats up who was talking about all the different countries he had ran in.  It was a good distraction if nothing else.

As soon as I got off the bus the cold and wind hit me.  We were in the middle of nowhere with very little shelter.  Luckily for me I’m smaller than practically every other human being so I immersed myself in the crowd and used them as protection from the elements.  Survival skill training 1 0 1 people.  I also knew from festival going that there was no way I was waiting in that queue for the toilets so yes, I did pee in a bush.  It happens ok, do I need to mention Paula Radcliffe?

Steve was also running so I knew he had to be around somewhere.  Trying to spot him was going to be difficult so I decided to wait by the baggage bus as I thought his number was close to mine.  My tactics worked and after 25 minutes he appeared out of no where right in front of me.  If I was the type of girl that did the whole ‘squeal when you see someone’ only dogs would have heard me!

We put our bags on the bus and headed to the start line.  My big toe on my left foot started speaking to me, this wasn’t good. I quietly told it to shut up and took a last minute pre-race photo to try and ignore it.


A few last minute words of advice from Steve and we were off.  He stuck by me for just over the first mile and I have to admit it helped settle me in to it.  Unsurprisingly I didn’t see him again until the end.

It’s downhill from the start and I was very cautious of not going too fast too soon so tried to keep it steady.  My left foot didn’t like downhill so I kept trying to ‘move’ it to a comfier position inside my trainer.  This tactic did not work.  I considered stopping to put a plaster on but didn’t want to lose my rhythm. Yes I know.  Clearly I know what I should – and shouldn’t – do, but I did the opposite everytime.  Have I even ran before?

It was a very quiet race from the start, there’s no place for hoards of spectators to get to and there wasn’t much chatting going on.  The views were certainly breath taking though.

At exactly half way someone came up along side me.  ‘Well hello fellow road runner’.  It was Kenny from Perth Road Runners running the marathon for the 15th time – 15! He was now part of an elite group they had fondly called The Famous Five.  He told me he loved this route and gave me a little tip – the section we were on was the flattest and straightest part and I should treat mile 18/19 as half way.  I thought this a little odd but he’s the one who knows it like the back of his hand so I wondered what lay ahead.

By mile 15 my foot had progressed to toddler tantrums.  I considered stopping to put a plaster on again but instead took a selfie whilst running – as you do.


The thought was there at this point I wasn’t making my sub 4 hour but the finish is still the finish.  I put my ear phones in for a little bit to drown out the screaming foot and some of the stomach that had suddenly decided to say hello. There’s nothing quite like a little Fall Out Boy to get you going.

Miles 18/19.  I died.  Game over.  Sub 4 hour – are you having a laugh?  Who the hell told me this was flat?!?  Mount Everest isn’t as steep and long as this for crying out loud! I was reduced to a hobble climbing up the monstrosity.  That Loch doesn’t have a monster, this hill was it! I have found the Loch Ness Monster – it’s this hill!

Suddenly I realised what Kenny had meant.  This is where the race starts.

I was having real problems with my foot now.  I lose my footing slightly and the pain just shoots through my toe, I genuinely debate with myself whether or not I’ve somehow broken it its that sore. There’s nothing quite like an endurance trial to slap you round the face and bring you down a peg or two, remind you who’s boss ie not you.  My core isn’t holding up very well either.  I thought my core was quite good, not exactly been working on it but been doing some work.  I was wrong.

I must be on lesson 5 by now!

As I hobble slowly up I do a slight double take as I pass a sign.  Did I read that right? Did that say ‘Wee bit hilly’?  Further on there’s another ‘Slightly steeper bit’.  A bloke goes past me, ‘quite funny that’ he says.  I wasn’t laughing. (Well, not at the time, but they were pretty funny ha ha).


Eventually I do reach the summit and I’m quite surprised there’s no cairn to put a flag in.  I trundle along, appreciating the few supporters that have made their way out as I head through a small village and back in to civilisation.  My pace is slow but I’m still moving.  Negative splits aren’t all they’re cracked up to be I tell myself.  Further on and I hear ‘oh a Perth Road Runner’, so I glance back with what I hope is a smile.

Ok, last bit.  Past the finish line on the other side of the river (who’s idea was that?) across the bridge and then final stretch.  There’s a fab breeze on the bridge and it feels so good.  I see the 26 mile marker then hear my dad at the side ‘Ella, gies a smile hen’.

He gets a glare.

Completely unjustified but my foot and core have now joined forces and declared outright war on my very existence it’s all I can do not to surrender and throw myself in the river.  Dramatic I know, but it hurt.

He bellows with laughter as I go past.

Onto the grass, music is blaring. Almost home.

Really?? Are you really going to try and kick it up a gear and finish strong?

Looks like it.

I pick up the speed and all I hear is ‘and Perth Road Runners are here, Ella Webley, what a fantastic finish!’.

He was a nice man, a liar, but a nice man.

I hear my mum at the side shouting and trying to get a photo but all I can do is put my head between my legs and wait to see if I have actually died.  My lungs slowly fill back up and I stagger across to collect the countless things on offer.  I’m asked if I would like 2 bottles of water ‘oh my god yes!!  Thank you’.

I hear my name and spot Steve waving just at the other side so I make my way out to see how he got on.  His wife Allison is there too and she tells me she was following us on the tracker – it’s an amazing thing!  Steve managed an awesome 3hrs 34 despite holding back in that first mile.  I discover I came in at 4hrs 9.  I will take that.

My mum arrives and we head for our delicious free soup and casserole.  My dad wants to get back down the road so I take it back to the motorhome where I also peel off my trainers and socks.

I will end it there – no one needs the detail on what marathon running can do to your feet.  A very sore lesson to learn the hard way however it is most definitely learnt!  My love affair with my precious trainers is no more.  Just like Brad and Angelina we have parted ways.  I’m ok with 4hrs 9, it’s better than my last time and it’s my own fault.

Next year will be a sub 4 hour – no doubt about it!