At the start of the week, I had made a firm plan about routes and mileage for the coming week. Plans??? I should have been able to hear the Running Gods scoffing.
Wednesday 21 January: My working day ended at 12.30 which I thought gave me the perfect opportunity to do a quick three miles in the Craig Phadrig woods above Inverness. I haven't been back that way in years, well before the new housing estates were built, so it took me ages to find the start of the path. I crept behind and between the huge houses with their amazing views, trying to be invisible and feeling like an intruder and waiting for the police to show up and ask me what I was doing, until I figured out that the lovely path that I remembered is now a tarmacked road. Sigh.
The first bit of the road was snowy and slushy but runnable. However, where the road ended and the trail began, the slush became thick, rough, broken ice. There were brief pockets of thawed trail here and there and I also tried running along the side of the trail in the snow, but the trail eventually became a sheet of ice as far into the distance as I could see. It took me 17 minutes to do the first mile; I don't often cut a run short, but this one I did. Two miles in 33 minutes. Can I count that as a negative split?
Friday 23 January: My car had to be into Inverness for 10am to have the windscreen replaced, so my plan was to go to the gym, do five miles on the treadmill (to make up for the mile that I didn't do on Wednesday), do some weights, and sit in the sauna by which time my car would be ready. The windscreen place was running two hours behind schedule but, on the positive side, the rain which had been pelting down all morning had stopped and I'd always much rather run outside than inside...so I got a taxi to the Aquadome, which is a short walk away from the start of the canal path.
By the time that I had changed into my running gear, it had started to drizzle. And by the time that I actually started to run, it was pissing it down. There was a lot of ice on the path and I did some spectacular skidding as well as some squishy mincing through the mud to avoid the ice. I was running into such a strong headwind that I felt like I was walking. My face was frozen and I couldn't see where I was going because the wind was blowing the rain full force into my eyes. I made it two miles, said fuck it, and headed back. Despite having a nice hot shower and a very substantial brie & cranberry sandwich, it still took me until later that night to feel warm again.
Sunday 25 January: Today's plan was to run eight miles in Culbin Forest, that location being a treat to myself to make up for the last two crap runs. However, due to a slow start to my morning and then helping Bassman to make bread (making bread is a two-person task in our house: Bassman to make the bread and me to wrangle three enthusiastic moggies so that they don't 1) walk all over the clean kitchen counter where the bread is being kneaded and pummeled 2) stick their heads into the bowl of flour and 3) run off with the butter), by the time that I could stop my cat-management duties it was too late to head out for Culbin Forest.
So it was with reluctance that I resigned myself to eight miles on the road. My knee has been a bit stiff since overdoing it with the leg extension machine at the gym last week and I was concerned that it might not be too happy on the road. However, it is with great relief that I can report that it was fine with only the occasional twinge. It was another very windy day which made the mile and a half stretch by Newhall Point and the almost-mile uphill towards the end a bit of a challenge, but I still enjoyed myself.
And frankly, that's all that matters.