10km Run No. 13 – Sunset Track Run
Time: 43min, 20secs
Location: Crownpoint, Glasgow
For 10km No. 13, I joined Isatou (herself running another 5km) on a Sunday Sunset athletic track run. Running a track is not everyone’s cup of tea, but there is something to be said for the fact it is quiet (no cars or people to dodge), there is no traffic (no stop starting at traffic lights), and it is very flat (no uphills, wohoooo!), all of which means you can switch off, relax and meditate your way around. It is also good for practising pace, and the regular laps keep a constant rhythm. We ran in alternate directions which allowed us to cover different distances together at the same time with plenty of high-fives. Finally, you can also take the odd moment to pretend you are Mo Farah on the winning stretch…
10km Run No. 14 – HQ Gogarburn Grounds Lunch Run
Time: 48min, 32secs
Location: Gogarburn, Edinburgh
For 10km No. 14 I got out on a lunch break, exploring my work’s HQ grounds, and getting to know a 5km cross county route (twice) that I hope will be enjoyed by a small running club to encourage more colleagues to get out and enjoy.
10km Run No. 15 – Glencoe Post-Ski Snow Storm Run
Time: 47min, 16 secs
Location: Glencoe Ski Mountain
Following some family skiing, undeterred by 80mph+ winds that left most parts of the Glencoe Mountain range out of use, I decided I could not turn down the opportunity and took on another 10km run. Snow continued to roll in over the beautiful mountainous peaks and down through the valley, famous for the 1692 Massacre of the MacDonalds clan, as well as the stunning scenery that stretches both sides of the valley.
Snow blew in from all directions in a blanket of cloud and ice that screened all of the appealing scenery out of sight. It suddenly felt slightly more wild. I left the ski-lodge, in my shorts and t-shirt only for an old couple to give me a giggle suggesting at madness. I didn’t waste any time, it was freezing and too cold to stand around. I hit the road and ran downhill and away from the ski-centre. A couple of 4×4 overtook with bewildering glares, and for a moment I questioned my own sanity.
My parents overtook as I crossed the main road taking a couple of photos and left me to it… as I “disappeared off over the side and into the wilderness”.
The wind and sleet hit me pretty hard and my blood pumped so fast that I completed the first 1km, downhill, in 3:46 – a bit too fast. After passing the road I found my way onto a track which oscillated over the rolling hills and into a thick wall of white cloud. I knew there were mountains behind there somewhere, I just kept on running. The path crumbled away downhill until I was dredging through ankle high marshy waters. My face was numb, I could feel a distinct lack of concentration so I gave up trying to hop, skip and jump the dry patches and just ploughed straight through!
My running shorts were loose, but less than 2km in and I could not feel my fingers to tighten them!
Another km or so down and I looped around a public house. A lady exiting a car wrapped up to the eye balls in warm clothing past with a dog and shouted some form of encouragement. I could barely hear from the snow and wind that pelted down on me. I crossed a small bridge and rounded a small forest where a large herd of deer lay sheltered from the weather. They looked at me just as bizarrley as the old couple, the 4×4’s and the lady in all that warm clothing.
“the landscape started to reveal itself like a stunning oil painting”
Another km in, and true to the unpredictability of nature the clouds rolled past and some colour started to appear. I am not sure if it was the snow storm petering out or my face slowly thawing but the landscape started to reveal itself like a stunning oil painting being drawn up in front of my eyes. So for a whole km stretch in the middle of my run, in the middle of the valley, I was surrounded by huge snow capped peaks. I only wish I had a camera.
I hit 5km in, and as tempting as it was to continue, I turned around and ran back facing the full glory of the peaks that saluted my efforts and shone so clearly. So beautiful and peaceful was there presence, I was overcome with the urge to stop running and walk to enjoy their peaceful tranquillity. Before I knew it, thick grey cloud rolled over and a fresh snow storm hit me in the face, and I picked up my heels and got as quick as I could out of there!
I ran back along the stream, back past the building, back over the little bridge, and back past the un-fazed deer that were not going to budge, and I didn’t blame them.
I ploughed back through the oscillating marshy hills and then I realised how un-planned this run was. I had a 155 meter climb back up to the ski-lodge in order to finish. I entered back into the cafe drenched from head to tow, my face was numb, my visibility was limited and I could barely see through my eyes to catch all the glaring stares at a madman walking out of the snow in his shorts.
Running is a minimalistic non-elitist sport for everyone. Despite the ever increasing fees at events like the great north run (£53!!!) all you need is a pair of trainers (and I do recommend a reasonably good pair if you want to make it your sport), a little bit of will and motivation, and you can get out there and enjoy it – from your park, your local track, to your local woodlands, to the mountains.
Enjoy Running, Enjoy the Adventure!