A new week dawned, but the old weather came with it. We had strong, cold winds and even colder wet snow. It was simply very unpleasant.
Any hopes that it would disappear early in the were dashed by Tuesday lunchtime, and I chickened out of going for a lunchtime run. Instead I did my five miles on the treadmill at the gym – perhaps not much fun but better than being outside in that weather!
By Wednesday the weather had improved a bit. At the end of last week I had signed up for the Stirling Campus 5k; a 5k run around the campus of this beautiful University. Now that came nowhere near the eight miles I was supposed to run today, but it did seem like a nice idea. So I registered for the event and picked up my race number. But I then went for a bit of a run before the 5k started.
Max elevation: 34 m
Min elevation: 24 m
When I noticed as I was running was that the paths were very wet and very muddy. No surprise there, as it has been raining a lot over the past few days. But… well, it was really wet!
After doing my run I joined the others at the start.
We filtered through a funnel then ran out along the north side of the loch. About two thirds of the way round we left the lochside and climbed the hill towards the football and rugby pitches. A slightly complicated route round the periphery of the pitches followed, before we ran back down to the waterside and finished the race by running round the south side of the loch and back to the starting point.
I was wearing my old running shoes, which have less of a grip than they used to have. I really should have been wearing trail shoes. It was inevitable that I would take a tumble at some point, and of course I did. It happened on the loop round the pitches, and luckily there was no damage done. Except to my cleanliness, of course!
At the end of the run we went back to collect t-shirts and had some lovely stovies – a Scottish dish based around meat and potatoes. They were great for warming us up after a run in the cold.
As I walked back to the car, I realised we were at the Golden Hour before sunset, and the campus was looking lovely. I grabbed some photographs before picking up some spare clothes and getting changed before daring to sit in the car!
Max elevation: 37 m
Min elevation: 24 m
Then came Thursday, and my plans to run just after work fell foul of the need to drive folk around. So instead I went out later in the evening on a five mile route I had done before.
My ankle was a little twingey on the Thursday, which I put down to having tried to run fast the day before. Nothing to worry about, though.
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 27 m
Saturday came, and I did a loop from my house out to Muiravonside and back. I went along the side of a waterway called Manuel Burn. This used to be an easy thing to search for, until the musical Hamilton came to prominence. I do remember that the Burn caused problems to retreating soldiers after the Battle of Falkirk, but I haven’t been able to re-find the information!
Max elevation: 150 m
Min elevation: 90 m
And then Sunday. I was on golf club duty, so rather than running in Stirling I took my son to the Club and then ran south to the Forth & Clyde Canal. I joined it at Union Road and turned right – that is, heading west along the canal.
The plan was twenty miles, though I wanted a route I could add to if I was feeling good. I had tracked the distance on a map and I knew that there was a place called The Boathouse in Kilsyth – a marina that would, I thought, be impossible to miss. Armed with my new Ronhill Marathon Waist Belt, I started running and just kept going.
The outward journey was fine – I was passing places like Kelvinhead and Wyndford, which offered gorgeous views to the Kilsyth Hills – and I reached the marina pretty much on schedule. As per my plan, I was walking for 30s every three miles to reflect my plans to walk the water stations at the actual event.
I turned and came back home. It wasn’t until about mile seventeen or eighteen that I started to get the “what is the point of all this?” blues, and I was able to run through them without too much difficulty this time.
Soon I reached the Bonnybridge, and I must admit that the stretch to the Falkirk Wheel seemed to go on forever. Then I carried on to the canal’s junction with Union Rd at lock sixteen, and I had to decide whether to take the short way or the longer route back to the canal.
I took the longer route, and ran on to Rosebank, and then back along Camelon High Street to Stirling Road. To my horror I saw that when I reached the car I was short of the 22 mile target, so I had to continue on past the car for a while before returning to it. I got the twenty-two miles on the clock, and stopped – delighted to get the chance to stand still. More so to sit down!
But that’s it. That’s the “development” part of the training done. Now I taper for three weeks, and get myself ready for the race. I think I am mentally prepared – when the time come – barring injury – I’ll be ready.
Max elevation: 56 m
Min elevation: 13 m