Tuesday, 5 February 2013

All by myself

When Eric Carmen crooned  his memorable ballad All by myself, I pretty sure he wasn't thinking of a middle aged; grey haired runner in South West Scotland contemplating the prospect of his long Saturday morning training run.
As I texted my regular Saturday running amigo's last Friday night, "Who's up for 8am Long run at Mabie?", this was exactly the prospect I faced.
All by myself
First to fall was prospective Iron Man Ian, who'd gone over on his ankle on Thursday's club run and was sensibly substituting a long cycle for our regular trail run. Second fence saw Andy (Iron Man and prospective MDS runner) call off, having run 76 miles back to back the previous weekend, he'd fallen victim to some mild form of plague. Third and final faller was Caroline with a double whammy of plague and a family christening.
Frankly I was taken aback, I couldn't remember the last time I'd been faced with the prospect of a proper long run, absolutely on my own from start to finish. Okay so I've run marathons and Ultras where there are other human beings around and the conversations have been short or no more than passing greetings, but Mabie Forest at 8am on a February weekend, realistically I probably wouldn't see a soul for 4 hours!
I'm getting to know the trails pretty well so I'd mentally mapped out a route that would incorporate the Purple Mountain bike route and added on Lotus Hill, which dominates the skyline to the south of the magnificently named Beeswing village. I reckoned this would give me the planned 22 miles without any back tracks or looping.
I stuck to my normal Saturday routine, 7am alarm, shave, Vaseline on the feet, porridge, yogurt, weather forecast and pre-load with isotonic, but I found myself FAFFING and killing time, so I was actually late for my 8am start for the first time ever.
It was a really strange feeling heading off from the bike shed all by myself, I'd brought the earphones and had John Kynaston's latest WHW pod cast teed up just in case, but was determined only to fall back on this as a last resort.
Not ideal running fuel

You don't really want a blow by blow mile by mile account of my run, but the highlights included
  • A stunning sunrise and amazing blue sky, if a little chilly at 1C
  • Ambrosia creamed rice pots really need protection to stop them exploding in your backpack
  • Yorkie chocolate bars are not ideal running fuel, especially when partially frozen
  • The frozen mud on Lotus Hill wasn't really frozen, just a nice thin crust over 8 inches of proper mucky goo
  • Running downhill on frozen grass is not exhilarating its scary
  • A deer wandering onto the trail and not noticing me until I was only 10m away
  • A growing aversion to Green Jelly babies (refer to previous blog post)
  • My new Gore running jacket is brilliant, but the zip off sleeves have a tendency to zip off, of their own free will
  • There is a finite limit to how many times I can recite Tam O'Shanter to take my mind off running
  • I need to drink more than 1 litre in 22 miles
  • 22 miles is quite a long way!
So job done in just under 3 hours 30 minutes, and off for an exciting afternoons shopping compensated by the prospect of some company on tomorrows back to back 12 miler.

Fast forward to Saturday night and its deja vue, Ian's ankle is still crocked, Andy is still plague ridden and Caroline's still got a christening to go to!

Everyone join in now "All by Myself..............................."


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