Yesterday was another long slow run, I had hoped that I might be able to manage about 50km and had mapped out a route that I thought would do - an extensions of a 32km route that we do regularly on the Friday evening. When we woke early Sat morning it was quite blowy and raining - no change there then - when are we going to get a Summer????
I was also cold, which is unusual in that I am by nature a warm person and only feel the cold when I'm tired, I should have taken heed of this, however I had a think about the weather/route etc and decided to run the opposite direction to my original plan to avoid as much of the wind as possible. I set off ok, then a mile or so in, realised that I should have added a couple of miles to the start of the route to extend it so decided to take a previously un-run path to try to make up for the mistake. It was a really nice path to run, but, it was very hilly and not exactly the best way to start a long run! It was tree lined though so offered some shelter from the wind & rain. It was hard going when I left the shelter behind and had to run the 2miles from Alva to Tillicoultry straight into a strong headwind. Fortunately I turned at Tilli and the wind was at my back for a while, I decided to take the Devonway bridlepath to Sauchie to avoid the steep climb out of Tillicoultry, it's an old railway line so the gradients are much gentler than the road's. Huh! about 1km onto the path "Mixed Leisure Route Close" for upgrading! This is definitely a matter for some debate, upgrading means tarmacadam on top of what was a great trail, yes I appreciate that this makes it more accessible for wheelchair users, parents with buggies, cyclists etc but spare a thought for us poor runners who really appreciate a break from the road under our feet and leave us some trails!
The closure meant that I had to run up the roadside, steep hill! Hey ho, rain wasn't too bad at this point and wind was at my back, so it was a case of "suck it up!" Through Sauchie to Clackmannan by which time it was raining properly, wind however had almost completely gone, so ever onwards... Nice run in the rain down on the Kennet Pans, this is reclaimed farmland along the river Forth, and although it's still a tarred road it's a nice run downhill from Clackmannan on to the flat lands of the valley bottom or the Kerse as it's called in these parts.
Quick stop for a bit of bagel to nibble on and over the new Clackmannanshire bridge, then into Kincardine over the old bridge. I usually run Kincardine Bridge first when I do this route but I was really struggling with the tedium of familiar territory - quite a contrast to last week! so decided to change the order. John met me as I left Kincardine with a welcome Coke and a change of top, was about 25k by this point so half way through my hoped for distance. I was feeling good mentally but was struggling with a tightness in my left leg which just wouldn't ease off so this was slowing me down a bit. I left Kincardine, headed back along the Kerse it was only light drizzle by now, and when I got to Clackmannan I followed a new path back to Alloa. This was the best bit of the run in terms of underfoot as it soon left the tarmac and headed onto a track between fields, this came to the BlackDevon Wetlands and the path became a path through a grassy meadow, it was a joy to run on but by this time my leg was so tight and I was wet & tired that I didn't get as much of a lift from it as I should have. I was also by this time, conscious of the clock and worrying about getting home to cook dinner for some guests we were having over for a pre-race pasta dinner so I gave in at 35km and John picked me up back in Alloa.
Mixed feelings about the day, did I set my goals too high? Not sure, a positive though was that I was able to do 35km for the second week in a row and this one was on tired, sore legs.
Home, quick epsom salts bath then dinner organised, who for and why is for the next post :-)