Starburst & The Smiths.

Days 75 – 109

We’ll call it a recap. I think I prefer that to the rather dull reality of work, family, school holidays and all round laziness as being the reason for my lack of motivation.

In the past few weeks, we been running and not been running. I’ve decided to list only the highlights, which should go some way at least to making this thing a whole lot less tedious than usual.

So sit back and relax. I am about to impart a host of amusing, entertaining and inspirational anecdotes. Honest.

We are away at our family holiday cabin in the Cairngorm National Park for the Easter holidays and despite the fact it’s one of my most favourite places in the world and where I feel most relaxed, I am aware of the niggle in the pit of my stomach that has been getting more and more apparent as race day looms closer.

We arrange to meet friends who have a nearby cabin and I’m hoping that F will be a willing running partner during the week to help keep my motivation up. That illusion is shattered when they arrive and she gets out of the car looking fantastic, and very, very pregnant.


Day 84

8 – 10k on the agenda for today. The weather is beautiful and I head off through the village and down the street known locally as ‘Millionaire’s Row’, passing some truly amazing holiday homes.

There are so many paths and trails in this part of the world I just take the first sign I see for Kincurdy Wood. I regret it as once I hop over the stile, as I come to a hill with what looks like to me, a 30% gradient.

In normal circumstances, I’d simply walk it but given that I have passed hikers, dog walkers and another jogger, the fear of losing face drives me on. It is exhausting and covered with fallen pine needles which lends the surface the air of an ice rink.

The full tilt belt down the other side was ace though.

The forest path is not great for running and I spend the whole time watching my feet and avoiding tree roots and rocks so the pace is far from record-breaking.

The weather is great however and not knowing the route seems to work well for me, I always find I manage to run for longer when I have no idea what distance I’m doing and only a vague notion of where I’m going.

I come out of the wood onto the cycle path and turn back when I reach the main turn off for Aviemore. The return leg is great as it’s a gradual but constant downhill. I enjoy it even more when I come across another runner singing along to Bon Jovi on his iPod. I deliberately stay behind him to see how long it takes him to realise I’m there.  Not because I’m desperate to hear what the next track might be.  Selfishly, he turns off before me so I never got to hear the end of ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’.


Day 85

Rugrat 2 is having a birthday so no run today. We spend the day with friends eating cake and drinking fizz but I do manage a cross training/cake-offsetting cycle around Loch Morlich.


Day 86

We head out with friends to Loch An Eilean and take a leisurely stroll around the loch as a warm up. Watching them eat their picnic half way round isn’t the best fun.  But I know to my cost that eating anything less than four hours before running results in vomit and this being a National Park, that’s probably considered bad form.

The plan is for me to run the 16k back to the cabin and M is concerned about my lack of food or water for the run. I assure him I’ll be fine. He is a cyclist and runner and properly built like one with an obviously super-fast metabolism. I run and cycle but am built for eating crisps and sitting on my ass. I eventually choke down half a banana to keep him happy.

I wave them off at the car park with only 4 Starburst, an eclectic playlist and an aura of negativity for company.

The run is actually great.

The route is varied and the weather is perfect. About 9k in however the landscape changes and the temperature rises considerably. I am plodding on through a heather moorland hot, thirsty and nursing a painful blister. Matters are not improved when I hear the opening bars of ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’ ringing in my ears.

However, after about 10 minutes, this being Scotland, the skies darken and it starts to lash rain, just around the time my playlist reaches the Prince medley. Life is good again.

I get back to the cabin nothing short of elated. I have made it without stopping and the family are still out so I can get straight to my post run protein boost. Or, if you prefer, ‘standing at an open fridge devouring everything in it until I feel sick’ boost.

The glass of Sav Blanc I have 3 or 4 hours later is the best I have ever tasted.


Day 87

Feeling really good today. A little tired but no aches or pains, which is just as well as rugrat 2 is having birthday party number two and we have 8 family members on their way to the ‘cosy’ cabin, and I am a little concerned about where we are going to put them all.

Soon, they arrive, both sets of Grandparents, an Aunt, my sister, her two children and a Jack Russell called Molly.

It is a lovely afternoon, not least because we haven’t seen my sister for 3 years and have never met our nephew.  The children get on like a house on fire and we spend a wonderful few hours devouring 3 birthday cakes (poor communication between myself and Granny), and several bottles of fizz.


Day 88

Pack up time and we arrive back home mid afternoon. V texts me to let me know she too has completed her training run and done a not at all shabby 15k in 90 minutes.  I am deeply alarmed by this so I invite her up for a post run glass of Rioja. After she’s finished the bottle and the couple of ports I foist upon her, she is well aware that leaving me in a cloud of dust on May 10th, IS NOT PART OF THE TRAINING PLAN.


Days 89-91

Stuff happened. None of it running related. Unless you count the usual wet Monday night, ‘back-and-forth-and-ultimate cancellation’, text-based discussion.


Day 92

We curse our cancellation last night as a fuel spill on the Forth Bridge has pretty much cut off everywhere north of Dalmeny for several hours.  N eventually makes it home after a hideous 3 hour 25 mile drive and is THRILLED to see me in my running gear whizzing past him and out the door before he’s even had a chance to take his shoes off.

It is a beautiful spring evening and we decide on a hill route through the next village, over the motorway and back around. About an 8k loop.

We make it up the hill pretty well and are enjoying the easy downhill and through the wood on the other side. We are full of the joys of running by the time we make it home and both feeling frankly, smug.

I receive a text message with attached photograph from V about an hour later.

She looks as though she has been punched in the face.

It appears that during our delightful jaunt through the wood, we were not alone. Some bug or other, has bitten her on the eyelid.  Her eye is very swollen and almost completely closed. It looks pretty hellish and despite my concern,  I don’t mind admitting I had a fleeting moment of jealousy when the thought that she’d have to pull out of the race due to being blinded by a midge, popped into my head.

Lucky bitch.