I've been a bit quiet for a few days. Mrs Malcy would say that's never a bad thing! It's the Great Trail Challenge next weekend in the Lake District, and this was my last 'training' weekend. The St Andrews Parkrun went as well as could be expected given that the starting pistol went off while I was still 200/300 metres away from the line. I had been taking my time driving there, you see. I had left in plenty of time and in fact was thinking about making a scenic detour on the way. I didn't, but sat in my car for a wee while before I headed to the start. But sat for a minute or two too long. I guess I learned another of life's lessons! So no PB this week. But according to Nike+, I wouldn't have made it anyway.
It would have been so easy to stop at the end of the first lap. How many times have I written that line? But every time I put on my running shoes and venture out, that's exactly how I feel. I DETEST running. Until I get past the first half mile or so - then I absolutely love it!
It was the same this morning, when I ventured up the Lomond Hills once again. I'd been building up my trail running during May, but now it was June. The last Sunday before "The Big One". No excuses, no rest until I completed the trail from the East Lomond to the top of its Western sister. The "I just want to stop" feeling came in on cue, and was dispensed with. The 'zone' soon came along and from then on things were fine.
I had been a fair way along the trail last time - I did 5k each way and reckoned there was only another 1k more to do. In fact it was 7.53km to the summit ... of which goodness knows how much was near vertical. Ouch. Literally. Boy did my ankles hurt going up that gradient! I pretty quickly came to the conclusion that there was a reason I hadn't seen anyone going up that side of the hill. I guess they all take the easier alternative route up ... and the 'Eiger' route down. Malcy, being a particularly stupid bloke, was doing it the other way round. On the other hand, nothing that I encounter in the Great Trail Challenge will now make me go "gulp". My fear of hills has been well and truly demolished.
So I arrived at the top of the West Lomond, for the first time in my life. I see it every day, For over thirty years I've thought about walking up there. And here I was. The air was totally clear, and the view was amazing. From the foothills of the highlands in the north, round by the North Sea at St Andrews to the east, and over to Edinburgh and beyond to the south. Even the Tay and Forth estuaries were twinkling in the sun. Wow!
Then it happened. Here I am - Malcy the Conqueror. Malcy the God of Hell Fire. All that stuff. And two guys come running up the hill. Not via the path. Not via the 'Eiger'. No - those would have been too easy. The were running 'free of constraints'. They had already been running for more than three hours and taken in three MAJOR hills. And they still had two more to go before they would be finished. Let's be clear - they weren't walking ... they were running the whole way. And they didn't look much younger than myself. Oh dear. I now need to find a huge rock and crawl underneath it!
They weren't the only people I came across either - I reckon I must have passed over 100 people walking at least part of the route. And a dozen or so runners. It wasn't quite a case of queuing up to ascend the peaks, but it was certainly a lot busier than in previous weeks. Isn't that great?
Anyway, I've gone on and on and on as usual. There would be lots more to tell. About how I had bought a chest strap for my camera and had taken a video ... except it showed the track rather than the view ... and the battery ran out ... and all the other things I have to sort out before next weekend's run. Or how, at the summit of the East Lomond I came across a couple of guys paragliding.
That looked real fun. Did I tell you that I joined my university's skydiving club a few years ago? It was great until the jump when I broke my leg ... Paragliding looks much safer.
So that's the tome finished. Job done. East and West Lomonds done - crushed under my feet. A 15k trail run - done! Two summits in one run - done!
Did I mention I was using my new trail shoes for the first time?
One week to go. Two more training runs along the Lomonds on Tuesday and Thursday, then we (myself and Mrs Malcy) head off to Keswick for a long weekend. It ALWAYS rains when we go there, but the forecast for next weekend is good. I'm looking forward to it!