Spring postponed – eight snowy miles

Snowy statue
Snowy statue

This time last week I was tidying up after an afternoon spent in the garden, and following a lovely morning of running. It was sunny and spring like.

But really as a lifetime native of Scotland  I should know better than to let my guard down, and as I think maybe Billy Connolly may have once said if you are bored with the weather in Scotland just wait 10 minutes and it will change.

Sunday car temp

This morning  I woke to find a snow covering just as I was about to head out on my run, not quite what I had planned when choosing today to do 8 miles.

As time is marching on, and bereft of magical powers,  I am now trying to adopt the ‘train smarter not harder’ philosophy, although it could also be described as a ‘too little too late’ philosophy. The plan I have come up with is really a Smorgasbord of training sessions, in the vain hope that this will miraculously convert me from a 4 mile to a 13.1 mile runner !

snowy windscreen

And just in case my mix and match training approach does not work, I have wholeheartedly embraced miracle cures and runners lore –  as a start have bought and committed to drinking litres of cherry and beetroot juice. Maybe 3 weeks of beetroot juice drinking is the answer.

miracle cure
miracle cure

I am just trying to become a bit more race ready, although finding time to squeeze in extra training around work and life is tricky. This week for the first time I did a couple of interval training sessions – which are short but pacy – and hopefully do some good, but my main concern is still the long run.

We used to regularly run 5 or 6 miles at weekends, but recently for a variety of reasons this has got shortened to 4, and so I am feeling quite nervous of keeping on my feet for the 2+ hours I will need to cover 13.1 miles.

snowy path

After my 7 miles of running over two sessions last week, I was feeling a bit more optimistic but knew I had to try to do a single long run, to give me the confidence in running for longer. I reckon if I do 8 this week and 10 next week, I will feel a bit better prepared for the half marathon distance on Sunday 17 March.

Alison was running with me, and we opted for an early start. I thought the snow would pass, but with the car thermometer reading a chilly minus 1, and the sky battleship grey I did wonder what was in store.

I have taken part in the Inverness race once before in 2011, and the conditions that day were snowy, blowy and very cold. But I got my best time for the half marathon distance and put it down to a combination of good support from my family and the chilly temperature

Maybe it was a good omen then to have such wintry conditions to do the 8 mile run, although I was already giving myself various opt outs should it all get a bit much. As we set out it started snowing quite heavily, so for the first 3.5 miles we were pretty much running through a full on snow shower and into the wind.

canal snow

But on the return leg the snow eased off and we had the wind behind us. By then I had thought I would be happy to do 7, given the weather conditions and as Alison was pressed for time, but with just over 6 miles completed I decided to keep going to try and reach at  least 7.5 and maybe even the 8 originally  planned.

By now it had stopped snowing and it was still and quiet, and the next section was flat. I looped round onto the canal and got to the 7 mile mark, then thought I might as well keep going at a slowish pace to do 8.

canal snow 2

Despite or maybe because of the snow there were lots of fellow runners out and I did stop a couple of times to take some pictures. The final leg back took me to 8.39 miles – or strictly speaking 8.5 but I switched my Nike + off in error when I slowed down to talk to some dog walkers.

Stopping to chat to dog walkers  may not be a good race strategy, but after 8 snowy miles I felt I deserved the rest. Maybe 5.1 more might just be doable in 3 weeks …

NOTE : I take most pictures using my iPhone and think it was not happy with the snowy weather, hence the odd filter effect 

IMG_3636

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