Time for a bit of an update, as much for me as anyone. No particular highs or lows, just the ups and downs of winter. I see lots of people relishing the cold snowy conditions but sorry guys, you can keep it. I've spent enough of my time wading through knee-deep powder and climbing in Scottish gulleys getting spindrift down my neck. Running through snow is hard work, give me a bit of sunshine any day.
Anyway, my first event of the year not to be cancelled was the Belvoir Challenge, run on and around the Belvoir estate in Leicestershire, on footpaths, bridleways, and the odd bit of minor road. There was enough mud, plenty of stiles and more hills than I was expecting, around 1400ft of climbing overall. Still, it was pretty enough countryside and although it was a grey day and barely rose above freezing, the snow was good enough to hold off until I was enjoying my soup in Harby Village Hall at the finish. There were around 1000 entrants, though with a choice of course (15 or 26,2 miles) and plenty of walkers, the field thinned out soon enough, well certainly enough for me to benefit from a navigational error to make my outing a round 27 miles.
I arrived home in 4 hrs 28 min, in 66th position out of 284 finishers on the marathon course. This gave me a pace of just under 10 minutes a mile, which was the aim as this was the first of my "treat as a training run" events. It was still probably a bit too fast for me as the half marathon the following day which was supposed to be done at 9 minute miles ended up at not far off 9,30's.
But that was the last longish run for a couple of weeks because the following Thursday I was off to Brides-les-Bains on the fringe of the huge Trois Vallees ski area, joining my kids who had negotiated a long weekend off from their various jobs and partners to go and play in the snow. This what winter is really for, sunshine, skiing all day and big dinners, getting up stiff the next day to go and do it all over again.
We all came home knackered but refreshed, but unfortunately the cold that has been going around three generations of our family for weeks now finally landed on me. Above the neck and out you go, they say, so I carried on with the midweek running. I came back each day with running nose, running eyes, the only thing that wasn't running so well was the legs. As this weekend drew near it was clear that 30-odd miles coughing and spluttering across the West Yorkshire moors in the snow probably wasn't a good plan, so I pulled out of the Wuthering Hike. Three events planned this year so far and I've completed one - not a great start but that's how it goes sometimes. I voted myself the weekend off so will probably get going again on Tuesday. All of which means that the scheduled 94 miles over the past two weeks have turned into 30.
Not to worry, Spring's just around the corner - I think.