Today was my first run on the West Highland Way since last June. I was so excited and geared up for it. Sonic wanted to run this morning too, so it involved some planning. He had to go first, as I've got to feed Cairn. Plus, we both needed to start sharp as we were going to my Mum's for an Easter feast.
Sonic drove over to Milngavie, left his car and ran the 19 miles to Balmaha. Click here to read all about it. I thought running back that distance on that terrain was a bit much, so took the fairy option and started at Drymen. I would have preferred to have run more than the 12.25 miles, but there isn't really a cut-off point between the two sections.
I had a bit of a stop/start first few miles. I had to stop to adjust my backpack, tie my laces, take off my extra layers, pack my gloves away and fix my ponytail as my cap kept blowing off. Then I needed a comfort stop and couldn't get the tier on my tights undone. My pelvic floor is not what it used to be, so it got quite frantic :-) Finally I was off and settled into a steady run. I wasn't particularly bothered about pace. My main aim was to run the whole way and just enjoy it.
As I started at 10am and was going in the opposite direction to the walkers, I got quite annoyed having to acknowledge everyone I passed. Not annoyed enough to turn into one of those rude runners who totally ignore everyone though.
I quite surprised by some of the changes on the route. The tree clearings, flattening some of the rocky track and knocking down historic stone-built walls and replacing them with steel gates. WTF? John posted some pictures on his blog. Granted, sometimes the stiles were quite tricky, but they were an iconic part of the trail. As usual it's health and safety gone mad. There will be handrails, chairlifts and wheelchair access before we know it. Although I feel for the those living in the houses next to the new gates. They poor folks will have to hear the gates slam shut 175 times during race night.
After I got over the disgust of the changes near Carbeth, I was heading into the unleashed dog territory of Mugdock Park, so that was something else for me to whine about. I'm never quite sure of dogs, especially the big hyper ones. One came bounding towards me and the owner shouted: "Don't worry, he might jump all over you, but he won't bite". I had a overwhelming urge to throw something at him. I've vowed never to run through Mugdock again. Famous last words.
I finished the run in 2:07, which I was quite pleased with. At no point did I feel knackered or breathless. I ran up all the hills and finished feeling really strong and could have taken on more.
I'm going to do a 12 mile trail run on Tuesday night, club on Thursday and then try for 16/17 miles next weekend.