When it comes to drama, guaranteed I'll be at the root of it. And today's run took it to a whole new level.
According to my training schedule, a 35-mile run was on the cards. The original plan was to run from Bridge of Orchy to Fort William, but recent snow storms across Scotland forced us to change plans to lower-lying grounds.
Cairn was staying at my Mum's last night, so we could both run today. I left the house with the view to running onto the WHW, taking the road round to Balmaha and then back on the WHW up Conic Hill and onto Milngavie. Sonic was doing the similar route, but leaving after me to catch up.
All was going well until I started going up Conic Hill. The further I went up, the deeper the snow got. In hindsight I was ill prepared for the conditions. The temperature was close to freezing, but the wind-chill factor would have taken it well below that. Some kind soul had kicked most of the steps, so I followed them. If I had half a brain cell I would turned back, but I was committed (oh and a little bit stubborn) and was moving closer to the summit. I called Sonic to explain the situation (mini-tantrum) who informed me he was at the bottom of hill. Descending the other side was when I got myself into a real pickle. I was waist-deep in thick snow, soaking wet and freezing my ass off. There was a layer of ice on top of snow, which was shredding my legs. Despite knowing this route like the back of my hand, the path was non-existent and I felt as if I was (literally) rolling about aimlessly. I was a blubbering, snottering wreck. As dramatic as it sounds, I honestly feared for my life.
Panic calls to Sonic (mega-tantrum), who tried to calm me and find out where I was. He informed me he was down at the bridge (after going from Drymen). "WTF? You mean you're not on this hill". I was expecting him to appear behind, like a knight in shining armour. "F*ck no, it's waist-deep up there", was the reply. After what seemed like an eternity of trudging through snow, he appeared in the distance. Given the way I had previously acted he would have been forgiven for just leaving me there!!
Sonic was a little more prepared (from his mountain rescue training) than me, and piled me up with a fleece sweater and a wind-proof jacket. My survival kit consisted of some sweets, a cap, babywipes and an ipod! He later informed me that I was gibbering rubbish and shaking uncontrollably. I must admit being that cold and that disorientated - it's amazing that a route you know so well becomes unrecognisable in different conditions - was very scary. What would normally take 30 minutes, took over two hours. And I would probably take the prize for being the most ill equipped/prepared runner on the hills.
Although, at a lower level - the snow-depth had shrunk to a more manageable knee-deep, it was a few miles on the route to Drymen before we could start running. There were a few walkers out enjoying - what was then - as lovely snow-covered path. I had piled the layers of clothing on top of my backpack, so I must have looked like a Ninja turtle approaching.
We met another runner - Sarah who was training for the Fling - just outside of Drymen. She must have thought I was slightly unhinged, given the ensemble and the gibbering story of my Conic Hill adventure.
Anyway, the show must go on. Although If I was given the option of airlift of the hill to never run again, I would have taken it. Back in the land of normality (or at least normal body temperature) I had waved off the notion of hitching a lift and changed the route to running back over the Balloch Horseshoe home. 33 miles in total. If good ultra-running training is about time of feet, then that was a quality run. Although it's not an experience I would want to repeat, EVER.
Sitting of the comfort of my sofa with a chilled glass of wine (for medicinal reasons, obviously) I probably did act a little OTT. When I told Sonic I thought Cairn was going to be orphaned, he said "but he would still have me". Really, it's two of the same thing. I would just leave two boys without responsible guidance and care. Although Sonic has had the satisfaction of referring to me as a "fking idiot" more often than absolutely necessary this afternoon. Next time, I'll pack more appropriately. Well, maybe. It has given me something to blog about :-)