Sunday, 20 December 2009

Snowy Pentlands

The team decided to crack down on their recent sloth and alarms were set to get us up and out to the Pentlands early...however, I woke up with the alarm at 8.30am and felt tired and uninspired. Got up and had a look out the window at grey spindrift on Arthur's Seat under a dull sky and went straight back to bed. Buchanan was taking no responsibility for the day - to him setting an alarm means telling me to make him a cup of tea half an hour after I'm up - "and not so strong this time." I prodded him once to see if he was going to insist on getting up - but he asked how the day looked and when I told him said "might as well rest up then. "

There was a worry in the back of my mind that we're both becoming less and less remarkable in terms of hard work and dedication. Were we just going to become increasingly round until running would be something we reminisced about? As our waistlines expanded our recalled pbs would get faster and faster. Sleep soon removed these worries but instead I had an unsettling dream in which I was remembering having fallen backwards off a 100 ft ladder. In my dream I was remembering grasping for the top rung but not trying very hard and then to my horror falling away backwards. I felt a mixture of horror at having fallen and relief at suffering no consequences.

Finally at 11.30 I woke up again and feeling a great deal better got up to a much more affable looking day. Buchanan was still of a mind that we should be going to the Pentlands and the wind seemed nothing like as strong as had been forecast so I didn't put up too much of a fight, just muttering under my breath about how it was going to get dark and we'd be benighted in temperatures below zero or else get lost in a white out.

The road at Flotterstone was a sheet of ice and the carpark was full to overflowing so we had to park at the side of the road. The path up Turnhouse had been polished to a high glassy sheen by sledgers and the wind at the top was cutting and incredibly sore. We kept going though and got out of the worst of the wind. The snow was deeper than its been for a few years coming down the far sides of the hills and it felt pretty safe under foot. (Mostly, although Peter cartwheeled past me at one point, emitting a high pitched shriek.) There was a plethora of walkers - most of whom seemed overdressed and burdened by rucksacks and poles and with their hoods up so they couldn't see the view. I was impressed however by one guy who had an orange balaclava and sunglasses on. It was both a good look (sinister as hell) and would have saved us from the wind sting.

The light was fading so we headed right at the foot of the East Kip down to the Howe and then along to the back of Black Hill where there's a nice little path. We climbed a last hill at Bell's Hill as the sun was setting and then headed down the path onto the road and then back to the car.

Nice run, albeit very slow and felt toasty throughout. We were out for 2hrs 45 mins and felt fine. Maybe shaking off the cold at last.

I am now obsessed with Andre Agassi and intrigued with the drive that sports' people have to be the best. Graeme Obree described just feeling relief when he took the hour record because he hadn't failed. I found a (semi) interesting article in the Guardian on-line about Agassi and other troubled sports' stars. Cricketers, apparently, are particularly prone to depression and suicide.

So I wonder is there more than one way of doing this or do you actually have to have demons to accomplish great things? Is Paula just keeping it quiet? Bjorn Borg? Troubled? Or is there more than one way to skin a cat? I can't finish this thought yet so I'm off to have my tea.

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