Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Pentland's Panda

At some unknown juncture between Thursday afternoon and Thursday night I hurt my lower back. All I know is it wasn't yoga this time because I didn't do any. I sat writing things for uni for quite a long time in a cold room, so that's probably it I guess.

The weather forecast for this morning was pretty rubbish and what was going on outside the window wasn't that appealing either but I'd promised myself I'd do a Pentland's run every Saturday until the Carnethy 5 hill race. We set off, dragging our feet a bit. We aimed to be there for 9am and were there for 10.

Down in the car park it didn't seem so bad. But the higher we climbed the windier it got. I had to move gingerly, particularly at first, because I was getting twinges in my back. Downhill was worse and took more adjusting to. So times were slow. But despite the wind and occasional rain, it was actually warmer than it has been recently, and I was finding it quite nice to be out. There were periods of sunshine which lifted the whole experience from ordeal to almost enjoyable. Peter took all the photos though. I had enough on my plate just trying not to do any one foot slides and jarring my stupid back.

There were many runners out today. Some looked like they were recceing the Carnethy 5 route. Others seemed to be going further. We had no fixed agenda, as before we set out, I didn't even know if I'd be able to run. We ran Turnhouse, Carnethy and Scald Law, and then, as the rain was coming on, we headed down the side of East Kip to the Howe. I was kind of assuming we'd go back via Black Hill etc, but some carnethy 5 recciers made me remember that last week I intended to do the evil climb up Carnethy that you do in the race - but I'd backed off because of the sheer frozen fury of the wind on the tops. So I suggested this to Peter. He gave me the international signal for "Whatever!" - a shrug.

It was as if traumatic memories from previous races lay frozen in the ground and were awoken by our passing. All the many, many long marches up that hill and screwing up the courage to run for bits came back. Peter was suffering a similar hell. There's always someone sitting at the top of the green slope in the race, wrapped in lots of layers, eating something and drinking something out of a thermos, making you long for the race to be over.

The summit of Carnethy was in a filthy mood the 2nd time up. It was a head-down stomp, leaning into the side wind, feeling my face go numb, wondering how long you would actually live in this if you couldn't get out of it. We were the only people wearing shorts today.

The run down Carnethy and back over Turnhouse was rather desperate. The sky was chucking everything at us now. As we got lower, everything calmed down a bit. At the bottom of Turnhouse I got my camera out and took a picture of that fine specimen of a socky, glovey panda thing.

So next week is the Carnethy 5. Hope I have got over the sore back and not acquired any new tics or diseases by then.

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