Sunday, December 17, 2006

Rain and more rain

It has rained a lot here over the last week, more or less non stop from Sunday through to Thursday. Not just a few showers, but torrential downpours, day after day after day. I found myself getting quite depressed coming down each morning to be greeted by yet another monsoon. I ventured out for a run last Sunday around lunchtime. It was raining when I started, raining when I finished, and just for good measure raining all the time in between as well. I covered about 15 miles in just under 2 hours, and was completely drenched, cold and miserable by the time I got home at 3.15. To add to my woe it was almost dark by the time I finished. Roll on the better weather and longer days, I say.

However that wasn't as bad as Wednesday. I had run from the office in the morning (in the heavy rain, of course). By mid afternoon most of Perthshire was underwater, and the main road to our house had been closed due to flooding. I was out at a dinner at night and was driving home around 10pm, wondering if I would make it or not. If I had had a clean shirt with me I think I would just have headed to the nearest Travel Inn, but the thought of wearing the same clothes 2 days in a row (and not having any dry running stuff) was enough to persuade me to try and get home. All was fine until I reached the back road from Auchterarder, about 5 miles from home. As it was pitch black, I didn't realise I was heading for a huge puddle until I found myself right in the middle of it. Fortunately the car spluttered through but it was not a pleasant experience, made all the more nervewracking because my mobile phone battery had died a few hours earlier. About half a mile further on the same thing happened, then again, and again. Much to my relief I finally made it to the house, not one moment too soon. It has to rank as one of my worst ever driving experiences.

Imagine my surprise to get up on Saturday morning and find it wasn't raining. Pitch black, yes - it was only 5.30am - but not raining. I was meeting a first time West Highland Way runner, John Kynaston, for a run along the Loch Lomond section of the route. All did not go to plan, however, as Loch Lomond had flooded the road at Balmaha, and there was no way to get through, either by car or on foot. So as an alternative John and I met at Drymen and ran from there over Conic Hill to Balmaha and back the same way, then added on another section to Gartness and back. We covered 20 miles in total. I really enjoyed the run and John's company.

There is no doubt that one of the best things about the WHW race is the quality of the people who take part in it - and that includes other competitors, backup crew, and organisers. I've met some fantastic people through the race, a lot of whom I now consider to be close friends. Daft as a brush, most of them, but very good friends nonetheless. I think it is brilliant (or 'amazing', as Zara Phillips would probably say) how I can turn up for a run with someone I have never met before (like John on Saturday), and just know instinctively that we'll get on really well with each other.