I'm trying to build up my mileage now we are into April, so today's session was a 20 mile run around the 'Tour of Strathearn'. This run was first shown to me by a few of the Strathearn Harriers, and it is an absolutely brilliant route, with a bit of everything: some roads, some hills, and some trails. You can start at any point, as it is a circular loop, but today I started about a mile north of the Famous Grouse Experience, and headed south in a clockwise direction. I went through Crieff via a number of paths and trails, then headed up on to the hills on the south side of the town along a track that eventually comes out at Auchengarroch Wildlife Centre. The paths here climb quite a bit for about 4 miles, with some incredible views of Strathearn from the top, before dropping down steeply off the hill and into the wildlife centre. I ran past a few ducks and other strange looking birds, then followed the road for 2 miles into Comrie. So far so good - in the first 2 hours I covered 12.8 miles, although the hard bit up and over the hills to Loch Turret was still to come.
And hard it was. I was running into a strong wind, there were a number of steep hills (mostly up), and I was getting tired. It was a real struggle all the way to the reservoir, and then I had the best part of 3 miles down a really steep road back to the car. My legs were shot by the time I got there, although the last section was covered at around 7 minute mile pace, entirely due to the steep downhill. The total run time was 3 hours 9 minutes, and the distance per my GPS was 20.4 miles. I managed to get out the car at Somerfield (although it was a bit of a struggle), picked up a few bottles of beer, then headed home for an easy night in front of the television. What a glamorous and exciting social life I have - I spend my Saturday nights reading running magazines, watching a bit of televsion (usually the sports news), or sitting blogging. Who said accountants were dull?
Finally, a note to the subversive runner http://www.subversive-running.blogspot.com/ , who is a big boxing fan. I was thinking about watching the Calzaghe fight later tonight, but I don't think I'll be able to stay awake that long as I'm shattered after my run, as explained above. However we do have Setanta Sports, which is showing it live at 2am. As well as the boxing, Setanta covers Scottish and English football and US Tour golf. It's only £9.99 a month and, even better, you don't need to sign up to an annual contract. I would go for it.