It has been a brilliant weekend. The sun has been shining - how unusual is that - and I've been for a couple of runs on the West Highland Way, sandwiched by a trip to Hampden on Saturday for the Scottish Cup final.
On Friday night a crowd of us met for a night run along the WHW from Milngavie to Balmaha. We met up at the car park in Balmaha where John left his minibus, then I drove us all back down the road. We dropped Dario and Sue at the Beech Tree Inn - they were doing a shorter run - then started running from Milngavie about quarter to 11, just as it was getting dark.
I'm not sure there is any real benefit to be gained for the race from running in the dark, but that didn't matter at all. It was something different and great fun; and a really good chance to catch up again with a few of the guys. We didn't push particularly hard and arrived in Balmaha at around 2.30 am, having been running for 3 hours 42 minutes. My headtorch worked very well and I had no problems following the path at any stage. By the time we arrived back at Milngavie around 3 am it was starting to get light, and when I finally made it to bed just before 5 am it was broad daylight.
So on to Saturday. I got up about 11 am having had a few hours sleep and started to get ready for the Homecoming Scottish Cup final. My team, Falkirk, were playing Rangers, and as Falkirk don't get to too many finals it was a game we could not miss. Allybea, son No 3, WHW Race Director Dario and I arrived at Hampden more in hope than expectation. Unfortunately the result didn't go our way - Falkirk played really well but were a bit unlucky to lose 1-0. The atmosphere at Hampden was fantastic, and the fact Falkirk were far and away the better team made it an excellent day out, despite the result.
As today was the last day of May, and as it is now less than 3 weeks until the WHW race, I was keen to get another decent run in on the WHW route. It was yet another glorious day and the hour drive to Tyndrum - with the car roof down and the Pogues' album Rum, Sodomy & the Lash playing - was an absolute pleasure. My car is made for days like today. It is not so good when it is icy, but that is long forgotten when summer finally arrives and the sun comes out. Anyway, just before I started running from Tyndrum I noticed that the temperature was 24 degrees. That is hotter than I am comfortable with, and I knew it would make it a hard run, but at least I would be running at a relaxed pace, unlike those poor souls doing the Edinburgh Marathon.
I reached Bridge of Orchy in exactly an hour, stopped for a couple of minutes at the hotel, then ran back in almost the same time (well okay, I was a couple of minutes slower, but on a day like this the 2 minutes didn't really matter). I felt good and enjoyed the run. I got a bit hot towards the end, not helped by the fact that my water had heated up inside the bottle and was almost impossible to drink. However I made it in one piece, and after a quick stop to try out my Magic Mug at the Good Food Stop (it worked - I got my free coffee) I put the roof down and headed back down the road.
All in all, a great weekend.