I decided to do the weekend long run straight from work which would allow me to train in the forests and small hills around Dyce and Bucksburn. The rain was lashing down so I didn't mind working into the afternoon, waiting for the conditions to improve. I fueled up with a pot noodle, half a banana and a yorkie bar. Yep, I've still to sort out the diet! I set off through the industrial estate and made my way to Kirkhill Forest. The rain had abated allowing me to take a few pictures, this helped to keep me interested during the run which would take around three and a half hours.
Forest machinery had turned the track into a quagmire, there was no escape from the mud and wet so two miles in and my feet were soaked. I don't usually worry about this but my toe nails have nearly returned to normal after last years WHW race. I remind myself to take more care of my feet in future and not lose nails and suffer with blisters this year.
I had a good steady run through the forest, very picturesque in the wet and cloudy conditions. Kirkhill forest is split by the A96, locally known as the Tyrebagger. It's a fast dual carriageway so I took care crossing over and made my way through the forest and onto the hills.
Going up Elrick hill I could see some winter sun in the distance but there was none to be had here, in fact the weather was closing in with rain turning to snow. It was a steep and muddy descent off Elrick so I took no chances and carefully walked down and made my way to Brimmond.
Brimmond is a small hill which overlooks Dyce and Aberdeen, a tarred road is in place for utility vehicles servicing communication towers. It's one mile long and a good little hill work to the top where the saltire flies.
On a good day you overlook Aberdeen to the North Sea but not today. After descending Brimmond I crossed the road and joined forest trails skirting Craibstone Golf Course. It was getting dark and I regretted not taking my head torch. The trails were carved up by mountain bikes which made running treacherous.
I slid in the mud at one section and landed heavily on my wrist face down. I'm not usually prone to slipping or tripping but I seem to be making a habit of it lately.
Right, first thing first. Get up and check if anyone is around to witness the fall. Nope, I'm all alone so pride intact.
Next, make sure the wrist is okay - I can move it without any pain.
Next, check I still have my keys - still in my pocket.
Next, check the phone - still in my pocket and intact.
Off I went, slipping and sliding again, thankful I hadn't been injured. I made my way through Craibstone Agricultural College and on to Forret Brae. I reminisced here as this was my paper round when I was young. I ran familiar routes through Bucksburn and made my way to the Howes Road. It's pitch black now but I'm perfectly comfortable running without a torch as I know the area like the back of my hand. The burn is in spate with the recent rain, noisy and fast flowing by the side of the road. I can just make out something, or things in the dark. There's a mad panic as I disturb three of four deer which splash through the burn and climb the bank on the other side. They scarper from the rude intrusion and disappear over the fields.
I rejoined Bucksburn and made my way back to Dyce, feeling a bit tired and doing a run / walk strategy. I was out of energy and had to pass a Tandoori restaurant on my way. That was torture, I pictured myself walking in and placing an order but I still had three miles to go. The rain came back on heavy, giving me a good soaking before I returned to work and finished the run, thanks a lot!
So first long training run of the year squeezed in during a busy weekend, I'm happy with that but I have a feeling there will be a few more tough runs during January and February.
Saturday 18 miles, Sunday 06 miles. Weekly total 38 miles.