It’s amazing the things that creep up on you that seemed like a good idea at the time. My sister in law Judy (who appeared in this blog back in February when we went for a run together in Tighnabruaich at half term) had mentioned the ‘Kyles 10 Miles’ run, which actually finished along the route we ran in February, a while back and I agreed to do it with her. ‘How hard can it be?’ I thought at the time – it wouldn’t be too long after the marathon so my running legs should still be working I thought optimistically.
Around the same time (this was before the “summer”), I also found myself entertaining the idea that we, as a family, should take part in the annual Pedal For Scotland Glasgow to Edinburgh cycle event. Clearly I wasn’t including Holly in this (we love Holly but those of you who know her will understand why) but Jamie was totally up for it. And we had been inspired by my sister Catriona and her family who do this every year with their children, including Nina who did it last year aged 5. This long cycle would also be good training for me as the Skye cycle fast approaches. The fact that it was the day after the 10 mile run was a mere technicality and I gamely signed up for both.
So the first sign that all might not be well was two and a half weeks ago when I popped out for a 10K run to test out the old legs, having barely run all summer. And nearly collapsed. I had to walk half of the way and nearly cried with relief when a neighbour stopped me for a chat towards the end. Cue a frantic, nearly daily panic running schedule to try and remind my legs how to run (and my lungs how to breathe – they weren’t too happy about it I can tell you – they thought they’d retired).
And so to the weekend itself. Poor Jamie had been in school camp all week and had about ten minutes sleep during that time. He and Holly were thrown in the car (Paul’s teeny Fiat 500 – my car was a being dropped in Edinburgh to take us and the bikes back on Sunday) after I got back from my Ayr clinic on Friday evening and we got to Tighnabruaich about 10pm Friday night. But on Saturday morning we awoke to this gorgeous site:
I’m not sure you could pick a nicer spot in nicer weather for a run. The route however was what you might describe as challenging. The first five miles were essentially uphill (past the shinty pitch and golf course before heading round Ardlamont Point then turning back towards Kames) but the views were breathtaking. We finished off with a barbecue at the Kames Hotel before packing everything back in the car and heading back to Glasgow.
And so to Sunday. Having left Holly with Judy, we set off early Sunday morning with our bikes and met Ross (Judy’s husband) at Glasgow Green for the start of Pedal For Scotland. The route had been changed this year (I think because the event is growing year on year – thousands are now taking part) and whereas in previous years I believe much of it went along the canal (and so we believed it to be essentially flat) it had a much more undulating course this year. According to Ross’s Garmin it was 56 miles all in and quite frankly contained many more hills than we were expecting. But despite that we had a really fabulous day. The weather, as on Saturday, was glorious which made a huge difference, and the atmosphere was great. At no time did we have any idea where we were, but the route was lovely and almost entirely closed off to cars which made for a much less stressful cycle.
We did have a few mishaps throughout the day. Paul had a recurring puncture which was eventually fixed by one of the many fabulous staff from Alpine Bikes who seemed to be at every point of the journey, but it meant that for the whole middle section Jamie and I cycled without Ross and Paul. Ross rejoined us at Avonbridge (wherever that is) and we were finally reunited at Linlithgow Palace with Paul after we had been delayed somewhat when I had had to administer some first aid to a fellow cyclist who had gone over his handlebars coming down a hill a bit too fast round a bend. Not sure I was of any use but I was able to confidently let the ambulance crew who arrived know that he was still breathing and essentially “probably OK”. (And not in need of any emergency chemotherapy we were all delighted to hear).
We were also greeted at Linlithgow Palace by our cheering supporters of Judy and all the other children, Holly, Hayley and Fraser who were tremendously good-natured despite the fact we were a number of hours after our ETA. By that time most of the food was finished but we feasted on the leftover cous cous salad and set off on the final stretch. We had a quick drink of water and caramel wafer (Jamie delighted) at Kirkliston where we saw the lovely and still smiling Lee who was doing a sterling job of manning the final station before coming into Edinburgh. The route passed the bottom of Mum and Dads’ house so popped in there too to say hello before the final pedal along the cycle path to Murrayfield Stadium. A really really great day. So proud of Jamie who had never cycled more than 14 miles before. We all collapsed in bed when we got home and there has been quite a lot of involuntary grunting today on all attempts at moving (or indeed sitting). But actually my poor undercarriage was not as bad as expected as I put my old bike seat on the new bike and that made a huge difference (at least for the first 20 miles anyway).
So I feel much more confident now about making it to Skye, although the thought of doing that cycle three days in a row fills me with horror, and clearly they sadly can’t shut all the roads from here to Skye, and it might not be glorious sunshine for the whole three days, but other than that I’m sure it will be fine…….