The Romans have a lot to answer for.  October would be the eight month its name implies but for those dafties Julius and Augustus coming along and rearranging the calendar.  And what have they ever done for us anyway?

A change of pace this week; I got a lift to the run!  Well, after getting a bus.  No railway station until afterward.

Route description
A small loop and two big ones along part of the Loch Leven Heritage Trail.

Course profile
Fairly flat, with a small yet significant enough slope to negotiate on each lap; does mean a fast downhill right towards the end.

Underfoot
Easily runnable trail all the way round.

Shoes
Road shoes.

Difficulty
2/6.  It’s really just that slight climb, combined with one sharp and fairly narrow 90 degree turn that might slow you down.  You’re going uphill at that point anyway, so *might* is the key word!

Course
A short loop, then two full laps all clockwise.  The Larder’s at the top right, and the loch itself bottom left. (offscreen)

It was the coldest morning of the autumn by far as we rocked up to Loch Leven’s Larder.  We turned up in plenty time for me to support the local economy with the purchase of some fine dinosaur socks, and to eventually jog the short (and long, as it turned out) distance round to the start line.

Start we did, after a first timers’ brief illuminating us on the course particulars above – we’d been thorough in our preparations and had no idea what to expect!  We plonked ourselves at the front – it was a small field (number or runners, that is) – and right next to a fellow 2017 Chicago marathoner!  Small world too, as it turns out.

‘Small world’ changed to ‘large gap’ as Chicago, my chauffeur – let’s call him ‘Mark’ – and another guy went zipping off into the distance as early as the start of the first Big Loop.  I’d gone out quickly, a 3:46 first km, but that was no match this day.

I had to make do with watching the battle at the front as I ran completely on my own for the entire distance.  ‘Mark’ went from third, to second to first on the opening lap, only for Chicago to come back strong and shoot off into the distance…Other Guy made a surprising recovery to steal second place when I was sure he’d gone off too fast.  Evidently just pacing himself!

I was pacing myself too, if by pacing I mean progressively getting slower.  It wasn’t too bad in fairness, a 3:57 and 4:01 followed for 2 & 3.  I actually got back to 3:57 for the net downhill 4th km and thought I had sub 20 sorted…remember never to trust a GPS watch!  Came in at 20:01, and in truth could have gone a little quicker if I hadn’t been a little cocky.  Disaster!

So fourth it is, with obligatory coffee and carrot cake enjoyed in one of the two cafes at the Larder.  No trouble paying by card here in case you were wondering, and if you weren’t.

My arms and hands were frozen, the course was tougher than I expected – as Doug and Craig in their excellent video agree with – but it could well be one to give another crack in the future.  It’ll depend how much that 20:01 bugs me!

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