On motivation

it's just a run

Deep snow

Lately I haven't wanted to run. First I blamed the weather. January and February were cold, windy, and dark. Melting snow made the low paths tough going. Deep soft snow in the hills made for tentative steps into the unknown. Sometimes I could dance across the snowy surface; other times I sank into thigh-deep snow.

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Snow fun in 2021

Some photos from running and sliding in the snowy Pentlands over the last few weeks...

Snow joy

Full of joy at the first snowfall

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Centurion Virtual Challenge

My one remaining race of the year - the North Downs 50 was finally cancelled due to the lockdown in England. In some ways this was a relief. I still hadn't worked out if I was going to run. Travelling to the south of England from Scotland felt like it might be irresponsible. The organisers - Centurion Running instead organised a virtual challenge for the week leading up to the race. I signed up to run 100 miles in the week.

I've run 100 mile weeks before when peak ultra training, but I'm definitely not in that shape at the moment! Here's how it went...

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The Affric Kintail Way

I've been mountain biking a lot this year and loving it. Bikepacking seemed like the perfect way to explore the Affric Kintail Way, a 44 mile trail from Drumnadrochit on Loch Ness to Morvich on the north west coast. Will's sister and her husband are experienced mountain bikers and have done a lot of bikepacking, so they lent us some bags for the bikes and gave us some tips! I'd naively thought we could carry all our gear in backpacks, but Mags and Adam explained that it's best to keep the weight on the bike to save your back and shoulders.

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Cairngorm 4000s

The day we planned to run the Cairngorm 4000s our van broke down in Perth. We spent 5 hours awaiting recovery and made a new plan. Luckily it was the start of a week long holiday and we could be flexible. Even more fortunately, the weather looked excellent for the next day. After many hours of waiting, and a lot of money, the RAC man fixed our van and we got back on the road. We made it as far north as Blair Atholl and found a campsite for the night, with a quick run in the hills to stretch our legs. Early next morning we drove to Glenmore and were back on track. We'd been eyeing up the Cairngorm 4000s route for a while and had become familiar with the map of the route. It's a big loop from Glenmore Lodge, taking in 5 Munros of over 4000 feet: Cairn Gorm, Ben Macdui, Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Braeriach.

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