At sunrise on the 1st December I headed out with two friends, Toby and Andy, to do the run/cycle the 15 mile route around Glen Finglas. Toby planned to cycle, which Andy and I were running. This plan hit the buffers as soon as we head out on the farm track, it was covered in ice, walking without slipping was a problem, let alone cycling or running. It was beautiful though.
|Toby walking his bike on the icy trail, Loch Finglass and the Glen Finglass hills ahead.|
|Andy at the summit of the trail.|
|A picture for shoe geeks - Inov-8 Trailroc 245 + Inov-8 Gaitors worked well in the snow|
A couple of days later the snow fell down in Callander, so I had to head out in the virgin snow for a run the 6 mile Scout Pool loop. I was the first person out on the trails, not the first animal though - plenty of deer and bird prints added the wildness of the day.
|View looking west towards Ben Gulipen and Ben Ledi|
|View south towards Keltie Bridge.|
|View looking from south bank towards the new Bracklin Falls Bridge|
|View looking north from Bracklin Falls Bridge|
|Looking down from the bridge toward the south bank where the early photo was taken|
|Heading north from Bracklin Falls|
|Emerging from the Forest looking North West, Ben Ledi and Stuc a'Chroin in the distance|
|Cross the concrete bridge, looking south towards the Scout Pool|
|View looking north towards Stuc a'Chroin an Ben More.|
|Return leg takes you down the Bracklin Road, here looking South West towards Callander|
A few days into having the snow all the trails that I run on had vehicle tracks and plenty of foot in prints that compressed the snow and with the slight daytime thaw the trails became more and more icy and rutted.
|View looking West towards Ben Ledi with spectacular wave system set up above, trail was awful to run on though.|
|My children had lots of fun making this snowman, but as the week progressed it's waistline become improbably thin, alas the next day he was no more.|
By the second week of December most of the snow had melted in Callander but the all trails had undergone so many cycles of freeze thaw that became treacherous.
|The side to side icy on the Cohallian Wood trail|
|After giving up on the Trails on one run I headed up the Invertrossachs Road to Loch Venchar|
|On my return trip something caught me eye|
|A red squirrel feeding on a tree by the road, they are tiny and sooo CUTE :-)|
In an attempt to make running the trail a little safer I put screws into the bottom of an old pair of Roclite's and tried them out on a run up Ben Gulipen
|Running on Ice? Must have a screw loose!|
|View from Summit of Ben Ledi, just below cloud base|
|Starting descent down Ben Ledi, heading East back towards Callander|
|Footprint in light snow covering over 3cm thick ice, note screws work cutting down to ice but not enough to cut into it.|
After two weeks of running on icy trails the weather finally warmed up enough to start melting the ice, since mid December the local trails have been clear. While I never fell in the all the hours on the ice, I did slip several times and once jarred my back - paradoxically it was the lack of resistance on footfall that caused by back to jar as my core muscle were activated in preparation for the expected landing forces. The constant small slippages and hard uneven trails have also stressed my Achilles and Soleus muscles so am now having to take my training easy while they recover.
On a more positive note, my plantar fascia problems that have plagued my running since August has started to improve - I'm no longer need to hobble around for the first few minutes on getting up each morning, and only tend to find aches from the feet in the first mile if at all.
With Christmas Festivities just round the corner and heavy rain currently falling the tone of December is changing once more. I can't wait till Christmas, I'm sure Santa will be able to deliver a few running goodies :-)