I have some annual leave that needs to be used before the end of next month, so with the opportunity to offload my student for the day, I took today off. I let my alarm go off at its usual time and after snoozing it just twice I got up and prepared for a long run. My goal was 9+ miles, so I started with a local 1.5 mile loop then headed out on a favourite long run route that takes in the Kelvingrove Park, the Kelvin Walkway and the Forth & Clyde Canal. I’ve posted many photos of this particular route over the past year so I didn’t bother to take my phone with me today.
What. A. Mistake.
As I was making breakfast fog had settled across the West End but there were hints of a lovely day behind the cloud. By the time I reached the Kelvin Walkway the fog was lifting and the sun was shining. As I reached the canal I discovered that it was still frozen! A wee squirrel even ran from one bank to the other across the top 🙂 . In the park and along the Kelvin Walkway there were still some patches of snow and ice on the verges but the well trodden paths were clear. The towpath however had long stretches that were still covered in ice, though it was starting to break up so passable and I was only reduced to a walk in a few patches.
It was all so beautiful with the winter sun shining on the frozen canal, the icy paths, and the red sandstone tenements. Such perfect conditions that the run took care of itself. I felt really strong the whole way and even in the places that I normally find my pace dropping off, I held close to 10:30 minutes/mile – significantly faster than most of my long runs last year. Back on the pavements and with a mostly downhill two miles home I even managed to lift my pace to 10:00 minutes/mile.
I’m really pleased to find myself, at the beginning of February, able to cover 10 miles at that pace and feel great at the end of it. It is making me braver as I plan my races for 2015!