It was the fortnightly hill running outing last night with my equally mad friends, Super Fit Dave, Steve-the-Camel (because he seems to be able to lope on, and on, and on without ever tiring) and Fabulous Running Potter Rachel. Although a cold night, the wind had dropped and I was looking forward to an uphill and downhill blast. (I’d wisely scoffed a bowl of beany hotpot and rice some two hours before heading out.)
After a little deliberation we decided to head to The Slacks in the Kilpatrick Hills, near Erskine. I think Super-Fit Dave was looking for a Super-Fit workout and certainly he seemed to bounce up the full-on 35-minute ascent. He also ran at least another quarter of the hill looping back many times to encourage those further down to make it to the summit. He’s grand like that!
For the rest of us it was a long, thigh and Achilles tendon-bursting slog. Towards the top Super-Fit Dave waited for me to catch up then said it was only another 5 or 6 minutes to the cairn. Maybe it was just a 5-min jaunt for him, but I swear it took me twice as long. There were more false summits on this stretch than toes on my freezing, waterlogged feet!
But then you get to run down. And this is the bit I really love. It’s mad and quite possibly extremely dangerous, however the adrenaline rush is awesome. The conditions last night were muddy and slippy but for the other three, wearing super-duper orienteering Jalus shoes with ground gripping spikes, this hardly seemed to cause a problem. Fabulous Running Potter Rachel had borrowed a pair and she talks about their wonders on her blog. While my Inov-8s pretty much do the same job I could tell they were not as good as their Jalus shoes. Hmmm. Now I might have to buy a pair, too, so I can descend with the same confidence as they do.
As we descended the final section back to the start we passed a car coming the other way. The look of the woman driver as we ran by, each wearing our super-fabulous orienteering head torches, pretty much said it all. Laughing out loud, shaking her head and raising her eyebrows her expression clearly said: “What the f***!” But do we care? Not one bit. Hill running at night has to be tried to be fully appreciated!