Perfect Day is a permanent track on my MP3 and rather ironically it did not come up in the random mix I listened to on my perfect run a week past Sunday.
As it happened, it was my long run day. The forecast was good: chilly, but not too cold, dry and bright with maybe some sunshine if we were lucky. I had set my expectations low; just back after some enforced rest for a shin splint and in catch up mode on the mileage I knew it would slow and potentially a bit of a slog. There was also the possibility that it might end very quickly if my injury started to flare up again. But time is running out and I need to get those miles in.
So we were up and away fairly early to one of our favourite spots for running and walking just north of Callander. A short easy journey and plenty of options for lengthening or shortening my run depending on how things went. Alasdair was going to walk a six mile loop. Alasdair dropped me at Kilmahog before heading to Kingshouse which would be our eventual rendezvous point.
It has been a while since I have run this section of trail from Kilmahog to Strathyre and I had forgotten how lovely it is (except for the additional tarmac that has gone down). I settled into a steady lope on enjoying the quiet and the sound of the river. It was so still, not a breath of wind, just the chill in the air. The conditions were perfect for running. I built up some heat that kept me warm without sweating: warm and dry a tricky combination to achieve.
Loch Lubnaig was like a mill pond with the opposite shore perfectly mirrored on the surface. There was that slightly damp earthy autumnal smell in the air along with the odd hint of wood smoke and there was a scattering of snow on the hills.
I relaxed. My energy was steady, nothing hurt and the miles clicked over as my mind cleared and drifted off into a slightly meditational state. I was not running through lists of things to do nor trying to solve problems: I was simply being. As reached the end of the loch and started to climb up I could see a hint of mist hanging over Strathyre.
I reached Strathyre feeling as if I only run half the distance. I decided to stick with trail and not go onto the road going via Balquhidder opting instead to take the path up through the woods to the forestry track where I met Alasdair surprised to see me so soon. No worries I said, I am only halfway – it’ll take me ages.
But still the comfortable quiet lope continued through the woods and not a soul to be seen. I felt remarkably fresh as I dropped down to Kingshouse, I could keep running all day. Another few miles along towards Lochearnhead and I decided reluctantly that I better turn back. The return to Kingshouse would give me the mileage that I set out to do and there was no point in over doing it and spoiling a perfect day or risk setting back my recovery.
It is memories of days and runs like this that keep us going during the harder runs. It couldn’t get much more perfect. One of those days when everything comes together: not too cold nor too hot, hydration and nutrition spot on and energy levels good; no pain, no niggles; when the pace feels gentler than it is, and whenthe brain calm and full of positivity. A day when you could have run and run.
I am currently running a Crowd Funding campaign to raise support for my Global Odyssey challenge in 2017, in which I will attempt to be the 1st woman to run 7 ultra-marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. If you would like to support this please you can visit my campaign page here