I always take my running kit with me on holiday and, because I am married to a man who is very definitely not a morning person, I can often fit a run I before he’s even awake. However, on our recent trip to Skye I had running planned as part of the holiday.
My OH had had some foot pain and had not run for a month so some Helen-pace runs would be perfect for getting him back running again. After 2 days of driving I needed to run so offered him the chance to run out to the lighthouse with me, a route we’d planned to run in the summer but the combination of single-track roads and relatively heavy traffic (for the NW tip of Skye) meant we scrapped the idea. Skye in February is obviously much less busy so it seemed a good idea.
It was a perfect day for a run, fog, strong wind and horizontal drizzle! No chance of seeing the view which meant fewer cars making the trip out to see the lighthouse so we dodged the sheep and potholes and ran, apparently to the edge of the world!
Day 1, run 1. 7.5k 157m of climb. Got wet, felt fab. Earned the post-run hot chocolate.
Day 2 dawned rather brighter but even windier. Time to run the loop I’d used in the summer, steeply down to the harbour, possibly spotting seals, then a very steep climb followed by a steadier descent back to the cottage. Unfortunately the headwind coincided with the long climb and at some points it was hard to make any forward progress! Lovely view though!
On day 3 I had a TrainAsONE threshold run planned, I reckoned I could get to the top of the steep section of my loop before the threshold section so run that part on a relatively flat route. What I had not factored in was that the wind was both much stronger and had swung round a bit. As my watch buzzed to tell me the threshold section should start I turned a corner into the wind….it was like hitting a padded wall…my legs were running but I was not really moving forward! I did as much of the threshold session as I could, until the point where I got blown off the road which seemed a good point at which to turn for home…now I had a 40mph tail wind blowing me down a steep, wet slope…. I managed to stay upright, just! No Pictures!
Day 3, run 3 exactly 5k with 144m of climb, possibly the hardest 5k I’ve ever run. My heart rate says I was sprinting but that’s a measure of the effort not the speed!
The next day was going to be a rest day, just a gentle stroll around another area we’d planned to visit in the summer but hadn’t got to. However my husband asked whether I fancied running rather than walking…what a silly question! It was lovely, a mix of pine-scented forest, gorse and heather covered heath and plenty of mud. The wind had dropped and it was almost not raining!
Day 5 was the day we’d planned to do a long run. Another route we’d planned to do in the summer but we’d been warned that it would be very busy in August so hadn’t gone there. Our plan was to run a loop of Glenbrittle forest and then get to the Oyster Shed in Talisker for lunch afterwards. Off we went, lovely well-maintained forest tracks, awesome views and long, steady climbs. The first 10k were lovely, we were both really enjoying ourselves….then we met the head wind, complete with hail storm (ouch) and got to an area where the trees had recently been felled, the tracks were now muddy and slippery and it was rather bleak for a few kilometres and it stopped being fun! The final couple of kilometres were on the road with views up into the mountains. A welcome change of terrain, the fact that we were going downhill and the thought of lunch meant we started feeling a bit more positive.
Day 5. Run 5. 15.86k 480m of climb. Mostly fun, beautiful views, hail storm and an awesome lunch!
That was the last run of the holiday. I am a softy southerner and it’s rare for my usual runs to have more that 50m of climb, also I have never run on 5 consecutive days! It was a week before my knees stopped complaining when I went up or down stairs!
I think I can safely say we will be going back to Skye…next time we will run that Glenbrittle loop the other way round and see if it’s more fun that way!