Posted on: 09 Feb 2016

Oh dear, January did not get off to the best of starts. The first 3 days were okay........! Just a walk on New Year's Day (over to A's again, for another instalment of gluttony), then re-launched the training on Sunday 3rd with a run back to Luzern from Root, where we had gone to visit a little local history museum run by one of J's clients, a documentary film maker. J is building him a 'Blockhouse' - essentially a log cabin - and we went to have a look how that was progressing before we set off. I hadn't wanted to turn up at the museum in running kit, so apart from the shoes was wearing ordinary clothes: jeans, fleece, walking jacket............. Swiss Army thermal undershirt........! I did feel a bit overdressed for a while, but was actually quite glad of my layers later. The route was an old favourite, along the river Reuss and the outer section of the Planetenweg to Rathausen (no stopping for hot chocolate today), and up over the ridge to the Rotsee. By now it was dark, and my stomach was loudly reminding me it had had no lunch, so I called it a day at 13 kms and found a bus stop, leaving J to do the remaining 6 kms on his own. Despite the suboptimal clothing, a reasonable (if slow) outing.

But things went a bit pear-shaped the following week, when a combination of hurting my knee in a staging rehearsal and some very discouraging weather (gales and lashing rain) resulted in several days off. I did manage about 9 kms walking to and from work, but it was the Sunday before I ventured out for another run. The wind had let up, but it was still raining. Squelched through the very soggy woods for an hour and a half, by which time it was getting dark, and steady drizzle had morphed back into heavy rain again. Met a woman walking what I at first assumed to be a very large dog, but which once it came closer turned out to be a very small pony. Nothing else of interest, but 11.7 kms done.

Woke up the next day with ANOTHER cold. More snotting, coughing, not running. Again it was Sunday before I tried again. It had snowed a bit in the preceding week, thawed slightly, and refrozen, so now the thin snow concealed ice in places, and caution was the order of the day. Very strange weather, cold and windy, but with brief spells of sunshine alternating with sudden showers of 'Graupel' - those hard little balls of snow like fine hail. This was a bit painful at times, like being sandblasted! and necessitated running with eyes nearly closed. Not a lot of fun, but 11 kms dutifully achieved.

And then came the work week from hell, with a premiere on the Saturday, all the end rehearsals for that, and music rehearsals for the next piece squeezed into any gaps: not the most promising of scenarios, training-wise. But I fitted in what I could. Tuesday evening, 19th January: not looking forward to turning out in the cold, snowy darkness (-1°)........... but the thought of it was worse than the reality, as it so often is. I headed over to the school track and just went round and round, subjectively trying to keep a constant pace; I guessed it was about 6:30 mins/km, but in fact it was slower. (That snail picture seems more and more appropriate.) Another runner doing the same for a while. Some ice and snow on the track, but not enough to present a real problem. J. joined me on my 16th of 20 laps, then accompanied me home along the lake. 10.34 kms, 1 hr 19.

Thursday 21st January, a short (5.27 km) walk round the woods, early afternoon. Grainy snow/slush along Waldrand, snow/ice higher up. Someone had scraped together enough snow to build a rather sweet snowman by the hut.

Friday 22nd January: with hill training in mind, set off for That Hill, but abandoned this idea after finding conditions in the woods very icy. Just too cold for tittuping along at snail's pace - I needed somewhere I could run properly to keep warm. So made my escape from the Bireggwald and headed over to the Bit of Woodland on the way to Wartegg. There I found the usual path along the side also icy (embarrassing 'Bambi on ice' moment, witnessed by a startled passing couple), but the one over the top had been both gritted and salted, and was pretty well clear. (It was also partly in the sun - bonus!) Completed the round along the icy path a second much more cautious time, then across the bridge to Wartegg, Wagner Museum, along Alpenquai, a round of the Ufschötti park, back along Alpenquai, round the back of the ice rink, Wagner museum again, and home along the lake. 10.54 kms, 1:21:42.

Saturday night was the premiere ('Beatrice & Benedict', Berlioz), followed by the first-night party, so Sunday was never going to be an early start, despite being a completely free day - the first in what felt like forever (but was actually one week.) Early afternoon, we finally settled on Rothenburg as our starting point, hopped on a train, and set off walking in the general direction of Malters. For a walk with so little planning, it actually worked out okay; the first 2 kms and the last 2 were mostly along main roads, but the 6 in between were peaceful enough, narrow country lanes through fields and farmland. It was very gloomy and chilly, but undemanding walking, and we kept up a good pace. Too good, maybe - my knee was hurting with some seriousness by the end. I don't think it relished 10+ kms on asphalt - or maybe it was the cold, damp weather, or after-effects of the recent mishap. But whatever, it still felt good to be out and moving, and spotting little indicators of the year turning towards spring: the first snowdrops; primulas; catkins on the trees.......... Also a pet cemetery; some llamas; and a very unexpected piece of art (at least I presume that's what it was!) in the shape of a toilet seat and lid with a tiger's face on it propped up by the roadside! Just one small dampener: I had been looking forward to one of those excellent pizzas at the restaurant in Malters........... but it was closed. So I had to settle for a hot chocolate and a Nusstorte at the station buffet.

Monday 25th January: a lovely day, clear and sunny, like very early spring, though woods still in 'deep freeze' mode in the shade. Trotted along Waldrand and the 'Tessinerweg', picking my way round the remaining ice. A very loud rustling in the adjoining bushes and something suddenly bursting out onto the path right in front of me nearly made me jump out of my skin, but it was only a very enthusiastic Red Setter, with intentions evidently entirely friendly. Greetings were exchanged, then he made off up the hill, where I could hear his owner calling him, and I trotted on, out of the Bireggwald and over to the Bit of Woodland for a few rounds of the rediscovered hill circuit. Well, I did 3 before succumbing to the temptation of sitting on a convenient sunny bench for a few minutes, enjoying the warmth, the view, the dozens of birds flittering about. I had planned to do a 4th, but found my knee had stiffened up so badly, I left it at 3 and limped home instead. 6.6 kms, 57 minutes.

It continued to hurt for several days. Most discouraging. By Saturday, I had lost patience and went out anyway, combining running with spells of walking. We went along the side of the woods and down to the athletics track at Allmend, where we discovered that recent improvements included a new 'Finnebahn' (wood chippings track) at the other end from where it used to be, and a set of exercise machines. So we did a few rounds of that, interspersed with a few exercises, plus a couple of rounds on the track, then returned home via the Bireggwald again, taking the main track up over the top this time. 12.5 kms, 1 hr 53. And thus ended January, with 96.53 kms clocked.

Well, that was a dull one, even by my standards. I hope to have something a bit more interesting to offer in February............. but don't hold your breath!

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