I love this time of year! The snowdrops all out, crocuses popping up everywhere, primulas starting to appear (colours that always remind me of Dolly Mixtures); birds tuning up for the Big Sing (a blackbird gave me a wonderful concert this evening); sunshine, and lengthening days............ My walk to work has become a pleasure again, the way lined with dangly catkins on the trees. Last week's running has not been high calibre, but I still managed almost 44 kms, which I am quite satisfied with.
Tuesday 10 March: Fitted in a jaunt round the woods at midday, between the morning's rehearsal and a much-needed haircut. A wonderful spring day. As I went up the side of the woods, a pair of Brimstone butterflies flew by in tandem; then a Tortoiseshell. Another Brimstone; celandines higher up. Across Oberrüti (no time for the fig. of 8 today), down to the hut and the middle of the woods; a round of the middle hills, then along the top path of the Vita Parcours to the ponds. Still a bit of ice and snow in particularly shady places, but almost gone. Coltsfoot and those dirty-white tufty plants in flower. (I STILL haven't found out what they're called!) Saw a bird so tiny, it could only have been a goldcrest, though it flew off before I could see it closely. I checked the ponds for signs of life, but it's still too early; also some well-meaning person has dredged some of them out, leaving piles of mud round the sides and probably too little leaf litter etc. at the bottom - I doubt the newts will appreciate this 'home improvement', but I hope they'll be back. On the way down from the ponds, in a hollow bank under some tree roots, a flash of movement caught my eye; I thought at first it was a mouse, but then saw it was a wren. I love them - they're so perky-looking. 6.1 kms, and just over an hour: okay, more of a nature ramble than a serious run, but it all counts!
Wednesday 11 March: Another free morning, so out with the Runningladies again. 25 of us this time! After the warm-up, we split into 2 groups once more, and the 'Espresso' group, led by Ariella today, headed off towards Meggen. Again, though, it soon began to drift apart, with 2 pulling ahead, a third then deciding to catch them up; two others, meanwhile, fell off the back of the group; and the rest of us maintained a core group of 6 in the middle. I think they probably need more than 2 groups, with such numbers and range of ability. (Klara ended up the de facto leader in this middle bunch.) Along the road to Meggen, and then to the castle, a constant but gentle uphill; then a path right down to the edge of the lake. This was very twisty, and consisted mostly of steps, which reminded my knee to put in a word of protest; it had behaved itself quite well up to this point, but grumbled a bit for the rest of the run. Back up again to the castle, where three of us waited for the two stragglers to rejoin us; they decided, however, that they were going to make their own way back to base. The others, meanwhile, had gone on in pursuit of the breakaway three, who were now out of sight. The three of us that were left followed on at a distance. As we ran along a path up a fairly steep hillside, Ariella came back to find out what had happened to the rest of her group, and took us on a short cut that should (and did) end up reuniting us all, except for the two making their own way back. From here it was a fastish but easy canter back down the way we had come. Ariella had just done the Engadin ski marathon the previous Sunday, in a really good time too, and I asked her, wasn't she tired?! She said she was; but you wouldn't have guessed it from the way she was running. She's quite a powerhouse. Her gymnastic past is evident in the warm-up (excellent balance and flexibility), but she was never one of these wispy little featherweights; her strength was her trump card (the vault was her speciality.) I asked her how the Ironman training was going, and she said she enjoyed the variety. Back at the park in Würzenbach, all 25 reunited, (not sure where the other group had been), we did stretching, then I caught the bus home to my second breakfast. 9.15 kms, 1:06:19. Effort-wise, a step up from the previous week; stretched me a bit, but still quite comfortably. Nice to be able to hold my own with several twenty-somethings!
Friday 13 March: not sure what went wrong with this one (maybe the date?!), but it felt like very hard work from the off. I had been planning for a while to go to Otto's in Horw, where I got my last two pairs of Salomon trailshoes, and see if they had any new ones (it's a kind of 'remainder shop' - they have what they have), so I thought we could run there and back, getting them to save the shoes till the next day if necessary. J, however, after a very token run of about 100 metres, decided he was too tired, and walked the rest of the way to Allmend, with me trotting on ahead and back at intervals. It was slow progress, but I was actually not too bothered, as I was not feeling too shiny myself. Reaching the new nature reserve, J. said he didn't feel well, and was going home. I decided to carry on with the original plan, and ran along the canal to the centre of Horw. Otto's was a flop - they had men's Kayanos at a bargain price (if you didn't mind them being lurid orange), but the women's shoes were a very paltry selection, nothing of any use to me, and no Salomons at all. (I did however see a doormat I might go back and get some time!) So back to the nature reserve; tempted to take the shortest way home, but decided no, I would go back into the woods and make something of this outing. Interspersing the running with a few little walking breaks, I made it up to Oberrüti and trundled round the fig. of 8. Despite another lovely day, I somehow felt completely lacking in energy, with a stiffness and heaviness that never wore off, and kept having to talk myself out of possible short-cuts. To cap it all, my knee was hurting again, despite having done so little. I couldn't account for any of it, and felt a bit fed up. Rather relieved to reach 10 kms and feel I could justifiably go home now. It was at this point that the idea of beans on toast popped into my mind......... and suddenly I had a reason to keep running! But 11.26 kms took me a shocking 1 hr 45. I found J. in bed - he woke up just long enough to say hello, then slept for another 7 hours. Well, he had had a very busy and stressful time recently - I think he was just exhausted.
Saturday 14 March: redemption! in the form of a wonderful snow walk on Rigi. Ship to Weggis, walk up to the cablecar station, cablecar to Rigi Kaltbad, and off we went along the Rigi Panoramatrail. This is a former railway line, so the gradients are fairly kind, though the general direction is up on the outward section, and down on the return (elevation difference of just over 200 metres). The condition of the snow (a bit soft and slushy in the sun) made it harder work than this suggests, however. At one point, the path was theoretically closed for a few hundred metres because of the danger of avalanches, but other people seemed to be ignoring the warning, so we did too (just tried to walk a bit faster!) The views were not as spectacular as they might have been (a bit hazy), and in places where the way ran underneath cliffs and cuttings (and even a tunnel!), it was quite chilly - but a lovely walk all the same. Reaching the end of the line at Rigi Scheidegg, we plodded up the curvy road to the village (specifically the restaurant) at the top, relieved to find it open, since one muesli bar between us would have been a poor reward for our effort! and feasted on Älpler Magronen (me) and Rösti (J.), sitting in the sun on the terrace. Not having thought to check what time the last cablecar down was, we hoped it was at 5! - a good incentive to walk a bit faster on the way back. But no problem - even time for a hot chocolate in Rigi Kaltbad. Back down to Weggis, bus to Küssnacht, and train home. 17 kms, and about 3 hrs 20. My knee was hurting a bit towards the end, probably because of the instability of the snow underfoot, but even that couldn't spoil a very enjoyable day.
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