Posted on: 12 Jan 2016

Before I can move on to the nice blank page that is 2016, I need to finish 2015. So........ December. A month much occupied by another (very tenacious) cold, far too much work, the usual Christmas distractions, and not a great deal of running. Shouldn't take too long to document, then.

Wednesday 2 December: an afternoon trot round the Bireggwald, checking out various paths I hadn't been along for a while, and unintentionally 'racing' another runner. Stopping to read a notice on a felled fir tree, stating that it had been cut down and left on purpose by the local council for the good citizens of Luzern to help themselves to branches - an offer that had clearly found many takers, judging by the balding state of the tree - I heard footsteps coming up behind me. A woman, young, fit-looking. Assuming that she would be faster than me, and wanting to avoid that awkward 'running in tandem with a total stranger' situation, I waited a few seconds to let her go by. I found I had misjudged it, however; slowly but surely, I was catching her up. Decision time: do I run slower than I want to, or do I speed up and pass? Opting for the latter, I sprinted past, keeping up the pace for a while until I was comfortably ahead. I do hope she didn't take it as a display of one-upmanship - I just wanted to get home! Ah, the niceties of running etiquette.......... 9.22 kms, 1:18:35.

Tuesday 8 December: having spent the past few days under a thick layer of fog (this tends to be Luzern's default state in winter), we were getting desperate for some sunlight, so spent my free afternoon going in search of it. Actually we didn't have to look very far. I bethought me of Wiesenberg, reached by train to Dallenwil, then that little sardine-can cablecar; and within an hour, we were rising up out of the clammy gloom into the most glorious sunshine and some spectacular views over the 'Nebelmeer' - the 'fog sea' - below and the surrounding mountains.




The walking possibilities were limited (a snowy Stanserhorn in one direction; Wirzweli already in chilly shadow in the other), but that didn't matter. We just walked up and down the same stretch of road and track (which ended at a fence with a sheer drop beyond), climbed a very long flight of steps (twice), trekked across a field to a 'footpath' sign which turned out to be some yellow leaves.......... It was okay - we were out of the fog, and still getting some exercise. On our third and final round of this circuit, it was clear we were going to lose the sun soon, so we headed back towards the cablecar. The nearby restaurant which we had presumed to be closed turned out not to be, so we went in and had something to eat before going down. 6.65 kms......... and a much better mood.

Sunday 13 December: Long run. (Longest since Bielersee's 40 kms in May, in fact. Longer even than the Val de Travers HM, though not quite as hilly.) We got the bus to Würzenbach, walked up to Sonnmatt, mostly via long flights of steps, and started running once we reached the path along the hillside. Past the golf course, down to Adligenswil, and over to the Meggerwald. Not to Wagenmoos this time, but cutting across to the other side, and down the hill to Meggen; then our usual route back past Schloss Meggerhorn, and all the way home along the lake. I was fine until Schwanenplatz, but then it began to feel a bit effortful. The bus was a serious temptation! - but I resisted. Cold, tired, and hungry by the end, with achy knees and back. (The achy knees I expected; the backache was an unwelcome extra, but luckily hasn't recurred.) A memorable incident was seeing a white duck doggedly pursuing a mallard - I suspect the affair was doomed, but if I ever see interestingly piebald ducklings in Meggen, I will know otherwise! Anyway, that was 21.27 kms, and took 2:56:51.

Wednesday 23 December (spot where the cold was - though I didn't miss a single performance, even doing two of them à la goldfish): final pre-Christmas run, sandwiched in between Christmas concert, last-minute shopping, present-wrapping, etc. By then I was feeling like an almost-empty toothpaste tube, with every last scrap squeezed out of it, but the run was actually quite restorative. At an exceedingly gentle pace, and with J for company, it took me up the side of the woods, 2 1/2 times round the fig. of 8, down to the hut, across to the goats and the no. 7 'turnimus', then down to Sternegg, gardens path, Wartegg, Wagner Museum, and home along the lake. 10.57 kms, 1:29:39.

That same evening, coming back from shopping, I succumbed and bought a tree. (It was small and unwanted-looking, and I felt sorry for it!) So having got it home and unearthed decorations from the cellar, I spent a pleasant evening trimming it, and ended up no longer wishing Christmas at the bottom of a very deep sea. Things were looking up!

A. was an absolute star, cooking for 5,000......... though there were in fact only 4 of us on Christmas Eve, and 5 on Christmas Day. J consented to take the car on the first occasion (no Twike any more), but insisted we go there by bike the next day. I wish I liked cycling more, but having only learnt at 50, I'm never going to be the most confident of cycliststs - especially when, as in this case, it involves a journey in the dark. It was okay really, very little traffic, but my hands were still sore from gripping so hard. A round trip of only 9 kms, but it went a small way towards working off some of the Christmas calories.

Back to work on Boxing Day with 'Sweeney Todd' in the evening, but preceded by a run in the afternoon, another 10.57 kms by the lake, including a round of the Ufschötti and 16 rounds on the track. (No attempt at speed, just going round and round.) A lovely sunny day, a springlike 11° - one not to be wasted. I felt sluggish and overfed, but better afterwards for having done it.

Saturday 30 December: an evening visit to the pool, tempted by the promise of 'atmospheric Christmas lighting' (though I can't say I really noticed it. Strings of lights across the windows: was that it?!) I thought it might be busy......... but no, I had my designated aqua jogging lane all to myself (except for J, who shared it with me.) The usual 40 lengths (1 km) in about 58 minutes, plus 4 length cool-down, and a few minutes treating my knees and back to the massage jets in the warm pool. Then home, improbably starving (how was that possible, after all I'd eaten recently?!)

And finally that last run of the year on the afternoon of New Year's Eve, 11.1 rainy kms round the Bireggwald. Met several other soggy runners, all men, all cheerful, exchanging waves and friendly greetings (what a lovely bunch runners are, by and large!) - and the 3 men who paid me that pleasing (if inaccurate) compliment about the deer! Oh, and a teenage couple I inadvertently interrupted in mid-smooch - sorry about that!!! There was a particular purpose to this run; my Garmin total for the year was very close to a nice round figure. I couldn't remember the exact amount I was on, but was sure 11 would do it. And it did: 1,301.64 kms. A long way off the '2,012 in 2012' of 3 years ago, but still.......... a reasonable total. (And it DID include an elevation gain of 32,502 metres.)

'Sweeney Todd' again that evening. On the stage at the end, we raised a glass to the fast-approaching new year.......... and I promise the journey will continue.


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