Me, Anne and Ian Sills went off to Falkland on Saturday for the Scottish Athletics National Trail Championships.
The sky was clear and blue, the sun had his hat on and there was hardly a breath of wind at all! It was a beautiful day.
And, as it was to turn out, it was a beautiful location for the race.
We arrived in Falkland with loads of time. That combined with the fact that none of us had any clue where we were to register etc offered us a great excuse for a wee look round.
I'm sure at some point I must have been to Falkland before - I just cant remember it.
I remember in the 70's my Granny used to read the People's Friend magazine. It always had a painting of some wee village or "landmark" on the cover that was always painted as though the whole of Scotland had been frozen in time in the nineteen thirties - everywhere looked really "nice".
Well .... visiting Falkland is pretty much like stepping into a cover painting from that great journal.
We had enough time to go for as welcome coffee and cake before the race then tootled off to get our numbers. Even the tea shop had a sort of thirties feel about it.
The start was at Falkland House - a beautiful setting. So much so that I did state to Ian that it was a shame we had to race. Wouldn't it have been so much nicer if we'd all agreed, by consent, just to treat it like a big training run and savour the surroundings.
Sadly, twas not to be, once you get that number on your chest it means one thing only - eyeballs out effort - and for all the notice you will be taking of your surroundings you might as well be running down Leith Walk than some tree lined glade!!
I'd taken my trail shoes and my road shoes with me, and after hearing a description of the route and going out for a bit of a recce with Mr Sills opted for the road shoes.
The course was pretty much on well defined forest roads, with the odd marrow grassy path thrown in, but even those were very dry and fairly firm underfoot.
The route, for the men, was two big loops and one little loop (15k). The women did one of each loop (10k).
The first mile was on a tarmaced road and I decided that if I was going to try and make time - that was the time to do it.
For a lot of the race I was "between groups" with some runners ahead of me that I was desperately trying to catch and a few behind me that ia was desperately trying to keep away from.
The course was described by Alex Jackson as "undulating", which, as every runner knows, is a euphemism for "bloody hilly".
The trail roads reminded me of the type of road we have to the back of the cottage, up towards the windfarms.
There was a real sting in the tail when you came out of the woods and back onto the drive UP to the house. The last couple of hundred metres was up a pretty steep climb - not quite as severe, but a bit like the finish at the Black Rock 5. I had nothing left for a sprint finish at all.
Happy with my time of 57:48 and position (4th vet).
Fife AC had laid on a fantastic race. A well organised event, a well set out and marshaled course, great venue and a nice feed at the end.
One I'd happily go back for.