Some of you may know that I've not been all that well recently. However, the advice from the doctor was to keep up my running. It might even help to cheer me up. Something to do with endorphins.
Last Saturday Joanne and I left the island and headed up to Inverness where I was to take part, the following day, in The Baxters Festival of Running 10k event.
Autumn. Here on Tiree we don't really sense Autumn in the same way as people on the mainland. I think it's because there are no trees on the island we don't see the leaves turning brown and gold. So it was a delight to drive up the A82 on such a lovely sunny afternoon. It made me feel mellow and relaxed.
It was strange being back in this particular campsite. Joanne and I had last been here some 26 years ago!
An early night was followed by a fairly early rise on my part. I wanted to get some nutrition and fluids in me in good time to feel the benefit. The race started from the Royal Academy at 11:00.
It was a cold morning but by about 09:00 the sun was out and I was able to get out of the breeze in the back of our MPV. As you can see from the photograph above I was doing my very best to get relaxed and focused before leaving for my run.
This is the 5th 'event' I've entered since taking up running for fitness, early in 2006. But this was something different. There were over 1,700 runners in my event alone! After the run started it was difficult to pass slower runners and the narrow country lanes and roads which characterized the first two miles made it even more difficult. However, passing people is not a thing I do a lot of in these things so it wasn't really a big issue for me!
I remained focused by listening to a strict 175 beats-per-minute soundtrack on my mp3 player. Until the last mile, that is: I had set things up so that when the music had been playing for 55 minutes (when I would need inspiration) the theme from Rocky would come on.
As soon as it did my stride got longer and I ran past about ten fellow runners before I reigned myself in, reminding myself not to do anything stupid.
It was a great event and, true enough, I did feel the better for having done it. I ran ever inch of the way and never felt in any distress or pain.
After the race Joanne and I came back to the campsite. I went for a shower, we took some pictures to record my completion of the run and went back round to stadium. Then it was up to the city centre for some food, applauding the marathon runners who passed us on the way.
After another early night we woke up feeling refreshed and looking forward to the trip back to Oban. I remember saying to Joanne that as we weren't in a great hurry we would take our time, enjoy the scenery.
About four miles south of Inverness I glanced into my rear view mirror and noted a white pick-up van overtaking me. But there was something weird going on: there seemed to be another van overtaking the van overtaking me.
That was the last thing I was ever to see out of that mirror.
The white pick up van had hit us broadside, badly damaging our MPV from rear to front, driver's side. It may be that the third vehicle forced the white van into us, I can't say. All I know is that I was driving along at 40-45 mph on a clear road when the accident happened.
I nursed the car back to Oban and that's where it is at the moment, undergoing repair.
I didn't spend any time wishing this had never happened. What was the point? It did happen and nothing was going to undo it. If we'd left the campsite 30 seconds earlier or 30 seconds later, who knows?
So, all in all, that was quite a weekend. It was nice to be back in Inverness, particularly when the weather was so agreeable and I needed a 'tonic' in the form of a change of scenery.