It was early in the morning and all through the house.
Not a soul was stirring, not even a mouse.
So, of course I thought – a great time for a bit of running.
Running shoes on, shirt and shorts. Phone strapped to my arm and SPI belt around my waist and away I went.
It was a freezing cold morning after Christmas but before the New Year. I checked my phone and it told me that it was below freezing. It did look beautiful though. There was frost on the ground and the sun was just beginning to make an impression upon the day. I ran straight across Prestwick Road onto the bridge and then turned left along the promenade toward Ayr. The wind blew in from the sea and bit into my right side sharply. I wasn’t yet enjoying this run. It often feels pretty unpleasant when one begins a run, especially when the elements are conspiring against you. However I know that it gets much nicer as the run continues. The muscles warm up, breathing gets much easier and your body temperature increases to a point where the elements just cannot freeze you no matter how hard they try. Nevertheless the first 15 minutes can be pretty harsh. I was wishing I’d brought my long sleeved top. I bought one recently and it does offer much needed protection to my arms against the wind and rain but it’s made for superfit types who want their shirt to cling to their rippling muscles. It clings to me, but for lack of muscles it has to content itself with attaching firmly to my stomach and although I don’t consider myself vain I really don’t want my stomach to be quite such a prominent feature. It is for this reason I tend to wear my long sleeved top only rarely.
I’m running along the promenade gritting my teeth against the cold but simultaneously appreciating the glory of the sea rolling and tumbling about the Ayrshire coast for my delight and delectation. As if to counter this the less than beautiful sight of the docks manifests itself before my eyes. There are many and varied warning signs saying that this bit of the coast is certainly not for public consumption and if you are one of those public folks then you’d better be off with you to go play elsewhere. I take heed of these signs and turn inland.
There’s a bridge and then some twiddly bits through industrial units and around the back of Lidl. This brings me out at the side of the River Ayr which seems to have an urgent appointment with the sea and is surging past at a rate of knots.
I go inland a little more to cross the bridge and pass by the bottom of the Sandgate. I spot some bits of old wall that I haven’t seen before and follow them for a little. It looks like some kind of defensive structure from ye days of yore. I round the bend and there’s a cannon and a bit of writing about Oliver Cromwell. It’s odd that even though I know intellectually that there were many significant events that took place in Scotland during the time we know as the English Civil Wars emotionally I hadn’t really acknowledged it. There’s a little more about the citadel here http://www.scotwars.com/Ayr_citadel.htm I passed on by the cannon (truth to be told, it was rather a puny cannon) and soon found myself back beside the sea. I was now on something called The Lang Scots Mile. It took me along the seafront past the Ayr council building on toward Greenan Castle. I ran down onto the beach and was surprised to find just how hard underfoot it was. The ridges in the sand didn’t give at all and felt solid as concrete sheathed in their white frost. I took a couple of photos there (one of the many benefits of having my phone with me to record my distances is that it means I have the phone camera with me also) of the sand and seaweed and the sun peeping out across the sea wall. I felt the sand ridges were a little uncomfortable to run on so I made my way back to the promenade. This was now filling up with dog walkers many of whom were terribly worried about my safety and at least 3 different people warned me of upcoming ice on the pavements. I wonder if it was from some kind of feeling of camaraderie Some feeling that it was tough out there and we all had to come together somehow to see it through. Whatever the motivation I thought it quite sweet and heart-warming. I turned back before Doonfoot and retraced my steps. I still felt good and would have liked to have gone further but my right hamstring which had been giving me trouble for the past couple of months began to hurt again. I felt I should try be careful with it, lest it tear again and put me out of action. I followed the path along the seeafront to the citadel and then over the bridge and behind Lidl. This time I turned inland from the port, up to the Prestwick Road and then back into the streets for a little while before making my way back to Seaforth Road.
A delightful, if somewhat chilly run.
I mapped it on the app, MapMyRun http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/826951363