The Glens of Antrim are in my DNA. My biological male parent is from the area, and I spent many a summer as a young child there, or travelling along the roads to visit my grandparents.
But I have only been back a handful of times since I left primary school, indeed you could comfortably count my visits on the fingers of one hand, and even then it has only been for funerals.
So what in the name of goodness was I doing there this morning, on a cold, foggy Saturday less than 12 hours after running five miles around the my hometown?
Training for the annual Race Over The Glens on New Years’ Day, that’s what!
It’s a staple in the club calendar, like a rite of passage we all have to go through when joining up. It’s the law. Well, almost.
After last night’s run Parveen declared she was still up for going this morning. I hesitated to commit myself there and then although I knew deep down I would … so it was absolutely no surprise to myself that I was standing in pitch darkness at the side of the road shortly after 7am waiting to be collected.
We made our way along the 20-odd mile route to Glenarrif Forest Park to see one other vehicle in the carpark, it was Aidy who was to be our guide for the morning. We were joined soon after by Deborah, Grace and Kim and after a few minutes chatting we started off running … uphill! It was going to be that sort of a morning!
Thankfully it was very gentle. As this was the first time for most, if not all, of us Aidy gave us certain points to run to before we gathered for further instructions.
It was *very* undulating, some of the climbs seemed well nigh impossible to run up but, to be honest, I’d imagine after a few weeks training I can fully see how they could be tackled head on.
I love sprinting up Princes Street at home and whilst most of what I faced today was just as steep they weren’t as long so you never know what I’d do once I find my mountain legs.
There’s not an awful lot to say about today’s route. I knew where I was but, equally, I also hadn’t a clue! It was full of little trail tracks, but not muddy, so it was quite easy to keep my footing although I did have to impersonate a fighter plane (outstretched arms in full flight) when descending in places but it was fun. Lots of fun. And some more fun.
The Glens are, rightfully so, a world famous tourist attraction for their scenic beauty and, my goodness, some of the views this morning were outstanding. Waterfalls everywhere, mountains sweeping down to the sea in the distance, trees, paths, little bridges and huts … it had it all.
My pictures could never do it justice but, hopefully, you get the idea. At one point Aidy held us back just around a corner before inviting us to go round the bend … and, wow!, what a scene awaited us, another waterfull but an absolutely stunning one. A definite photo op!
I surprised myself by how comfortable I found the running, especially on the back of last night’s efforts. I didn’t push myself unduly but even then I was very pleased with my time. As I said earlier, it was a gentle run but given my pace it has left me quite confident that if I exerted myself on race day and, with the benefit of a couple of months training, that I wouldn’t disgrace myself.
What an absolutely amazing morning, what an experience. Totally exhilarating.
Relive my run