Set off from the Vale, fair thinking Geraldine had said she wanted to run from Balmaha to Rowardennan, or a bit further, then return by the same route to get a 20miler in. Steph was driving and the first I knew the plan had changed was when we turned into the dead end at Drymen. Oh no, I thought not Milngavie and back. No Cashel and back! The Conic hill........Twice! Off we went with a steady pace to the foot of the Conic where common sense prevailed and we walked most of the uphill stretch, pausing for some photos at the top, before setting off down the hill, me leading but soon passed by Steph whose speed on the downhill gives me the heebie jeebies. Will I ever get that fast? Thought the grassy paths looked a better bet than the boulder strewn path. I shouldn't think! Next thing I'm sliding down on my archie. No witnesses as Steph is in front and Geraldine a good bit behind. The evidence supported my claims, mud and blood on my shorts and new Tech tee. Paused at the stile to reform the group then set off again into Balmaha and then onto the lochside. Still going good licks but becoming a bit more circumspect on the uphills. I'm learning already.
Turned at Cashel, but not before deciding that Geraldine's Lucozade bars and my Fairtrade Geo bars taste different somehow........ and not for the better. Slower run back and not looking forward to Conic the second time. The Way is busy by now and I'm getting a bit annoyed by the happy shiny faces saying hello every 50 yards. Remembered Debbie's rant about people not saying hello and acknowledged every one. Geraldine's cheery "Good Morning" was corrected at 1205. Got to the top and Steph again took off. We saw another runner heading for the summit of Conic (what a pity the Way doesn't go all the way to the top - not.) He passed on the way down and I had a few words with him and as he ran away towards Drymen he got another word as I fell headlong down the path. More blood, bruises and a bad word. He heard, and, gent that he is, stopped to inquire after my health. I was fine....... more hurt pride than hurt patella. By this time I'm looking for the finish but Mr Garmin seems to be taking his time ticking off the miles, but eventually we reach the bottom, and set off through the forest towards Drymen. Passed by a middle-aged couple who enquire if this is the way to Conic Hill.......... are they serious? Just out for a stroll and don't have a scooby where they are! Demolish a litre and a half of Ribena at the car and come home for a long cool bath and a comfy seat for the golf. Might give JR's run up Pappert Well a miss tomorrow. Thats 44 miles for the week, the first decent mileage for a while and it will suffice. Mile times for this run show a bit of a change from my normal. Fastest was the last at 10.24 slowest was 26.00 on the climb up Conic on the return. Compared to 16.23 for the mile climbing the first time. Steepness had a lot to do with it! Generally popping them off at 12 - 13 minutes on the flat sections. 4hrs 38. Learned a lot, including how not to refill my Camelbak. No water for last 7 miles!