Contrary to the lack of updates on here of late, it has been a rather involved time.

I hesitate to call it a ‘busy time’ because that would largely negate the purpose of taking time out to recover.

I was last in Auchterarder in late May 2014 following the piriformitis/sciatica fiasco of the spring before it. Two weeks of intensive physio got everything moving right again and Challenge 2014 was completed successfully when I crossed the finish line of the Chester Marathon during October 2014.

When one is dealing with the more hidden aspect of the mind, a parallel approach needs to be taken to fix things. That can involve training, via education and exercise as well as time out to recuperate and allow for the natural healing processes to take over.

What is rather more difficult is the lack of visible ‘injury’ and similarly the lack of any ‘visible recovery’. A broken leg looks obviously not right, but over time as it heals the improvement is clear to see.

Getting away from home is very difficult for me at the moment. I can find every excuse under the sun to stay put and even as I headed out of the door part of me was wanting to turn around. I understand why I feel this way, but it’s far from helpful!

As last year, I broke my journey north with a stop in Edinburgh to catch up with a friend. This being the first weekend away that didn’t have a bike or running shoes in tow, although to be fair the relevant footwear was in the suitcase, primed and ready! The weekend was very pleasant, with a lot of conversation and the change to walk around the city in reasonable weather.



Come Monday morning and it was time to continue further north for my stay in Auchterarder. Last time I visited the area was awash with roadworks as the council tried to make all its repairs to the roads and infrastructure ahead of the Ryder Cup which was being played at the nearby course of Gleneagles. Despite the sleepy appearance of the area, it was all hands to the pump again in 2015 with the music festival ‘T in the Park’ being staged only a few miles away.

In fact this latter point left me a touch miffed with all the road closures, which went through the exact middle of one of the runs I undertook in 2014! So without further ado, I figured I would get a run around that route as soon as I could, before the stewards tried to turn me back whilst a band I’d never heard of were being paraded on a nearby stage to the acclamation of their fans (who were probably young enough for me to be my kids)!

Bearing in mind last time I was here running was going to be a struggle because it was running-related muscles that I had injured, I figured I should be able to hammer my route. However it does seem to be as tricky as I remember it and whilst I did knock a few minutes off the 6 mile route, I thought I might need oxygen after I’d finished!

I must say it was nice to be back in the area as the countryside is wonderful with the mountains in the near distance and a more gently rolling landscape closer to.Whilst I would be getting some support whilst here, most of the purpose of the visit was to be away from everything that was my ‘normal life’ – so away from the usual sights and sounds and routine as well. And with plenty of un-explored roads up here to run along it would give me plenty of space to consider the weighty matters I need to come to terms with, both from the education and from working through the ‘where from here questions’ which have been with me since everything came to a head in April.



My second run went out away from the festival site, although I spent a lot of it dodging HGVs bringing various bits of stage and performers into the area – not great on country roads but I managed to not get squashed by anyone’s caravan so took that as a positive sign. I followed the signs to Gleneagles, which bizarrely point past where Gleneagles is, and having ended up at the railway station, far beyond it, retraced my steps back home so I could consult the map.

My next trip on foot took me to the hamlet of Dunning, about 5 miles from Auchterarder, a place with a 12 Century church including Commonwealth graves, and a big monument marking the spot where a witch was burned in the 17 Century. Now I must say I was a little worried as I was carrying my mobile phone at the time to record my run route – hopefully that wouldn’t be construed as witchcraft. Although it’s only a 2013 low-end phone so there’s little magic to be seen………

Dunning Church

Dunning Church

Despite feeling a little tired I managed one further run, heading into Gleneagles a different way, only to fail to find the centre of it. On turning around I ended up giving directions away from the festival site to a driver completely boggled by the road signs – I would have anticipated that looking for the main road to a major city would suggest one would not drive up the road that says ‘local traffic only’ – but then I was lost too so I can hardly make a comment on that front.

So after some relaxing, a lot of reading, two massages, a physio appointment, 32 miles run and a lot of puddings later, I feel this week has been beneficial. I’ve not managed to answer any of my own questions that I brought north with me, but then I wasn’t expecting to be suddenly able to do that. But having the space and different scenery has been of benefit.

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