Although the weather in Amsterdam may have cleared sufficiently to allow the remaining team members to join us in Inverness, the Scottish summer seems rather wet as Wednesday morning dawns with more rain. However, the only dry periods over the last two days have been whenever we have done sprint training, and today, before the embargo clamps down, we do a tour of the sprint areas of Forres (individual) and Nairn (sprint relay), so surely the weather must improve!
Monday saw sprint intervals in Dingwall – the first taste of a Scottish small town centre for Tim, Shamus and Laura – narrow alleyways (vennels in the local lingo) leading off the street and hard to spot at speed – and a low-key(?) sprint race organized by the British squad in a complex housing estate in Inverness. Happy faces from all who ran (Tim, Shamus, Lizzie, Laura and Imogene) after that – a good sign and a useful insight into the course setting style around here. In between we ventured down Loch Ness to Achtermarack where Matt had a middle distance session in very typical terrain relevant for the long distance. No sign of Nessie though – only tourists looking for him (her?)!
With Jean’s arrival we were able to go in different directions yesterday. Jean took Laura, Lizzie, Imogene and Shamus to Loch Boath – another example of the vague-ish moraine that is so common here – and gave them tips on how to deal with it. Gene also got to have his delayed run on Monday’s sprint course. Meanwhile, Malcolm, Matt, Renee and Tim had a 6 hour round trip over the moors and hills to Torphantrick on the banks of the River Dee and the venue for the final British middle distance trial a couple of weeks ago – a lovely riverside jumble of contours, complete with taped control sites, inquisitive game keeper (baillie?) and random walkers. To the great amusement of the passengers, on the drive back Malcolm excelled by taking out both a pheasant (walking across the road – I ask you!) and another bird in full flight who took a liking to the windscreen! Fortunately he missed all the sheep scattered along the moorland road! Tuesday finished with a birthday cake for Lizzie – the elder states(wo)man of the team (?) and a long discussion of whether we think WOC should be split into separate forest and urban events.
Today, after our (mapless, no running allowed) visit to Forres and Nairn, we call in at Elgin for another vennel session, and drive past Darnaway (legitimate – on the main road) to sus out the middle distance and relay terrain! Hopefully, it will indeed also stop raining.