Inverness is still under a blanket of white, 22 days after the snow first starting falling on December 19. This is a date imprinted in my short-term memory because it was the last time I was able to run or do any exercise of any kind.
On that fateful day, I was among a group of four running up Craig Dunain. We had set out in driving snow, creating some of the worst conditions I’ve ever run in. Still, we ran on, knowing that the post-exercise tea and toast would taste all the sweeter.
After about 15 minutes I fell heavily on my right knee, like I’ve fallen a hundred times before, but this one really hurt. I was given about 15 seconds of sympathy from my fellow (Scottish) runners until any thoughts of turning back were dispelled by being forever labeled as a ‘soft southern bastard’.
On we went as a quartet. The snow shower eased, we reached the summit and I felt fine. Maybe the fall wasn’t so bad. Just a cut.
On the descent, mild discomfort morphed into pain. On the cycle home, pain became agony. After showering at home, the agony became intense, convincing me I was going to pass out. On the run, we’d joked that I’d probably die of blood poisoning. I convinced myself that I really would.
Some 24 hours later – with the pain ever worsening – I went to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness for an x-ray on the knee, convinced the damn thing was fractured. It wasn’t, just badly bruised.
So that was more than three weeks ago, with no running at all (plenty of hobbling though) – not that I could achieve a great deal on Inverness’s snowy and icy hills and roads. If there was ever a good time to be injured, it’s now, I’ve told myself about a thousand times.