Sunday, 27 March 2011

Jenni's Run

Jenni Owens from club organised this run a while back to celebrate her last long run before the London Marathon. It was to be a 20 miler from Portobello to North Berwick (the new Edinburgh to North Berwick race route) and to end up in a cafe.

There seemed to be a lot of reasons NOT to do this run. It would be

  1. on road
  2. too short
  3. far too early (the clocks went forwards)
  4. everyone's running too damn well and I'm not
  5. and blah - other reasons - I've forgotten

But I wanted to do it too and decided to do my long run in the middle of the week so that if I'd recovered enough there was still a chance I could do it.

Yesterday I was still swithering but then Amanda said she would join in at Musselburgh and I was realising I probably had to try and do some bigger mileage again anyway so why not run with friends?

It still felt awfully early when we rolled out of bed, and I felt too full when I left the house and breakfast was threatening to breach the harbour walls.

To cut a long story short we set off too fast. TOO FAST I thought but I'd expected that and I really didn't want to drop back in a defeatist way so soon so I hung in there. Anyway, having lots of people around was carrying me along and I didn't feel nearly as bad as I expected too. It was great to catch up with Michael Geoghegan and hear his proliferating plans for the Scottish hill racing season to come. It was good to hear that Richard's form is improving rapidly too after a long stretch of much work and low mileage. I was just realising I'd commited the classic schoolboy error of forgetting to eat or drink on a long run when up popped Bert (and Jenni's mum?) with a big bowl of jelly babies and jelly beans and some cups of water. This saved me. Also getting off-road at Longniddry and so letting go of the pace of the road runners also probably saved my skin.

There were just a handful of us going round the beaches from Aberlady so I was pretty soon on my own again with the sea and the sand but I felt pleased every step of the way that it was all going so well. The first 20 miles really just swooshed by. I had to slow down considerable for rocky bits and getting on and off the golf course but made it in just after 1pm so I hadn't even missed out on lunch.

Lunch was a brilliant affair at the Buttercup Cafe - spag. bog. followed by banana bread with the thickest sugary icing. Highly recommended. That was by far the quickest long run I've done in a while. After we got dropped off by Richard we ran a further mile down the road making it just under 27 miles for the day.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Aberlady Chase

Today's run was a nice beachy 12+ miler. Peter ran 40 miles yesterday and Amanda was a bit under the weather so for once I found the pace quite easy for the first mile or two!

I knew it wouldn't last - I'm no fool. Pretty soon Amanda took off along the headland and I stretched out to try to stay in touch. After all the long, conservative running this was both good and terrible. I had some good moments when I was thinking " I can do this! Maybe I'm really fit all of a sudden!", but pretty soon reality caught up with me and I started to toil. Plus the sea grass was so sharp it cut my finger deeply as I brushed my hand against it. The loss of blood was probably a significant factor in my slowing down. Okay, NOT. I was enjoying trying though so kept trying to keep the pace up.

We'd pretty much talked ourselves into getting the special cheese tongues with incorporated sausage that you can get on a Saturday at Falko's, but by the time we rolled in there were but 2 cheese tongues left, so we got them and a pretzel (Thanks Amanda!) and divvied them up between us. All washed down with diet irn bru and some jelly babies for afters...

It seems tomorrow we are going to join the Porty Portobello to North Berwick run in the morning. I better go and do something to my legs or it will be a nightmare. Everyone's going to be fresh and I'm going to be S-L-O-W.

I've done 59 miles this week though. Its going up nicely.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


The mileage needs to go up up up! So to celebrate having a day off work I set off to actually do 30 miles this time. Peter was working so it was to be a solo trip. Just after the garage on seafield road I saw Johnny Lawson again so that was a good omen. (In the green car in the last blog. If you see Johnny Lawson that means you're going to have a good run.) He was on his bike though so I wasn't quick enough to get a photo.

There was a west wind so I set off down the coast again. To make up extra miles I did the less rewarding stretch of the John Muir Way through the post-apocalyptic landscape of the new lagoons. Slaaaag heaps! Then onto the Pans. A pigeon with no head lay on the weedy stones next to a pile of dog crap. The Damien Hirst in me wanted to take a photograph but I didn't.

As I went further it got nicer again. It was supposed to be a bit sunny today but it wasn't at all. It was warm and quite close and the colours were subtle. The tide was right in by the time I was rounding the headland to Gullane so I headed inland. It gets a bit tricky between there and Yellowcraigs if there's no beach. I did from Gullane to Archerfield back on the road and then back down to Yellowcraigs and got to the end of the golf course having covered a bit more than 27 miles. Once again the thought of trying to make up distance on small North Berwick streets was unappealing so I went to the Co-op instead for a chocolate twist and a can of Coke and walked up the hill to the train station.

At the station the train was going to be another 20 mins so I went for a jog up the road and back to take me a bit over 28 miles. I had satisfied myself with this but on the train on the way home I started devising a longer route from the train station that would take around another 2 miles. Last time Peter and I got off the train we initially felt terrible and then started to feel alright again and had found it easy to run home. So I came out of Waverley in the wrong direction and headed up Regent Road and then back down Royal Terrace, onto Leith Walk and down to the Scotmid. At the Scotmid I had .14 of a mile to go so I ran past it and then turned back on myself. YES! 30.06 miles. Job done.

I should probably be running 10 tomorrow but we'll worry about that tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

On the Catwalk

Yesterday I hid the horrible truth from myself, but today it had to be faced. Despite running 27 miles yesterday my mileage for the week was only sitting at 41 miles and I had really wanted to do 55 - 60 miles, so the minimum acceptable seemed to be over the 50 mark... I had 9 miles still to run today.

Woke up stiff-legged, inflexible, hungry. Tried to think what might be nice to do. How about a little hilliness? Nice and soft underfoot. I decided on the extended Red Moss Revolution route, where instead of turning left onto Hare Hill from the Drove Road, you carry on up to the top of one of the Kips (take your pick, today I chose West) and then run down to the Howe, along the track towards Balerno then re-join the Red Moss route between Hare Hill and Black Hill. Incomprehensibly Peter came too, despite already being tired and having the Alloa half tomorrow. I wasn't complaining, it was a lot easier having company.

It was chilly and grey but I was happy to be in the hills again - suddenly realising I hadn't done any since Carnethy. (And at Carnethy I couldn't hear and I couldn't breathe. I might as well of had a glass bowl of snot over my head.) I was utterly, hopelessly rubbish on the downhills and vowed to come back and repair some of my lost abilities.

By the time we got back to the van at Red Moss Car park we'd only run 8 miles so we made up the difference running round the man-made board walk thing that runs over the...well its probably the red moss...I've never stopped to read the explanatory boards... It is brilliant running, really good fun. A couple of laps made up the extra mile and then we had a race (I had a good head start) back to the car park, which I won by the skin of my teeth.