Sunday, 16 June 2013
7 Hills Challenge
Another year - another 7 hills. Looking back over the results I realise I've done this every year since 2004, except 2010. Don't know what happened that year.
I woke up at 5am this morning but managed to doze til 6am and then just had to get out of bed out of boredom.
I'm being stalked by Radiohead at the moment. This is difficult to prove but their songs are playing through my head all the time. Difficult to prove and difficult to police. I felt dubious about what kind of job I was going to make of the 7Hs under the circumstances. Still, I was looking forwards to getting involved in the Porty thing for once and being out and about running with others.
The first few miles went by fine and I was by no means flying but I was enjoying it. The sun beat down and by Craiglockhart I was looking forwards to the scramble up the bank just to get out of the sun and under the trees. I've got newish pair of Nike Pegasus trail shoes and they've got really quite good grips at the toes, so going up the bank was a cinch. (What is a cinch?) 2/3rds of the way up I passed a girl in pink who was really flailing. She'd got to the blankest part of the bank and then frozen I think. Her shoes were pedalling away on the surface but she didn't have her weight over them so they weren't helping her. I decided to effect a rescue. I was near a nice sturdy little sapling so I got a good hold of it and then got her to hold my hand. I thought that would be enough to help her get back on her feet but I think she'd lost it a bit by then. She was now on the slope backwards, with her feet skidding ineffectually under her. I had to be quite stern with her in the end and say "Come on, PUSH, I can't hold onto you forever." At that she shot to her feet and made it to the tree. I felt like Graham Henry.
The march to the top of Craiglockhart was taxing and I was ready for water and raisins by the time I got there. I had a minute and got my breath back and then really enjoyed the descent on pine needles through the trees down the other side. I continued feeling pretty good until after the scramble up the 2nd bank at the Hermitage my legs decided they were now empty. It was a strange feeling, usually something else gives up before my legs. I got them jogging again on the downhills and flats though. The pull up to Arthur's Seat was hard work and my ascent of Arthur's Seat was kind of laughable. I was deeply grateful for the scrambling bits because I could use my arms and give my legs a break.
I was wearing a heart-rate monitor which had been telling me that my heart-rate was pretty high all the way round - usually 165-168. I was enjoying myself and not feeling rotten though, so I just ignored it. At Arthur's Seat however it dropped to 44 and then to 00. That was a bit alarming. I took a moment and took my pulse manually and it was fast but steady which was reassuring. Then I put the damn HRM off.
I enjoyed the descent of Arthur's Seat all the more because a bunch of people who were just ahead of me took the wrong path down. A better person would have called them back but I enjoyed my advantage. As I ran down the Dasses, Radiohead finally broke out of my mouth and I started singing "I'm a Creep!". But then I stopped when I saw a bunch of guys lying chatting on the grass. Pity.
At the palace and the parliament the Race for Life was in full swing so the 7h runners had to dodge in amongst a sea of pink clad walksters.
Then just that last short bit up to the top of Calton Hill and it was all over. I was done in and could hardly face my quiche. The apres race chat was fun though and then we went for a quick drink with the Dundee Injury Twins Michael Geoghegan and Melanie Henderson.
Back at home I discover that not only was today's run a post-op pb. (We expected that) But it was not even a pw. I ran 7 seconds slower in 2005 when I'd run the marathon the weekend before and died a death half way through. So that's a new landmark. My first non pw of 2013. Hurray!
I should mention there was great support all the way round. And at Blackford Hill where there was a sea of HBTs their cries of HBT changed to "Keep going Mary!". I was very touched.
Oh and I should also mention that my excellent friend Amanda was 2nd lady, Porty Ladies won the team prize and Peter took home the prize for 1st older gent.
I don't know what the next race is. Nothing soon I don't think, but this one has left me with a nice warm glow.