Sunday, 11 February 2018

A Trilogy of Runs

On Friday we went to Gullane. We were late getting out the house and lacking oomph so despite having coffeed up on some no.4. strength beans before leaving, we got more coffee and a scone at the Village Coffee House when we arrived. Peter has a new wetsuit he wants to test out (which seems to be as thick and strong as tissue paper), so we had taken the wetsuits. As soon as we sampled the cutting winds outside the van, however, we cancelled that idea in our heads. The run, once we got going, was exhilarating though. 

I hadn't given much thought to whether I should do the Carnethy Hill Race or not - but the last thing I wanted to do was set myself back, so I decided then I was definitely going to skip it. Almost as soon as I'd made this decision, my legs seemed to feel back to normal, as if I'd secretly been malingering in order to get out of doing the Carnethy. Whatever. The sun was very low, the wind was strong, we were quite high from too much coffee, and we had fun blazing along the beach. We've been trying to master a double jump shadow for some time now but I have real trouble getting off the ground.

I went for another wade in the sea at the end of the run. Peter was so cold he had to gallop up and down the beach so there are no pictures.

So Saturday was the Carnethy Hill Race and Peter was away to do it. I had no idea what to do run-wise so I went out around Granton. I was almost relieved that I still had to stop and stretch a couple of times - that I had not entirely made up my leg troubles. While I was in Granton I was tempted out onto the pier there. You have to watch your feet as there are some big cracks between rocks and the penalty for getting it wrong could be taking a header into the Forth. There was a very fresh wind out on the water though, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Today, again, was an effort to get out the house. We'd kind of thought about going back to Gullane but it seemed like too much hassle, so this time we headed to the Botanics with tempting nuts and meal-worms to charm the birds and squirrels out of the trees. However, we actually had our best nature experience before we got there. We went via Inverleith Park and unwittingly started a three-way war - mallards vs. gulls vs. tufted ducks. There were some crows shouting out from the side-lines but they never got their beaks dirty. The gulls won effortlessly using greater air skillz and better team-work.

Even though we'd packed our duvet jackets the Botanics were just too cold. (Not allowed to run). And I find the Sunday people irritating. Churlish, I know. Churlish as hell. And I don't even have a hangover, and almost never do. People just go about talking and blocking the path. RRRRRAH! Peter had just tempted a very cute squirrel down from the woody heights when we were mobbed by some French enfants, and I had to pretend I didn't want to lob them into the undergrowth. But I did. (Want to, not lob, just for the record.)

So the Botanics are always good, but on a Sunday in early February is not them at their best.

It was good to get home and eat soup and toast.

I better tidy my room and do the dishes.....

Saturday, 10 February 2018

This marathon training.

Marathon training - not going to plan! Not that it ever does or that I even have a plan particularly. I do think if you're going to do a marathon you have to do some long runs in advance, though. 

I've been needing to get a long run in for a couple of weeks but every time I up the mileage my legs protest. Ever since a 2 hour run in my shorts in the snow in the Pentlands I've had pains in my knees and up the sides of my knees. Without knowing much about it, I kind of think that I've irritated my IT bands and possibly the meniscus in my knees from running in the cold. 

By last Tuesday I'd had a couple of failed attempts at getting a long run in - both times having to cut it short to "live to fight another day". But the clock was ticking and my thinking was that if I didn't get a long run in I might as well give up on Manchester. I don't want to give up on Manchester, though. So in a bit of a fierce black mood I set off on a "no-matter-what" long run on Tuesday. Peter decided to come too.

My legs were fine at first but only 2 or so miles in they were already starting to ache. I stopped and stretched and they were good to go again. It wasn't a good sign though. It went on like that. I didn't know if I would be forced to bail or what might happen, but I just couldn't give up unless I had to. Peter started running at a safe distance after his enquiries as to how I was were met with the contempt they deserved. My pace was glacial but I couldn't let myself worry about that. I was settling into a rhythm. I found my legs would start to ache and get worse and worse until I stretched them every 2 miles or so - then they'd be a lot better and slowly start to stiffen up and ache again. It wasn't great but it didn't actually seem to be getting any worse. 

As we approached the Cramond Brig the sun was out and my mood was lifting a bit. This was going to be a slog, but maybe it was do-able. We ran a loop round near the airport - a run that can be nice; through the woods and along the side of the river - but the mud was thick and sticky and atrocious.

Back at Cramond, Peter stopped to commune with the birds, with the aid of some bread. I stopped for as long as I could but it was quite late in the day and although the sun was out the wind was sharp.

By this time we had run 13 miles and although my legs were still giving me trouble there now was really no option other than to finish this run. So I ran another 6 (Peter ran 7) to make a total of 19. Probably one of my slowest all-time long runs but I was very relieved it was done. Hopefully the next one will not feel like that!

At the railway bridge just next to the airport, we had a "burr-off" to see who could get the best picture of a burr. In my opinion I won.

A swarm of geese. Very untidy.

"Take a picture, take a picture there's one on my head!", he shouted. Peter, that was your own hand you were feeling on your head.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Not very long long run.

Peter and I had just been talking about Ben Kemp the other day, and thinking we hadn't seen him in ages and wondering how he was getting on, when, as happens sometimes, he got in touch and wondered if Peter wanted to go for a run. I was invited but I didn't want to go with them. I'm half broken and anyway I needed to at least try to do a long run - the marathon is getting closer and closer and so far the training is a complete fail! My legs have been a lot better, but not great. I had no idea if I could get away with a long run today or not. I thought I'd try for 18. I know a route from North Berwick along the road to Aberlady and then back along the shore which is pretty much 18. I dropped off Peter at Ben's and set off myself.

Leaving the car and not all that keen.

The weather looked a bit iffy this morning and it was raining a bit as we drove to North Berwick. We hoped it would pass. My legs were okay for the first 2 miles and then my knees started to ache. 2 miles into a long run that isn't that encouraging. I kept going until Gullane but by the time I got there they were frankly sore. I got a coffee from the Village Coffee House and drank it in the graveyard, while taking joke photos with the terrible camera on my phone. I hadn't taken a camera with me and I wouldn't normally take a phone but Peter and I had hatched a plan so that he might run back to where I was and get some extra miles in after he'd seen Ben, so we needed a means of communicating. I was cheesed off about my knees, but not all that surprised. The coffee was good and the sun came out and it seemed like a fair idea to try running back from Gullane via the beach and trails. Maybe my legs would be happier with that.



I didn't think for a moment that Peter's plan to meet back up with me would work out or happen. I figured he'd be caught up in whatever he was doing with Ben. However, at Yellowcraigs my phone went off and it was him wondering where I'd got to. He ran back towards me and we met up just round the corner from NB. I had been intermittently running better  but my legs were really stiff. I was glad of something to lean on so I could stretch my quads.

Back at NB I got a wade in the water which is fast becoming one of my favourite things. After that the last little bit of running to the car was the best I'd felt all day. Maybe there's a 10K option on the Manchester marathon weekend? I must have a look and see. Anyway, what will be will be. It was lovely to be out in the sunshine for a change.

Peter kindly tied my laces because I just couldn't.

And there was a pink sky at night.