Having nearly ground to a halt with sore achilles somewhere back in August (in America) I've been avoiding the really steep off road stuff because that was definitely exacerbating it and I've not had any trouble for quite some while. Its a no brainer really - all the books say not to suddenly change what you do - like suddenly increase your mileage or suddenly do tons of hilly off-road stuff - and every year I do the latter. So now I am left a bit ambivalent about it. Roads are easier and they've cured my tendonitis and helped my speed improve...but there's not much atmosphere on a road, except car fumes, Neds etc.
Today, 1st of all I'd thought I'd go for a 16 miler on the roads as I've been sticking 2 miles on my long run each week since Loch Ness and did 14 last Monday. It was a beautiful day, however, and I missed yesterday (see last post) and I had a hankering to get up to the Pentlands as it was still and sunny and bound to be nice. In the end I thought I'd go and do a measure of the high tops and then come back down and do the rest on trails and hopefully strengthen my hilly legs without overworking my tendons. All this swithering had taken a while so I didn't make it up to Flotterstone til 2pm - quite aware that sunset would be about 4.30pm although there'd be ambient light for a while as the sky was clear.
The minute I got out the van I knew I'd done the right thing. That lovely smell of pine in the carpark and the cold fresh air running off the hills.
I'd decided not to brutalise myself so went up Turnhouse running 50 steps and then walking 50 steps on the really steep stuff rather than wrecking my legs right away. As these things are apt to turn out I was at the top of Turnhouse a bit sooner than usual, although it is unusual to have so little wind.
I was very stilted on the downhills and tried to get a bit of a relaxed flow going. I get a bit comfortable on the downhills and then revert very quickly if I don't practice. I went over Carnethy too and then wary of the lowering light dropped down to the white house at the top of the glen. I took the track along to the back of Black Hill where there's a really nice runable path - just downhill enough to make you feel fast. I was really pleased to find a new route from the reservoir about half way along Black Hill, that took me down a little path and through some trees to join up with the path that goes back up to the valley between Harbour Hill and Bell's Hill. From there its down the track onto the road and about another mile to the carpark. Just over 10 miles in all in about 2hrs - the 2nd half being much quicker than the first half.
It was lovely to get out of town and into the hills. Didn't take me long to start talking to sheep!
I put in an entry to be one of the "Lucozade 6" (sugar bombers) to get free entry for the London Marathon plus travelling, plus a swanky hotel, plus a chat with Liz Yelling and some Adidas Kit - oh yeah and plenty Lucozade to drink. Not that I'm going to get to be a member of the L6 (and I have many reservations about it all anyway. Its just my pals Richard and Amanda will be there so I thought it would be fun.) but it clashes directly with the Highland Fling which I've just about got Peter willing to do. What would be better? I really think - if I could do all the training without getting injured, that the Highland Fling would be better.