Lateish yesterday we made a decision that since it was forecast to sleet today and for the wind to come from the east what we should do was take the train to North Berwick and run back. We emailed our friend Richard to let him know what we were up to as we knew he was planning a long run today and might have wanted company but he is somewhat inflexible about when lunch time should be (quite often round about the time me and P are just setting out on an adventure ) so we thought it unlikely that he would take us up on it. Still, we were looking out for him all day in case he popped up. We got up as planned and caught the 11.33 to NB, and the day wasn't as bleak as predicted and both of us felt surprisingly positive, if a little cold, as the train pulled out the station and along the backs of houses etc. It was good to be doing something different.
The weather wasn't as grim as promised and there was virtually no wind and as soon as we got going we warmed up. We still hadn't figured out (Peter hadn't figured out) what to do about pacing as our cruising speeds are a bit different. If we try to stick together it often doesn't really work out as its too easy for him and too hard for me, so he chats when I'm having to focus and maybe I become a little grumpy! Anyway, we deferred making a decision. He was free to rock on if he felt the need. First stop was Gullane. We didn't need a stop but it was time to address the issue of eating on the run. Sadly, the Gullane Delicatessen was closed so I didn't have the opportunity to revisit there. Instead we went into the local Scotmid and settled for a packet of 5 chocolate brownies. At first we wondered about how we were going to carry the left over brownies but soon realised this was less of a problem than we'd thought as we were perfectly capable of eating the whole lot then and there.
Since whenever either of us has run through this territory we have run it in the other direction - and usually in a race - we were both pleased to experience it while we were fresh and the running was easy. We saw a lot of things we'd never seen before. Imposing looking ruins covered in ivy and towers and turrets. Coming out this side of Aberlady we stuck to the path parallel to the road rather than on the road and this seems to be much developed now. It was a nice alternative to running along the side of the road in the grit on the camber hoping not to get hit by a car. We weren't sure how long we'd be able to stay off the road here so were delighted to be able to use small off-road trails all the way to Seton Sands.
At Seton Sands I'd promised myself another food stop. On several of the Edinburgh to North Berwick races I've noticed a shop just as you come out of Port Seton that advertises that it sells Orkney fudge and I've always had a hankering to go in and get some. I carry a bias as I grew up there but Orkney fudge is the best there is and I thought it highly likely to prove a good endurance staple. Sadly, all the small shops were shut so we had to settle for another trip to the Co-op (what would we do without it) - this time scoring ourselves a can of Red Rooster (cheap alternative to red bull) and a Snickers bar each. Both went down very easily and we were finding we were really quite good at eating and running. A few years ago this would have been unthinkable for me. I used to get stitches at the drop of a hat. Clearly things have changed.
The Red Rooster gave us a little spur for a while but the aches were decidedly starting to settle in. We went round the beach at Preston Pans and had to run very gingerly on the green-weedy slipway. We continued to skirt round the coast and avoid the roads but by the time we were running into Musselburgh I just wanted to head for home. Haven't run further than 17 miles for probably months and we were moving well beyond this. We got into a slow steady rythm and just chugged away the last few miles. The last highlights were a guy playing "In the Mood" on a squeeze box with a huge grin on his face at Portobello Prom. (We both grinned back in foolish delight) and a nice pink sunset as we headed through the Leith Links on the final stretch home. So. 24 miles if you include the mile we ran up the station to get the train (and I do). Surprisingly we ran it together. It was really pretty pleasant, only the last 5 miles hurt. And what I'd kind of forgotten is that it starts to hurt and then it doesn't get worse and worse and worse, it just stays about the same, and the trick is to know why you're doing it and try to distract yourself as much as possible. So I am very pleased with myself and my weekend. I even washed my bike in the dark last night and then fitted new brakes and levers AND cables AND pumped up my suspension AND oiled my chain. Its a bloody marvel.