Most of the snow has gone and there is no longer any excuse not to get out and do some longer runs. I've been out and taken ages but not got far recently - so the last longish run I've done is a 17 miler. I thought it made sense to match this for now and then try to raise it over the next few weeks. Peter ran up the Water of Leith and then back along the canal etc. yesterday and warned me of some very bad icy patches. The sun was beating down today however so I thought that maybe the icy bits would be reduced, and when pressed Peter said the only real problem area was in Colinton Dell and up the muddy cycle path from there.
The ground was fine as far as this. I had to take a detour as the Water of Leith was flooded in parts and I couldn't get along the normal way just after the Dean Bridge so cut up a steep road and then down some very slippery steps back onto the path. The river was very high, presumably with melt water from the Pentlands.
When I got to Colinton Dell I found out what Peter had been complaining about. The sheerest of sheer ice with nothing to hold onto but the odd thorn bush and at times I was in genuine fear that I was going to slide out of control off the path, down the steep bank and into the fat brown torrent of the WOL. I tiptoed down the muddy edges through the dog turds, raked by thorns, glad of anything that gave me traction. It continued much like this up to the 8 mile mark - which is the tunnel on the bike path. Its usually an enjoyable turnaround point as its then downhill but I had to shilly shally in the thick black mud at the edges again getting ever more intimate with the undergrowth, nearly to the canal. At the canal it was possible to pick up the pace again.
And on it went. My legs went from fine to a bit sore to oh I'd rather stop now and my head a-top was bored even though it was a nice day and there was diversion in the blue skies and the iced up canal and the ducks. I have overused this route and will have to expand my repertoire again. I've done this to nearly all the routes I know around Edinburgh.
I still don't know what I'm going to do to get some ultra training in. Maybe just increase my long run by 2 miles every week from now on. I still need to think about eating on the trot. I quite fancy fudge but Scotmid doesn't have any so I've not tried it out yet. My one experience of eating on the run was stopping in Gullane at a delicatessen and eating chocolatey marshmallow cake (it had a name but I can't remember it) and a can of lemonade, and that worked incredibly well, pulling me back from a feeling of aching pointlessness to positively inspired on the last leg to North Berwick.
At least I've made a start and it was great to be out in the sun for so long. I wore shorts and at one point I was too hot. Fantastic.