Sunday, 7 March 2010

NB2E, part deux

Another Sunday, another long run. We were thinking about doing something complex somewhere up the WHW with 2 cars to make a point to point run, but we raced yesterday and there's not much weekend left. The thought of getting up early and having a long drive and then a long run and then a long drive home and then getting up at 5 am tomorrow for an early start at work was enough to make me weep. We needed something simpler and less hassle. We decided to get the train to North Berwick again and run back. Scott and Amanda said they would get on the train at Musselburgh and join us.

At the station this morning, just before the train left someone in a Portobello vest came running up the platform waving. At the last minute Moray Paterson had decided that he shouldn't do the Lasswade 10 as he's training for the Paris Marathon - and that he'd be better off with a 24 mile run. So three Porties climbed on the train at Edinburgh and were joined by another 2 at Musselburgh.

I had a fair degree of dread realising that once again I was setting off as the pit pony alongside the race horses and that once more I was letting myself in for a leg and ego mashing.
In North Berwick it was colder than promised, and there was a headwind that was not stiff but was constant. Moray took off at marathon training pace and pretty soon he was gone. The rest of us set off at a pace that was not fast but still left me fearful for the latter stages of the run. Still, it was good to have company and catch up with A and S. Amanda had been having a hip twinge and was worried that her London Marathon training was going to get derailed - but it was turning out to be one of these pains that is present but manageable. Scott had accidentally
drunk a couple of bottles of wine the night before and was expecting it to catch up with him at some point although I never saw any signs that it did. He had promised Amanda as a forfeit that he would do a dance at mile 9.

The team decision was to not stop at Gullane as it was "too soon" so I was hurried past the delicatessen there which was open this time, leaving me with unfinished business...

After Aberlady we took to the sandy path that runs near to the beach which is much more fun and safer than running along the side of the road but takes more out of your legs... By this time I was starting to drift off the back of the other three more and more frequently and I resolved that after our planned stop at the Co-op at Seton Sands that I'd get them to move on ahead at a pace to suit themselves and leave me behind. I actually still felt fine but was certainly not going to be speeding up and it feels completely different running along at your own pace to running along behind folk who are faster than you and feeling hassled because you're holding them back.

At the Co-op Peter and I shared a can of something weird with caffeine in it, and we all had something to eat and drink. As we stood in the grey, windy carpark we couldn't help but notice that there was a car with a pineapple and a bag of soil and a melon split over the top of it. We soon realised that we were right in the middle of something (Some Prestonpans happening) as a young guy came over, looked at the car and then started bouncing melons hard off another car. Amanda was keen that we get moving and get ourselves away from this particular drama as soon as possible, and we were quick to agree, Peter and I having only recently started to recover from a nasty encounter with some teenage girls a couple of weeks back. So we hot-footed it out of there.

In the meantime I'd told Peter that I was going to hang back and he seemed to take some kind of offence at this, making a retaliatory remark that yes I was rather slow today. As it happened I had been running quicker than my other long runs - but it made me reflect that it might be good to hire someone to run with me but a bit slower than me and I could then berate them for being slow to make myself feel better. With that bitter little scenario in my mind we parted company.

I soon started to feel better though - getting into a rythm more dictated by how I was feeling than how fast I should be going or whether other people were waiting on me. I made up a fair amount of ground by just following the road while S, A and P were following the coastal route. Coming into Musselburgh I heard footsteps behiind me and pretty soon another runner drew even. We had a bit of a chat about running which is always good. He was saying he knew he was going slightly faster than me but didn't want to surge past and then slow down as he wanted to keep an even pace. I told him I'd resisted the urge to try and speed up and hold him off when I heard footsteps behind me because I knew I'd pay for it. We had a chat about up and coming events and parted company as he went round the front at Musselburgh and I contiinued on the straightest, most sheltered way. By the Quay-side I'd lopped off so much distance compared to following the coastal route that I was just ahead of the team. S, A and P ran along to the prom and then back again, going at a good rate - and were clearly now getting some good marathon paced training in! Peter came back with me and we made our way home through the last few familiar miles.

My legs felt pretty good to mile 20 and then started to cramp up. My pace dropped considerably about then too. The prom was quite busy as the sun was out by this time and the dodging round dogs, old people, babies on scooters etc. is a painful business on tired and crampy legs.
Then we were home. Then we ate a lot! Average pace was much quicker than our first go at this route 5 or so weeks ago so I'm pleased about that.

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