Okay. Last long run before the Highland Fling. And I kind of hoped it would be the longest one but didn't want to push it - in case my body pushed back! So I rolled out of bed at 10.48am, a bit foggy from my attempts to drink the Nowicki's wine last night. Being a light weight at drinking these days I only really managed a couple of glasses and some Belhaven Beer. Drinking sprees aren't what they used to be.Peter had given me instructions to get him a cup of tea when I woke up so he'd wake up too and we'd be about ready to set off at the same time.
We both enjoyed our adventure round the coast to North Berwick so much last weekend that we were tempted to do the same again, but this time take further detours along the way and try to go coastal from Gullane to NB. As we've singularly failed to recce the route for the Highland Fling or any of the WHW and are now unlikely to before the HF we'll just have to hope the route's a bit like E to NB. Well you never know. If there's sand dunes we're laughing. We'll have got it exactly right.
Anyway. The team had some aches left over from yesterday's 10K but we were largely okay. The weather was looking much more promising than the drizzly day forecast. We were on the road by the crack of 10 to 1....
It turned out to be a really lovely day and were pretty soon in high good spirits running along the beach at Portobello. The sun was warm and the skies were fantastic and there was almost nothing to complain of at all. It was interesting taking a look at the fall-out from the mid-week storms. There were much larger seashells and starfish than you'd normally expect to see - and these sea-worm things that were like aliens and Peter said were all over the Portobello prom last Wednesday night. Amanda sarcastically commented later that there were probably whales and men in scuba suits and red smokers and black smokers, as if we would exaggerate...
There were mounds of rubble along the sea front in parts - a mixture of shells and sea-things and human detritus, particularly plastic bottles.
Going around the lagoons at Musselburgh the skies were looking mighty threatening and I thought we might be in for a drenching - but the wind changed direction and blew it all back over to Fife. A bit further on then who should run up but our friend Amanda out on her last long run before London. She did well to modify her pace to accommodate our leisurely one and we ran for about 6 miles together, catching up on the news.
At Longniddry she took a road inland to run back and finish up her run. We ran on.
Back through the weird forest at Aberlady - which this time was sunny. Then beyond Aberlady, back through the nature reserve where this time we came across toads ...ahem...playing piggy back - and in a most undignified way. We were lucky not to tread on them. Saw another few toads and a kestrel hovering - and some twitchers looked disapprovingly at us - we thought because we looked capable of hooliganism.
This time we took the path that branched left down to the shore - we bypassed this way last time - and we were rewarded by coming across the most beautiful, pristine, deserted beach. The twitchers clearly keep this a secret and we probably should too. It was a delight. We ran for ages through the dunes sometimes helped and sometimes scratched to pieces by that very sharp grass you get in dunes. Eventuallly we rounded the headland to Gullane beach. This time we'd decided to try to get further round the shore rather than going back into Gullane town and getting the road to NB. We met with mixed fortunes. Some of it was very runnable and very nice. Other bits were a bit more tricky and we got scratched up.
Eventually the paths along the headland ran out and we found ourselves at the edge of a golf-course. We didn't want to come into any conflict with anyone, and skirted round the golf course as best we could. Then found ourselves on an immaculate road leading up past a very posh looking golf club at Archerfield. All day we'd felt relaxed and free but being here set us on edge a bit. There were no signs up saying we shouldn't be there but we still felt we shouldn't. We followed a road round to a bizarre town of flawless new-build houses, with expensive cars parked outside - no noise except the tweeting of birds. It looked like Stepford wife territory and I couldn't get out of it fast enough - but by now we'd run over 26 miles and my legs weren't taking me anywhere fast.
We found a bridle path out of there and headed down to Yellowcraigs and then hooked up with the John Muir trust paths that took us along sandy trails at the edge of the beach and golf courses all the way into North Berwick. 30 miles were now showing on the clock and our legs were definitely wobbly.A jog up the road to the station and then..we stopped. I had a strange feeling that I was falling upwards for a while until I got used to not running.
We were a bit cold and tired on the train on the way home and thought that maybe this once we could push the boat out and get a take-away. So pretty soon after we got in we order Lamb Madras and peshwari nans and basmati rice. And then not long after we were eating as much as we could - in fact I have a little more space now and may go and have some more... And we polished off the last of the wine des Nowicki's, and then we looked at all the day's photos on the computer - and now it is now! And we have not done anything else today but pre-run, run and apres-run. What fun.