It was a day for lovers of grey and it was a test of character to leave the lucky cat with the wine bottle tops on its ears and the hula dancing lady on top of the fire and go out and embrace the greyness.
Up, out and off to North Berwick. Peter had to work so it was going to be a solo trip. I stuck Underworld on on my ipod and tried to get through the 1st 9 miles without thinking or looking around me much. Round about Prestonpans things started to get better. I had a stop for coffee and white chocolate millionaire's shortcake. The paths get more interesting, going round the shore instead of through town. After Seton Sands things improved a lot and I put the music off. It was actually quite a nice day.
It wasn't just me that thought so either. There were a good few people out and about. Some girl cycling her bike on the beach. I hope it wasn't her new Christmas bike...
But I hadn't set off that early and had to, sadly, miss out the very best bit which is the nature reserve after Aberlady. It was then a race for the train which I thought was at 1654. Fortunately I got there with a couple of minutes to spare. Unfortunately there isn't a 1654 train! So I had half an hour to wait. Some friendly North Berwick people came and started chatting to me about running which passed the time nicely.
Another long run done. About 23.5 miles if you include the run back down from Waverley station to home. My right heel is a bit sore - I think its a shock of transition thing from all that snow running to suddenly road running again, but all in all I didn't feel bad.
We're formulating a vague plan to have a 3 day festival of racing on Jan 1, 2 and 3 to make up for all the racing we've missed because of the snow...but we'll see.
I had to screw up my courage for this run on a number of counts. Firstly getting up before dawn was going to be a struggle. I've been doing most of my running at dusk of late! 2ndly the run was to be lead by Graham Henry Man of Steel, who truly doesn't know his own strength and doesn't really believe anyone else if they run out of steam. 3rdly I was roundly out-classed by Graham, Ricky, Peter and Paul and so was in the unenviable position of being the lanterne rouge and having to try to keep up. I wouldn't have gone except I tend to do a bit better on the hills than on the roads and although there's no speed there my endurance isn't bad. I hoped I could muddle through and fake it and just about managed.
My reasons for going were that I've been enjoying cruising around at my own pace picking my own routes but will eventually bore and fail to challenge myself. And I was sure I'd feel proud of myself should I survive it. So I went.
Up long before the crack of dawn to a chilly, dark morning, reluctantly leaving my dreams behind. I ignored Peter calling for "tea, tea" as I had my own needs to take care of. Porridge and coffee and a wee surf on the net. We'd agreed to leave by 8.20 but were both, I think, secretly impressed when we managed to leave by 8.30 and were in fact the first to arrive at the Morrison's up near Hunter's Tryst.
The others soon arrived and we were off, skating a lot on icy routes to start with. Graham had, incomprehensibly, come in road shoes and was, even more incomprehensibly, apparently having little trouble on the ice. I joked with the others that Graham must be using some Ninja mental powers to help him stick to the ground and Graham later confirmed this. "Aye, its all in the mind." Whatever. He's as fit as anything anyway, and regularly disappeared off into the distance, apparently effortlessly, and then waited good-naturedly with a grin on his face.
I had my eyes fixed on the path so had little sense of where I was much of the time. We popped up at Bonaly, which I recognised, and went round the reservoir, and then somehow were on the path that runs between Bell's Hill and Harbour hill, where there are some trees and a car park. Then we headed up a path I thought I knew but found myself going a different way from usual and arriving at the edge of the reservoir from a different direction from what I was expecting. Oh well.
At this point the lack of grip on Ricky's shoes started to tell, as we skirted around a 30 - 40 degree slope that was sheer ice with a thin covering of snow. Graham used his miraculous powers to float over the top of it. I tried to rescue Ricky but it was too much for his pride. And I couldn't have rescued him for the next quarter of a mile or so, during which time he had to take it really easy to stay upright at all. It gave me a chance to catch up with the others anyway and have a rest.
We then marched up Bell's Hill the hard way and post-holed and tripped down the other side, then up and over Harbour Hill, which was easier going. A last traverse around the bottom of a hill and down a field in deep snow hoping not to trigger any suspicious objects. (I know you shouldn't joke about these things but I might do better with some of those carbon running legs though) and we bottomed out, ran through a woods and were suddenly and surprisingly done. Bravo! 12.95 miles of pure struggle and my legs and hip flexors are very tired and sore from pulling my legs back out of deep snow but I survived and as predicted, am proud.
And another run out in the snow. The temperature was definitely up and things were starting to thaw a bit, making for some patches of pretty deadly ice up t'seat.
I saw Ben Carter out sledging with his girls but didn't have the common wit to take a picture! Another easy 9 miler out today with the odd stop for taking photos takes me up to over 50 miles for the week again, which I'm pleased about. If only my sore left knee doesn't get any worse! Its only sore when I run slowly (which is most of the time) ...oh yeah, and downhill as well.
It could be very icy tomorrow if everything freezes again tonight. Semi-plan to go and meet Graham Henry and Ricky Fraser for their traditional Boxing Day run in the Pentlands tomorrow...God Help me.
Stayed in 'kind of' studying til it was 3pm and I thought if I was going out a run I better get going while it was still light. It was another enchanting transition from day to night and while I only meant to go for a burl round the seat and then get to Scotmid to get the tea before the 5pm rush, I stayed out a bit longer; went up the radical road and then across the hill a bit.
The snow squeaked as my feet bit into it. There was no wind and sounds echoed.
I took about 20 shots of Leith with Fife in the distance, willing my body to stay absolutely still so I could suppress the flash and get a proper shot of all the lights twinkling away into the distance. As I couldn't get that Zen stillness I went for some deliberate camera shake instead.