Saturday, 29 December 2012

High Tide!

Photos taken and "camera-bagged" by PB.

I think I got a bit over-excited with the hill running in the last week and now have a niggle at the back of my right knee. Today's run needed to be flat, and ideally longish. So we drove to North Berwick and ran into the wind to Aberlady on the road and then ran the coastal route with the wind behind us.

The first part of this run is pretty awful really but it has the appeal of arriving at Aberlady shop and getting pain au chocolat and a coffee for the tougher 2nd part of the journey. It rained a couple of times in our faces on the way there. I was hungry having been up for a while. PB not so much.

Turning around was as good as anticipated. Pausing only briefly to take in the  knitted nativity scene (with Christmas mice?) in a shop window in Aberlady.

I think there was a full moon yesterday and today there was a very high tide. We kind of hoped it might be turning and going out again as we went down the coast - but it wasn't, it was coming further in. There is a bit of stony beach with high cliffs that is a bit problematic if the tide is in high and problematic it was today. Also good fun. We just had to accept that our feet. (Our feet up to above our knees) would be getting wet as big rollers came rolling in and there was nowhere for us to escape to. We weren't really in any danger but I was relieved to get round the corner and up onto the top of the cliffs. The next bit after that used to be difficult but someone has cut a wide path through what used to just be thick thorny brush. Along here we met the Marshall family (famous for taking great photos of races) and a little further on Jim Hardie of Carnethy and his wife Jill. They told us they were on corpse-watch, - the beach being littered with bodies after the storms. We had avoided most of the beaches so our death count wasn't as high as usual.

Paddling round the headland through the sea added an 18 minute mile to today's tally so we weren't breaking any speed records. We spent a fair amount of time bush-whacking and getting lost inland - going round the beach is ever so much more straight-forward.

The light was fading fast just as we were getting into North Berwick. We popped into our friend Ben's and made a hole in some fruity bread he'd been making. Him and Peter are heading to the Pentlands tomorrow pre-dawn. Sadly I think it would be unwise for me to go and run more hills until behind my knee (I think it's where my hamstrings attach to the back of the knee, I've had it before on the left leg) gets better so I'll have to stay in bed until after dawn instead.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Annual GH Boxing Day Run

My new look - Hitler in a skort.

I was a bit concerned that it might be too soon for me to be out on Graham's famed Boxing Day Run in the Pentlands. And yet it seemed a bit defeatist to just not go in case I couldn't hack it.

The obvious thing to do was to go along with the thought that if it was too much I could make my own way back to the car.

We had thought we might arrive early for a warm-up before-hand. We actually arrived at 9am on the nose. The radio was beeping as we drove into Morrison's car park. It was a cool, misty day and there was a good-sized helping of Porties already there.

Shortly after we arrived, Michael G. appeared, already running. He was suffering a bit from the ill-effects of the demon drink. I felt somewhat liverish myself from unaccustomed rich food and drink, but not on the same part of the spectrum as MG.

As I settled into the run I started to realise I needn't have worried. Today's run wasn't going to be a race. It was great to be out there. Running uphill is still a challenge but in my head I'm now officially training for the Feel the Burns Hill Race, and if you know what you're working for it doesn't feel so bad. It was generally a very up-beat crew, somewhat noisy. I might have been noisy. I'm not exactly sure.

The map above probably gives a much better account of where we went than I could give you. It was seriously clagged in. So much so that even very familiar parts of the Pentlands seemed unrecognisable. The only reference point we had once we were above the trees and into the clag, at first, was the roar of the bypass. After we'd dipped down the other side and up onto the bigger hills there was no such reference point. (Sheep and heather don't count.) I thought we were a lot nearer the Howe than we actually were, but Graham had taken us up to the dip between Turnhouse and Carnethy. This was about half-way and we stopped for a break. For the second half we ran down Turnhouse and then up around Castle Law and down the other side on the chunky gravel road. Then over some very wet and muddy bog. I didn't recognise it at all but wasn't worried. I could hear the by-pass in the distance. Eventually we dropped down below the cloud again and it was a flattish mile or so back to the car.

12.5 miles for me. Peter ran 12.8 but then he ran his own route! Ruth ran an economical 12.28. Take your pick. I loved it. What a great day out. Better wash I guess. But as Graham pointed out, "You could pay a fortune for that mud at Stobo!" and he's quite right.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Neil's Xmas Run

(B&W photo by Ryan Buchanan, others by PB except the one of me and P which was by Neil.)

Christmas morning and we had an arrangement to meet Peter's brother Neil for a run up and around the seat.
Neil dips in and out of running and right now he is having a running renaissance and his plans for the year to come are proliferating.

His son Ryan and his friend Isaac came out for a walk while we were running.

I was glad to see Neil has the same attitude to talking on the uphills as me - i.e. it can't really be done. Peter kept talking anyway. I wasn't dragging too far behind on the uphills, and although it was hard, I think its getting easier. I got dropped rapidly on the downhills. I'm much more used to this. It's got nothing to do with heart-rate.

It was mild and quite still and the sun even came out a bit. What a nice start to Christmas. We're going round to Neil and Sue's later on for food and drink and Xmas cheer and we're going to take my old dusty guitar because Isaac, who is from Peru, is studying music and the guitar is his main instrument. Should be good.

I'm thinking I'll go on Mad Dog Graham Henry's annual boxing day run tomorrow but with some kind of get-out clause in case it all gets a bit hectic. The first few miles are usually the worst until everyone settles down...