Enthusiasm for putting a Portobello Ladies' team in the Devil's Burden waned and died this year so I ended up having a free Saturday. Peter was off with the men to Fife. Amanda wanted to go a run. I suggested something hilly so I could be "awesome" for the Carnethy 5 in a couple of weeks. Amanda suggested we run the Carnethy route. That might be taking the law of specificity in training a little too literally but its been long enough since I ran the route that I'd forgotten how harsh it is.
There was a fierce cold wind blowing today but this was off-set by it being nice and bright. We set off across the bog slightly to the right of the race route and found ourselves hurdling tussocks in a bog for 100 yards. Quite an intense start to it all. The wind was trying to shear our faces off. I'd forgotten how much snot its possible to produce in a short amount of time in the hills...
Then we tried to chat in the relative shelter on the stomp through thigh-length heather up to Scald Law. Having been running in the hills recently with runners who prefer roads I had formed too good an opinion of myself as a hill-runner and Amanda broke my heart and tore me limb from limb whilst chatting on this steep ascent. I sobbed and stumbled and tripped my way behind.
At the top of Scald Law it was only just possible to stay on our feet and the sky had turned black. On the run down to South Black Hill the wind was playfully tripping up my left leg with my right leg. Aaaaahhhh! Stop it!!! Then on the next stretch demons sent sleet to blind us and slice at our faces. Again we could barely stand up at the top of South Black Hill. We had to run the next bit blind as the sleet was coming straight for us...but then, when we lost some height, we were back in a relatively sheltered and relaxed world. Some walkers looked at us like we were mad. I am afraid I may have played up to this.
The run down from West Kip to the Howe was the pleasant bit and we managed a bit of chat. Then I saw to my horror Amanda running up the path to Carnethy Hill. Can't we walk this bit? The wind was now at our backs so it was better. I made us go the wrong way. Despite having done the race about 8 or possibly more times I only today realised that the route you go up in the Carnethy is not the standard walker's route.
Summiting Carnethy, again, vertical wasn't an option. Amanda cowered in the lee of the pile of stones up there while I caught up. I would have liked to have taken more photos but also felt I was fighting for my life...AGH flew off down the hill while I made a meal of it. The ground was kind of taxing and my legs were kind of numb! We used the scree which usually isn't an option in the race, but what's the point of practising the odd jumping you have to do through heather on race day? Anyway, I'd stopped to take a picture and Amanda was now about 1000 miles ahead so I had to catch up. Then there was just the short run across extremely wet bog to the end. Huzzah! A stimulating day out. We took off in our separate cars and because the wind had blown my brains straight out my ears at the top of the hill I ended up driving to Penicuik and driving back to Edinburgh in a traffic jam. I didn't mind. There was some musty old program on Bach on the radio which I was enjoying while watching the rain chasing the sun across the sky with the heater blasting on full.
I think tomorrow I am doomed to a "longer run". It needs to happen if we're going to do the Fling, and also I miss eating cake.