Well I did get up for the early run with the Portobellos. It was calm and light at 7am and there seemed no reason not to. I think my body thought it was getting up for a race, which is probably just as well. There was a nice band of Porties collecting at the Quayside and at 9am Jenni and Ruth led us out round the shore and then up the Esk. I usually go up to the Pencaitland cycle-path just up on the road - which is not very nice, so it was good to get a new route - continuing through Whitecraigs and then up a road past Smeaton Farm.
I'd like to think I could find it again on my own but I'm not at all sure! On the way out Bob was telling me stories which helped me ignore the fairly stiff hill we were going up. It was a nice quiet road - which was a bonus - and brought us out on the road that the cyclepath starts from, but from a different direction than the one I'm used to taking. I was still running with Bob, Paul and Angus and although I was going much faster than I normally would on my own it seemed just too defeatist to drop back, because I was enjoying the company, so I decided to hang in as long as I could. About half way down the cycle path Keith joined us. Kevin turned back and then Paul Eunson did. We kept going to 10 miles.
At 10 miles I was thinking I didn't want to get dropped yet so I think I put on a spurt. I was soon gathered in again though, by Angus, Paul and Keith and at about 14 miles I started falling off the back of that pack. The distance grew for a while and then I unexpectedly caught up on the downhill, just briefly, at about 16.5 miles. As soon as we were on the flat again however I fell off the back of the train, but I had run so far so much faster than I thought I could that I was well motivated to just try to settle in and run as well as I could to the end. I had a serious drop in pace after 18 miles and nearly tripped over bumps in the pavement, so the cracks were beginning to show, but I was very pleased to finish in 2hrs 50, which according to the Garmin was 8.30 pace.
What a difference having company made, and runners that are nearer (better than but not too much better than) my ability. I may have to do this again.
I feel I should mention Gareth Green, who turned up not really planning to do 20 miles, (he was 3rd in the Conic Hill Race yesterday), but when he realised we were he took a bit of water and a bus pass and did it anyway. Afterwards he shared his prize from yesterday - a tray of jellied sweets! Hill-racing is a low-key affair and the prizes often reflect this. Sounds like he had a great race yesterday - he said it was the most exhilarating race of his life, trying to chase down the guy ahead and not get chased down by the guys behind.
There were lots of nice things to eat on offer after the run. I was trying to avoid the gimlet eye of Kathy "you don't need all those cakes" Henly. I did not badly. I had a jellied sweetie, caramel shortcake from Angus and some heavenly tray-bake from Ruth made of chocolate and peanut butter. I have a spare piece to give to Peter which I'm trying not to eat.
Now I don't know what to do with the rest of the day. I have peaked too soon. Maybe a 2nd breakfast and then a snooze is in order...