Another long run and I had to figure out where to go this time. The Alloa half marathon was a club championship race so there were no clubbies around to run with. In the end I thought maybe I should just go up the Water of Leith, turn around at the 10 mile mark and come back via the canal, through town etc. for a change of scene. I received some Jabra headphones in the post on Saturday to review, so I thought I could take these out a spin while I was at it. Not the best decision, maybe, as although the right ear-bud fitted snugly and securely the left one kept popping out for some reason. The headphones come with spare ear-buds of different sizes so this problem may well be fixable, but by the time I realised it was going to keep happening I was 3 miles into it and there was no way I was turning back to get other headphones. I had the opportunity to review an armband for an iPhone also but I haven't got an iPhone so I passed the opportunity up. I was really wishing I had a camera phone today. There were lots of good sights but no Peter to take a picture and I didn't want to hang a camera on my waistband as I sometimes do. I've been setting out on my long runs with the intention of holding a decent pace, so no time for fooling around! Or so I hoped. Actually there would have been time for fooling around.
Once I'd given up on my headphones I had to join the world of the other people who were (clogging) making there way up and down the Water of Leith. Either I had a bit of a jaded ear or everyone really was bickering. It wasn't pleasant. I felt crowded and irritated. I know this is why runners go out early and its all my own fault. That doesn't make it any better though! Just before the 8 mile mark, where there is a long and spooky tunnel, I saw what I thought was a large dog standing looking at me. Looking again I realised it was a deer, which hopped effortlessly over the fence and down the steep bank towards the roaring river below. Then another couple of deer came tearing down the (also steep) bank above and straight towards me! I must admit I was scared they were going to crash straight into me and foolishly shouted "Hoy, Hoy" at them. This made them pause for thought, and then they set off down the bank at a different angle, no longer pointing at me. They are hot at down-hilling. Very nimble! This sighting of wildlife worked away in my brain and when I saw a sign on the cycle path (which I must have seen many times but had never thought about before) that pointed the way to Colinton Village, I realised I was quite near to the road that takes you up to Bonaly and into the Pentlands. Instead of continuing this all-to-well-known and rather pedestrian grind through Mothering Sunday-land, I could head up into the hills and be above all this. I vacillated a very little and then was pulling up a steep road, wondering if I was making a big mistake.
The next 2-3 miles were more or less steeply uphill and my average pace withered and died. My only regret though was that I didn't have a camera and as I pulled up above Edinburgh, it was cold but there was a wide blue sky and the Pentlands were sending long blue shadows down towards Arthur's Seat. There was barely anyone around, which was a delight, and I walked and trotted the last few miles of the Pentland Skyline, dropping down into Hillend. There was another shortish rise to Fairmilehead and then a long, long downhill, from 15 miles or so. This maybe should have been easy but I was starting to feel pretty done in, maybe because of the sheer time I'd been out. I saw I was going to hit 20 miles round about South Clerk Street, so I promised myself I could stop there, get something to eat and some change for a bus home. This put a little more spring in my step. When I got to South Clerk Street I had only run 19.5 miles, but I'd been out for 3 and a half hours so I called it a day and went into a shop for a big flapjack and a fizzy drink. As I was tearing into this I thoughtlessly watched the no.7 bus pull in at the bus-stop right in front of me and pull away again. It took a couple of minutes for the cogs to turn over and for me to realise that had been my bus! It being Sunday, there wouldn't be another one along for half an hour so I thought I'd start walking to keep warm. In the end I jogged some, walked some home.
A good day out. Buchanan is dancing around Arthur's Seat in a light-suit for NVA so its on me to do the dishes and get and then cook the dinner. Hell's teeth. But I better get moving, I guess, while I still can.
Oh how I love the weekend. I'm yearning for a time when I have 3 day weekends again. 2 days is a crush.