Sunday, 2 December 2012

Essays, Saturday Run and Peebles XC

Time is getting away from me and I have to merge everything into one blog. Which I don't like. But time is ticking. I've got a big essay to write and I did have until the 12th to do it, but now I need to get it done before I go into hospital next Monday for my "procedure". A few people have said this is lucky because it'll take my mind off it, but it doesn't feel that way. To be honest I would rather just slack a bit. I'm sure I could get an extension but that would just postpone the stress. I'm sure I'll have stuff to do in the future that writing an essay won't improve as well.

So I'm surrounded by piles of papers and books propped open where I want to reference them and screeds of notes and post-its.

Happily the sun came back this weekend. I am not a fan of the horrible grey days we've been getting and then when the sun has come out during the week I've been missing it. I'm working in a gynae clinic Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays so you'll understand the blinds are pulled down and  I don't see the light.

I think my heart knows something is up because its been firing off extra beats. I caught it at it the other day. And yesterday we went out a 10 mile spin around the shore (in the beautiful low winter sun) and my HRM was showing some rather startling readings. I don't know whether to trust it or not but it makes me feel a bit queasy to see it anyway. I wasn't sure a cross-country today was really the right thing to do but then getting out the house and seeing people seemed like a good idea.

Peter had signed up for the Pentlands 7 reservoirs race months ago so he was gong to go to that. Unusually he had to get up and out an hour before me which was a nice change. I got a lift with Andrew Stavert to Tony's house in Portobello where we all decanted into Tony's Prius and drove down to Peebles in that.

The drive down to Peebles was spectacular, with snow on the hills and frozen branches in the trees. The thermometer in the car never got above 1 degree.

I went for a long warm up when we got there. I thought I'd have a look at the finish of the race to see what it was like. What it was like was steep, icy and treacherous and then through thick frozen pitted mud. It was nearly windless and quite warm in the sun but over on the other side of the river it was all in shadow and very cold. I met Stewart Whitlie, Michael Reid and some others coming the other way having recced the whole course. They said the start of the race was very icy too.

The race got started pretty much on time and we were off. A lap of the park was probably the hardest I ran - when everyone's still bunched up together like that you feel you can't take it too easy. As we went along the river side there were some enforced rests however as people slowed down to cope with the sheet ice. A great deal of careful foot placement was needed along this whole stretch. Getting up onto the old railway and  over the bridge to the other bank you could stretch out a bit and then the path up through the woods was delightfully ice free. I passed a few people here, which was pleasing. Again, on the steeper climb in the open field above I found I was passing people. They probably all got me back on the final stretches of bumpy ice so I'm sure it didn't make much difference but it was encouraging to see that all my hillabilities have not deserted me.

There was a turn of a few fields and then we were onto the ground I'd already recced. I found the terrain a bit dicey and chose self-preservation over heroics whenever I was presented with a choice. It was a good run out anyway. The finish had a fog above it from the heated breath of the runners who had already finished.

The demanding but fun course and the beautiful weather seemed to have put people in a good mood, there was a very buoyant atmosphere at the end I thought. Much laughter.

Andrew went into the river to wash his legs off but I resisted the temptation this year. Bill Gauld came and chatted while Andrew was in the river and told me he'd had a great run as he'd just bought some new 9mm spikes yesterday and his footing had been sure all the way. While we were talking a man in a Norham vest had made his way out nearly to the middle of the icy looking river, with the water up to the tops of his thighs. "Are you a heron?" demanded Bill, which made me laugh loudly.

It made me think anew about spikes. He says they're great as long as you don't land on your heel by mistake. (No spikes there so no traction.) Kevin Clark was also tooled up with spikes and likewise endorsed them....

So then a great run home with Tony and Andrew. I arrived home about the same time as Peter. He was 4th in his race and 1st o50 so had prizes. I realised that I had absolutely no idea what happened at the sharp end of our race.

Good game. Better stretch, shower and get back to some reading. Agggh.

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