Rad Road Reps
Quite a tale to tell, so I'll try and keep it as streamlined as I can. Last night I thought I better do SOMETHING. The 10 miler round Arthur's Seat in the dark and the freezing cold wind didn't appeal at all, so when Peter suggested we do 3 rad road reps instead I went for it. At least it would be different... It was after 7pm and I already wanted my dinner when we headed out into the thin snow, like sand in our faces, and I couldn't really believe I was doing it...but do it I did. I did my rad road reps fairly conservatively. That's a kind way of putting it. But to be fair I couldn't really see where I was putting my feet.
It was grand once it was over and made me enjoy tea all the more. It was only a bit over 7 miles rather than 10 but had been more diverting and it seems peevish to quibble. I could have just NOT gone out after all. The idea behind having done that was that I wouldn't really have to go out today at all. I firmly intended to get on with stuff at home. Do some washing, do my course work, do other stuff, maybe even hoover! So I went to bed with a clear conscience, feeling that running 40 miles for the week wasn't, err, "ultra", but it would do.
Then I had a busy night dreaming. First of all I dreamt that Peter and I were running the WHW race. 50 miles into it I realised that we were only running the Highland Fling. "We've only got 3 miles to go!" I thought, and went to tell Peter but he'd disappeared off somewhere. We'd been running for 11 hours and 22 minutes so I knew that I could actually run the Fling quicker than last time. But where was P? I grew more and more frustrated and enraged as I waited for him to arrive back as people ran past me. Then I woke up.
The next dream I dreamt that I was in a hotel and I was telling a girl there that there were only 3 more miles to run. "I doubt it!" she said - which annoyed me, because I'd run it before and should know if there was 3 miles to go or not. Somehow, though, I couldn't get it together to get out of the hotel and it was getting later and later...soon it was night. We needed somewhere to sleep the night and Jim Bruce of Stornoway Running Club said it was no problem because his aunty owned a huge house with lots of spare bedrooms and we'd be welcome to stay the night. That meant we didn't have to worry about that. He was going to give us a lift to where we were going to set off and run these 3 miles that still needed running. We went out to his car and it was a silver Maserati (I have no idea what a Maserati looks like) and it only had bucket seats in the back so there was no room for us. Still, we were going to squeeze in when I remembered I'd forgotten we had left something back at his aunty's house and went back for it. All the time there was this growing sense of time urgency....
So when I finally did wake up I had an urgency in me about Fling training. Gone was my plan to take it easy and go out on Sunday. "Today we take the train to North Berwick and go all the way round the coast home". I decided. When Peter surfaced he was up for it. He only had quite a short turnaround from breakfast to running up the road to get the train. The wind was sharp as a knife but we knew it should be behind us for most of our journey. I felt surprisingly jolly inside as somehow my mojo had come and found me. It has been missing in action for a long time.
When we got off the nice warm train at North Berwick the wind stabbed into us. A short run into it and down onto the beach and it was behind us and we were better able to appreciate what the wind has been up to. The beach was a changed thing. There were far more stones than there had been, and huge drifts of sand in sinuous patterns and out at sea the waves were towering and crashing in. It was a high energy day. Both of us were high with it. The wind was so strong it was fairly easy to run fast although I didn't want to do too much of this early on. I figured if we went all the long ways we know we could stretch the run out to 27-28 miles which would be significantly better long training than I have managed so far.
Down the coast a few miles (or up the coast I suppose) we saw three runners like us. Runners in lots of clothes with rucksacks. One of whom turned out to be Portobello's Bernie Devoy. So we had a bit of chit-chat for a while although they were much too fast for me. After a while we parted company. They were heading to Aberlady where they had transport.
The sea was pretty far out but not quite far out enough to get down below the rocks in the transition from Gullane to Aberlady Bay so this entailed some quite daring climbing over seaweedy rocks and then dashing across the sand in between the big surging waves.
By Aberlady we were well ready for quelque chose pour manger et pour boire. Today I wasn't taking any chances. I had purchased a thermos thingy for 0.35l and it was filled with coffee and sugar. It is a silver cylinder, a nice looking thing, but I have formed the unfortunate association that it reminds me of the devices in Papillon used to "store" valuables. I'll let someone else tell you...
This unfortunate association has stuck and my new silver thermos whatsit has become known as the charger. But I carry it in my ...rucksack. That's not a euphemism.
It was too cold to hang around for long at Aberlady and it took a good mile to get the feeling in my hands back. I had taken my gloves off and sat on them to keep my bum warm in Aberlady (we were sitting on stone steps, trying to hide from the wind) and also so I could eat.
What to say? The miles went by. The pace slowed, inevitably, still I wasn't the desperate snivelling state I had been a couple of weeks ago. If I felt any pressure to speed up I threw it out. It just wasn't helping. I allowed myself 2 walk breaks. This set Peter off a bit but I did't pay any attention to him. None of his business. I had a 5 minute walk break at 19 miles and another one at 23 miles which coincided with the beginning of the Porty Prom. It was long since dark by then. Peter didn't complain because it gave him a chance to try and take pictures of the lights at night. I realised around then that if I managed the whole 27 (It was clear by then it was going to be 27) then I would have run 67 miles for the week. It has been a long time since I have done that. I certainly didn't do it last year. This, plus the fact I have plodded the last 3 miles back from the bowling club in terrible shape after many a Porty run session made the last few miles seem doable. Finally we were on the Leith Links and then finallier we were home. Peter went over to get a bottle of wine from the Coop and I made my way up the stairs. So that was about an hour ago. You'd think maybe we'd have eaten by now? Nope. Peter is looking at his photos and I am blogging. Get a grip people!
It was a good day though. This is the first time I've had an idiot notion and then the oomph to follow through in quite a while and I am feeling celebratory.
lots more photos will appear on P's blog.