Well my friend Amanda had suggested a hill run or two as she's in training for the Pentland Skyline, which led to the realisation that I had not taken my mudclaws out of the muddy plastic bag I stuffed them in the day of the Carnethy 5 Hill race. Had running an all time personal worst by some stretch led to me giving up the hills? Well not consciously. I never thought "to hell with the damn hills". And yet I had never been back. Imagine that, a whole summer without going near the Pentlands.
Anyway, I made my excuses with Amanda. I haven't been near a hill and I've got a damn half marathon to run and if I suddenly go tearing up the hills I'll hurt my achilles, I always do... ...but she had planted a seed. Then last night I got an email from the organiser of the Barry Buddon half (I don't think it was just to me, but you never know) saying that if I wanted to pull out I could do so in the next 48 hours and get a full refund to give people on the waiting list a chance to run. Well I've regretted entering the BB almost since the moment I did enter it. I had some notion it would be fun and then I came to my senses. So this was too good an opportunity to miss. I pulled out. Phew! I really didn't want to run it, wasn't looking forwards to any aspect of it. I wasn't looking forwards to an hour and a half on a coach beforehand, feeling cold, tired, scared and inevitably needing a pee. I wasn't looking forwards to having a slow run and then being sore afterwards for ages. But the one thing I had liked about it was the focus it had been giving my training.
So today when I thought about what I was going to do running-wise, I was at a bit of a loss. Maybe I should put on my mudclaws and go up the Seat? I thought to myself, and that seemed as good an option as any.
I took it easy, it really is the first time I've done off-roady uphill in a long time. The sun was out but there's an autumnal coolness around and I found this helpful. I went up round the back of the crags to start with and was stopped at the top of the crags by a - possibly dutch or german - man who wanted me to take his photograph. I was more than happy to, and took some of the views around while I was there for myself. Then I went up to the top where there was only a modest number of people scattered around. Most unusual for the summer in Edinburgh. The cold wind must be putting people off. I was finding the ascending not wonderful but not terrible either. I went a run down over whinny hill, which is always a buzz as it's undulating so the short hills repay you quite quickly with descents. The run down the far side of Whinny Hill to the road is likewise quick and fun. I carried on running round the road thinking my legs were good and tired and I'd done enough hilliness for one day but then as I was approaching the radical road on the way home, I somehow thought I should do some hill reps. I settled on a pyramid session, plucked out the air and entirely random, of 50, 75,100, 75 and then 50 strides with a recovery on the descent. This was just a bit hellish to start with until I got into it. It meant running up past the same walkers more than once, which is always quite good.
So I'm not thinking about doing the Skyline - not for a moment! But maybe more hills would be nice. Especially as it's getting to be autumn which is a good time for hill running...
The sun was out but it was a bit cloudy and grey today so I've "camera-bagged" my photos beyond all recognition. I call the effect I've created "1970s holiday in Italy".