Mrs Doyle's Garden
Scotland's Other National Sport - what an atmosphere
Miss March 2016
Peter was up and out the house before I even got up this morning. A very unusual occurrence. He was going up North somewhere to run 40 miles with Gnasher apparently. The poor old thing is getting confused between his life and the Beano comic. I wonder what tall tales he will tell me later on. I'm hoping he won't have had too many caffeine gels.
But I had to think of a run for myself. I was drawing a total blank. It's going to be cold and grey. What do you fancy doing?
Then I remembered that I am signed up for the Alloa Half Marathon in 2 weeks time.
What - as the young people say - did I even sign up for that for?
I've run two 11 mile runs recently, but that's been the height of my training. I thought if I ran over-distance today then at least Alloa would be less painful. I remembered that round the lagoons in Musselburgh and back is about 15 miles and thought that seemed like an idea.
If I went out and it was too hellish or I found my mind was more enthusiastic than my body I could always turn back early.
By now I'd been up for 3 hours though - and I was hungry again. I had a kind of intuition that there would be a Double Decker in Peter's "ultra box" which is actually just a box of sweeties he keeps next to some gels in the cupboard in the kitchen. I had seen him packing armfuls of sweeties and tablet into his rucksack last night but he surely hadn't emptied the whole box? Maybe if I was going to run 15 miles it would be all right to have a big long strong black coffee and a Double Decker?
For the second time this morning, my intuition spoke to me. It told me that scientists have shown that a single Double Decker has just the right balance of long-chain fatty acids and glycogen to get the average athlete round the lagoon run. Not only this but a nice big cup of coffee helps release the internal braking system which can get rusted on by working too much and paying too much heed to the morrow. I needed no more convincing. I went through to the kitchen, and there, sure as day, in the cupboard, next to the gels, resplendent in its orange vestments, lay a big fat Double Decker.
What followed is still a bit hazy. I flowed out the door on a towering wave of sugar and caffeine. I had a chat with the postie in the street. I smiled at passers-by. I saw Gavin Brown and Ellie Carr coming back from their morning run. I saw Roly steaming along the prom, doubtless eating up the miles. I saw Kathy Henly - Carnethy defector! - on a bike accompanying the Circa run. Everyone on the prom was my friend. I saw Graeme Dunbar and he shouted things at me from across the street. I've no idea what he said.
The first 5 miles were euphoric.
Then things slowed down a little. Not to worry - those difficult middle miles. I was still laughing to myself and having bouts of the coffee wisdom. I saw that life is a point-to-point, so it is possible to do the whole thing slightly downhill and with the wind behind, if you're clever. Out on the ash path beside the sea wall at the lagoons I thought it would be nice to go for a pee in the bushes and regretted that I was wearing a luminous beacon of a pink top that you could see for miles and miles. Every time I thought the coast was clear someone else would come along on their bike or a bird-watcher with a big lense would swivel it my way. It was a preference rather than a desperate need so I was not worried. I thought that in my pink top I could be a body double for Nicola Duncan. That made me laugh again and I decided to have a photo shoot.
You can see the results above. I'm available for calendars.
An old boy came past and gave me an odd look.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "this isn't the hardest training run I've ever heard about."
No you're right. I rather lost focus in those middle miles.
I had a plan though. I thought when I turned back to run through Musselburgh and onwards home, the wind might be behind me - and I might manage to do that thing where you run hardest when you're tired. I'm sure it says to do that in "Advanced Marathoning".
When I turned around the wind wasn't exactly behind me. I picked it up for a couple of miles - and then dropped it, and then picked it up and then dropped it. By the time I was back on the prom and I had run 12 miles my legs were sore and I didn't feel so friendly any more. I wasn't sure everyone really was my friend. A dung coloured labrador with cynical eyes loped out in front of me on purpose so I'd have to go round it. My legs hurt and I pulled a face and it gave a nasty laugh.
They were all in on it - children on scooters, people on bikes, people in wheel-chairs, tiny little dogs, all doing their best to make it difficult for me. I kept my dignity and didn't let them see I was hurting.
I got past the ex-bowling club and things were less clogged. More time to think about the pains in my legs. Was pain really just weakness leaving my body? This didn't seem likely. I wondered if studies had been done. Can you actually weigh weakness?
Then I thought that (13 miles and counting) this was the furthest I'd run in a long while. I didn't know how long. Wait a minute, I did! Because last time I ran a half marathon was at Haddington. So that's more than 6 months. No wonder it hurt.
I spent the last 2 miles thinking about what I was going to have for lunch.
And now I have had it.
Time for some stretching and a shower and then maybe that pinnacle of all weekend treats, a snooze on the couch......