Saturday, 14 May 2016

How many? Dalmeny 20 miler

what are those funny dark lines? what causes them?


The Matterhorn in the distance

This kind of thing just freaks me out but I thought I should take a photo


I got water off the ice-cream van

Mrs Tilly's belgian chocolate fudge selfie

Porty bus selfie

Porty sun-shine action

not spooky at all

Maybe Peter will take the hint and get me the shirt with the kittens and stars on it

There couldn't have been much more of a contrast between last Saturday and this one. The E2NB race didn't increase my enthusiasm for long-running - and yet I have a marathon in July and the less I do now, the worse it will be.

Peter was off to Arran on some high-jinks with a bunch of guys, so I'd be running alone.
The forecast said it would be a pretty gentle north-westish wind and that it would be sunny in the morning.
It took me a while to get going, but the sky was lovely and blue and the sun looked like it was going to shine all day. And so it did.
I took the train to Dalmeny thinking I could just run the coast. I couldn't quite figure out how far I would get, but it would mean there would be plenty ways to cut it short if I was having a bad time, or refuel if I needed something and it would be easy to get home from Musselburgh or there abouts.

The last couple of times I've run through the Dalmeny estate I've been trying to run "at pace" which means going faster than I want to. Today there was none of that. I relaxed and took it easy. I don't want to do any more damage to my morale...or anything else. The sun kept shining, the air under the trees was cool and the birds kept singing.
There is something magical about getting under those trees.

I found on the train out to Dalmeny station I was trying not to but I was getting irritated by all the people. Someone had facebook notifications on their phone and it kept pinging. Two young guys were sitting across from me and they had those stupid big button ear-rings in and product in their hair. I know, I know! I sound like my dad. Or someone's dad! And one of them was sniffing.
National service, that's what they need! It was a relief to get off the train and get away from them and the fascist commentary running through my head.

In the woods I liked the people better. There were 2 girls on bikes and we kept leap-frogging each other along the route and telling each other it was a nice day.
Emerging along from the Cramond Inn, there was more lovely shade. The wooden stairs are cordoned off with a sign saying they could collapse at any moment. It added a frisson to running up those stairs! They always seem like they're going to collapse at any moment.

At Cramond itself, I was glad to find the ice-cream van sold water. (£1.80 for 500mls. They saw me coming. However it was handy.) I stopped and had some Mrs Tilly's Belgian chocolate fudge. It was delicious. The sky was blue. The sun kept shining.

The middle miles were a bit of a chore. I often run them midweek as part of an interval run, 4 minutes hard, 3 minutes easy. The path is too well-trodden to be interesting. Coming into Leith I was dodging people, which hurt. Coming onto Seafield there were queues of traffic. There was a bit of a road-ragey fight between a Polish guy in a jeep and another guy in an open top sports car. They started beeping their horns and shouting at each other. "Shut the fuck up" I said before I realised that the words had escaped outwards past the mouth portal. I'm going to get myself in trouble one of these days. Nobody heard though.

Porty prom was a melange of small and big dogs, children on various wheeled devices, old people, young people, all criss-crossing. My legs were hurty and I hated them all. For God's sake hold still. It was a relief to fire off the end of the Prom and back out onto the road. At the end of the Prom I'd done 16 and a half miles so I figured I could do a loop round some of Musselburgh and run back to the bus-stop to make 20.

I'm making this sound easy, but by this time it wasn't. My achilles were a-aching. My head was so bored. I found if I ran a bit harder my hips hurt instead of my achilles so I did that. I tried to man up. I tried to say it was only 3 miles but the troops were a bit rebellious and resented this kind of talk. "Don't tell us only 3 miles. We don't want to run 3 miles. It seems like a long way. Why should we do it?"
I could see it was no time to push my luck. I dug deep to find some kind of convincing argument for why the troops aka my achy legs, bored head, and the rest, should keep running.
I could only think of stick, no carrot.
The marathon will be hellish if you don't.
Stewart Whitlie will see on Strava and he will know you are a pussy. (What kind of talk is that???)

I ran into an ex-patient. I've known her since 2001 when I was first a student nurse up at the Royal Ed, and we've always got along well. So that was good. I got a ton of encouragement from her.

Then a woman from my counselling course, Janet, drew alongside on her bike. I haven't seen her for a couple of years and I was hoping she might chat to me for a while. That would take my mind off it. But she backed off saying it seemed like serious stuff and she wouldn't distract me and cycled off before I could find the wherewithal to tell her to stay with me and divert my brain. Maybe cycling along beside a sweaty ex-peer wasn't the boon I thought it was. The world smelled of fried fish and chips. I would happily have eaten fish and chips and sunk a beer in a cool hotel lounge bar.

I told myself that these last few miles, when your legs are burning, and you've lost the will to live, are where the true training starts. That's when you're increasing your strength and stamina. That's the time to dig in. So dig in I did.
I'd been out so long the wind had swung round. I hadn't really noticed the headwind. (More of a breeze) but when I turned back towards Porty at the electric bridge at Musselburgh it was definitely a help.

"Oh we're sore" said my toes. "I think we've got a blister".
"Honestly. be quiet. We're nearly there" I told them. And they piped down.

And then I got a bus home.

The end.


NickWill75 said...

Well done Mary - glad you kept the troops in check. Like the weird fungi, and the shots of the Porty natives on the bench are like something from a nature documentary. Attenborough voice: "And here, we see the Porty devouring its prey. The battered sausage strayed from the safety of the fryer, and was ruthlessly picked off by the Alpha female."

Yak Hunter said...

Thanks Nick! It wasn't an easy sell to the troops.
The Porty natives are relatively tame. One of these days I'll get some kind of armoured vehicle and we can study the denizens of Leith. Now there's a project.