Sunday, 15 May 2016

Lovely Arthur's Seat Run

The Magical Radical Road

Dog Club


Obligatory Selfie

Sandy and Zoe

I thought I heard something in the undergrowth

Last night Buchanan returned home all happy from his fool's errand heroic day out with Graham Nash, Jim Hardie, Steve C and Roly. His eyes looked a bit small and funny and his facial expressions seemed exaggerated and slowed down at the same time. Finally it clicked.
"Have you been drinking?"
"Drinking?" The eyebrows shot up and came down again.
"Well maybe. Just..about...5 pints or something."
OMG. 5 pints. A whole year's worth of drinking in one day.

Anyway he was excited about his day out and it did sound like fun. I got caught up in the excitement and thought that maybe I'd go a run at Gullane tomorrow and then drive me and Peter to Dunbar, where he has a tryst to go surfing with a fellow runner. I thought I'd put on my wetsuit for the first time this year and go and splash about in the shallows.

This morning I woke up and regretted it. Weekend after weekend gets away with too much adventuring. Quite a lot of it is a good thing, but there comes a time when the house is full of dust, everything has gone to hell, I need new pants, that kind of thing. The little details of life are just not getting attended to. I realised I did not want to be rad today. I wanted to be moderate. I wanted to go for a run but not have it take up my whole day and all my energy and to be able to go and do other things afterwards. So I broke the news to Smokey the Bear. He took it quite well. And then I put on my off-road shoes for a change and headed off up Arthur's Seat.

I thought I would just run up to the top via the shortest route, take a burl round Whinny Hill and head home. But when I saw the radical road, it looked so cool and inviting that I changed direction and ran up that way instead. The trick is not to go at the first bit too hard, as the angle gets shallower the higher up you get. It's wonderful running up it when it's still in shadow on a sunny day. I checked my time. It used to be that the rad road took me 6 minutes 10 seconds unless I pushed it, in which case I could do it faster. Today I didn't push it and it was 6 minutes 45 seconds. I am pleased to say I didn't really care. It's not about that. It's about the view over the city and the smell of the gorse at the top when you emerge back out into the sun.

I went up to the top of the Seat after that - on the route that me and P call "the old middle way". I passed an American who said "You're an energetic sort, aren't you?"
I told him it was a lovely day. He said "Yes it is!...Do you mind if I run up with you?"
Why the hell not, I thought to myself. "Yes, Come on then." I said.
"I was only joking." he said, "It's not possible. It's just not possible."
Imagine that. I am rad. Even when I am being moderate.

After that I had a nice sweeping run down to and around Whinny Hill. The grass is short and dry and perfect. It was a treat to be wearing my mudclaws. All my Hokas do a good job of protecting my feet but the mudclaws make you feel in touch with the ground - and confident on the steep downhills.

The gorse was out everywhere. I couldn't be bothered to stop to take pictures but I was thinking that it's just about the definition of happiness. Sunny spring days when the gorse comes out and smells of coconut. The bright yellow against the blue skies. I don't know many things that are better than this. That and shadowy mountain paths on bright sunny days....

Round the corner I met Sandy MacDonald and Zoe. I have not seen Sandy in the flesh for forever. I think the last time was in the Pentlands years ago when he was out walking and unable to run with a bad back. Our virtual worlds are connected however so we're kind of aware of each other. I knew he'd been at Parkrun yesterday and he knew I'm doing the St Magnus Marathon. How funny is that?

Zoe had had a hard time at Parkrun  yesterday because it was the first time she'd run in the heat. She kept telling herself to go faster but couldn't and then felt bad. I tried to tell her you have to go easy on yourself when you're a runner.

And then I ran on home.

I am going up town to get some new pants and maybe even some wider shoes as my feet seem to be spreading. Too much time running on the roads.


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