I've been trying to run a 20 miler since Saturday.
Saturday, well, it had been a long hard week and I didn't feel like it. I persuaded myself out by telling myself to be flexible. I could set out on a long run and then if I was hating it or it was going badly I could bail. Bail I did at Prestonpans. As soon as I told myself I was allowed to stop at Prestonpans my little legs went quicker. It was a 10 mile run. You have to ask yourself, if you hate running long this much, why do it. At the station, who should show up but old clubmate Alan Aitchison.
His wife Gillian is getting treated for breast cancer just now. They're going through it. We talked about that and we talked about running and we talked about people from the club who we haven't seen for ages. He did a very good impression of fellow club-mate Graham Henry expressing one of his unbridled truths. " A GARMIN! IF YOU'RE A SHIT RUNNER A GARMIN'S NOT GOING TO HELP YE!"
I went home and put my feet up, read a book and had a snooze. I could revisit long running another day.
The next day it was sunny and beautiful and it was a day for going to Gullane. I had it in the back of my mind that maybe I'd want to run long the next day so I should try and save my legs. I felt perky though and wanted to run harder. Peter had been on a long run the day before and wanted to tell me all the details. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
As we rounded the corner onto Aberlady bay the clouds came in and the things in the distance disappeared and it all got a bit mysterious. It was lovely and warm though.
We came to an orange bush and had a bee off. Whoever gets the best picture of a bee wins. I definitely won. Peter doesn't know how to be quiet and still long enough to let the bees come closer. But I only seemed to get pictures of bee's bottoms.
I tried a pink bush to see if I would have any more luck. It smelled nice. The bees buzzed. It's hard to capture them though.
While all this was going on, some tics came and took advantage. We noticed them because I saw one on my arm - pinged it off and saw that they were playing 5-a-side on Peter's legs. I pinged them all off. There were none on my legs at all. Too leathery.
It was a nice run. I could have run much further than the 6 miles we covered, but I needed to save my legs, and anyway, we had to go to buy a telly.
So I'd hatched a plan for today to get the train to North Queensferry Station. My accrued sense of failure from not doing long runs was finally giving me enough motivation to do one. I figured if I ran straight back from NQ I'd hit 20 miles round about Musselburgh and I could get the train home from there.
I've also been thinking about pace. The advice that I've read many times is that you should run your marathon long runs 60 - 90 seconds slower than you intend to run in the marathon. As I only really want to go sub 4 hours, it occurred to me that I'm pushing too hard. And maybe if I was to stop pushing I would stop hating the whole business so much. I was going to test it out today.
I'd never run from N. Queensferry, and fucked it up immediately by running right down to the bottom of the hill and then having to scramble up the steep grassy bank under the bridge to get up and on it.
It had been forecast to be sunny just until about 10am, and so I figured I'd missed it. Happily it stayed sunny and bright for pretty much the whole run.
The bridge feels surprisingly airy and exposed, and the railing doesn't feel high enough. What if you were to just jump off by accident?
Five miles into it and I was still feeling okay. The birds were singing, it was a lovely day.
I could hear woodpeckers in the Dalmeny woods.
9 miles into it and it occurred to me that if I added in the 'airport run', maybe I could just run home instead of all the way to Musselburgh. This is a 4 and a bit mile loop that is mostly off road,
I was planning to have a stop at the cafe on the Prom at Cramond and have a cake or something and maybe a coffee to lift my spirits for the last 5 or so miles. It was shut though. I'd run past 2 open cafes to get there too. I didn't have any more water but I did happen to have a Coop cherry flapjack in my rucksack, so I ate that carefully. It was pretty dry without a drink, but it was nice and I think it helped. This was at 15.5 miles and I hadn't eaten anything since before I started so I was ready for it.
It was a day for panoramas. There were big skies and fluffy clouds everywhere I went all day.
The last miles felt pretty crap, but I was thinking about the scrambled egg and cheese I was going to eat when I got home, and that kept me cheery. After the prom there were 2 miles of Granton and then I cut up the cycle path. Out of 20.5 miles of running I think only 6 were in traffic. An impressively green day out.
So it was a slow run, slowed down a bit more by going the airport run, but I definitely didn't suffer as much. There was less self-pity in the last couple of miles! But do I really have to do another one next weekend?