Trying to think back a whole week highlights something; I'm in a bit of a dream most of the time at the moment, and the memories aren't sharp...
Then an aha moment! I have no photos from last Monday, but the memories are of a very sharp day indeed. It was a sharp, cold and bright day. We had arranged to meet up with Michael G and Nick W for a run. We drove out to Gullane together. I knew this was going to be an ask for my sorry self after a race on Saturday, and a longer run on the Sunday. I did my best to hang in at the back of the pack. I heard some of the chat, although I couldn't contribute. Because it was an intense effort for me and I had to concentrate, it seemed to pass very quickly. Before I knew it we were back at the van and driving home. Nick had to go but Michael came and drank cups of tea and got us back up to speed with his life. Peter has photos. It was a lovely day.
During our natter with Michael, he had somehow persuaded us, or we somehow persuaded ourselves, to go and run the Christmas Park Run the next morning. On paper it looked like it could be okay - cold but not icy and not too much wind. In the morning when it finally began to get a bit light, however, the "light" was a leaden grey and the air felt cold and damp.
Apparently there was a record number of people there for the run. You wouldn't know it to see my photos. Neither Peter nor I wanted to get out the van when we arrived. Our performances reflected our levels of enthusiasm. I pulled a personal worst out the bag. I wasn't too bothered. I knew I was tired, and it was so busy at the start I had to walk for the first few seconds and then break into a gentle run.
After that we went past Peter's mum's and drank cups of tea and ate her Christmas Biscuits. The conversation was a little circular but cheerful.
Having done that, all Xmas obligations had been fulfilled and we settled in for the day. Again, I couldn't tell you much about it.
There's something about this time of year that turns your brain inky. It's not even that I've been drinking too much because I think I haven't drunk anything at all. And it's not unpleasant. It's just that it's possible to lose time and get absorbed in stuff for no real reason. Facebook is a major trap.
I am setting the bar low for the day in terms of achievement. Why be cross with yourself? If we get out for a run during the day and have some kind of adventure, and maybe manage the dishes later on, that's good enough.
On Wednesday the weather seemed reasonable and we ventured up into the hills. It's just dawning on me that we are signed up for the Feel the Burns race on the 20th January and have been doing very little hill work.
Peter wanted to go to Bonaly so I concurred, it being no skin off my nose. We weren't very impressive on the hill and only managed 5 miles, however, it was good to get out. We went through some woods near the reservoir where there is a seat and a stone fire-place. The seat was covered in thick, dry, moss and was warm and comfortable. I have this on-going ambition to bivi out some night. Maybe that would be the place.
The next day I was tired from the hills, so foolishly suggested we head to Corstorphine Hill. I really was tired (of running at least) by that time, but I knew I had work and wouldn't be running the next day so I made an effort. It was very mild and there was hardly any wind and the birds seemed to be out in force. We heard, and saw glimmers of, lots of birds; tits and finches, cute little wrens, and Peter even caught a glimpse of a kingfisher. Getting photos was a whole other game though. The light was low and shutter speeds were slow and I came home with many blurry shots of twigs and not much else.
After Corstorphine Hill, I wanted to take the most direct route home, which is through the centre of town, whereas Peter wanted to go back down the Water of Leith. He was still longing to sight a dipper. We separated, and that worked well for both of us. I quite like running Queen Street - doing short bursts of speed on wide pavements and then getting a breather until the lights change. I like running down Leith Walk as well because it's pretty fast and easy.
So on Friday I went to work. I quite frankly welcomed the opportunity to spend many hours sitting on my arse, and rest my weary legs. I got a lot done too because people were on holiday. I share a small office with four other people at its busiest and it can be hard to concentrate. I saw some people and got some letters written and the day flew by. Peter went out and ran a nearly 20 miler, and he was welcome to it.
Then Saturday - yesterday - was blowing a hoolie - but sunny at long last. We made a plan to get out to the Pentlands promptly, and we stuck to it. We arrived at Flotterstone around 11am - not super-early by many people's standards, but not bad for us at all. We had some extra coffee and big wedges of cranberry cake from the cafe there before heading on up. It was so windy it was genuinely intimidating. We'd both gone for wearing two long sleeved tops and a gilet on top and we carried jackets in case that wasn't enough. I think we probably dressed just right because we neither took off nor put on layers. The very worst of the wind was at the top of Turnhouse, which often seems to be the case. I was trying to take a panorama with my camera while the camera case, which I had secured to a leash on my rucksack, kept flying up and boxing me in the face. It was vexing.
Conversation was impossible at the tops, and moving was problematic at times. Running didn't seem that hard as the slight edge of fear takes the edge off the effort.
We did Turnhouse, Carnethy and Scald Law, and then veered down to the right of East Kip to take the path over to Black Hill. It was a huge relief to drop down out of the wind, but the path down towards the Howe was very slippy from the rain the night before. I found I was doing some moves from the Charleston, which was surprising as I have no formal training.
Black Hill was welcoming as there has been heather burning and the paths were unusually exposed and easy. Also, now, the wind was mainly behind. My legs were tired from the hills but we didn't have far to go. We went over Black Hill and then Bell's Hill and then headed down on the rocky path (Maiden's Cleugh?) to the road and back down to the car.
Phew. We were back, alive, in one piece, and feeling we'd had a proper adventure.
So the troops were very tired this morning. All I was after was a slow recovery run. I have a few aches and tweaks from the sudden onset of hill work. My right ankle and my right knee felt creaky. My left achilles, too, was giving out a protest.
We decided just to go out a jog around Leith, and look for birds, and go to Tescos to pick up some bits and pieces.
It was dark and grey and the wildlife gave us the run around. We could hear what sounded like a thousand wrens chirruping in the brambles off the cycle-path but there was no way in and nothing to be seen. We tried scrambling up a muddy bank to see if we could get a better view from above - but no. Not a thing.
Since we were up the muddy bank we ran along a narrow path for a while and then joined onto the part of the cycle path that comes out near Ocean Terminal. I've been on this stretch of the path maybe 10 years ago and Peter says he has never been that way. There are some trails going through some scraggly woodland so we had a bit of an explore. There was nothing to see, really, except trees and tree roots and mud and ivy, but it was nice and it was good to get off the cycle path with its mix of dog walkers and stoners and kids on bikes, and walkers, and stoner kids on bikes. And dogs.