Sunday, 16 November 2014

Borders Series XC #2: Gala

Halfway through the week the forecast for this race was dismal, however the weather gods relented and it turned out fine. There was a bit of rolling mist but not enough to get Paul McCartney singing about it. At some point there must have been a fair bit of rain as the grassy bits were sodden and easily churned. And I had almost completely forgotten how adventurous the course setters are: inviting us to partake in deadly slippery boardwalks, stiles (ditto), arduous grassy hills, 2 stream crossing (rocky and of uncertain depth) and lots of ankle deep mud. So great fun then. Making under 4 miles seem twice as far.

I had also forgotten the joys of the A7 which was quite deserted making us wonder if the sensible traffic had taken diversions to avoid a couple of the road-works along the way. 

However we got there in plenty time for a good warm up. The air was cold and I put on gloves and a buff to keep extremities warm. I took photos round the latter part of the course which Mary and I recced though planned to leave the camera at the start before the off, as there was too much potential for damage.

There were some lovely combinations of steep passages and through-the-woods running. The hills round the field perimeters were the enduring memory of last time (Nov 2011 if the records are correct.) This year the deeper mud at the second stream crossing was taxing.

We spent so long on the recce of the course we nearly missed the race start. Realising we needed to get back to the start we picked up the pace and did a few strides. Happily they had not set off and I was very well warmed up. (Buff off.) I felt the benefit of not having a long run in my legs from the previous day and managed to keep up with Charlotte for the flat stuff through the trees. Going up the grassy fields she managed to get away, by now chasing Diane for first lady. Fergus (having done the Braids yesterday) went past at some point although for a short while I was catching him again on the down hills. I was sorry to have to let him and Charlotte and Ian R (1st 50) stay a bit ahead, even though I made a bit of ground back on the descents. Then the out and back through the woods (incl very steep climb) which finished with a trip down to the second stream where a number of folk lost points for touching a hand down on the banks. Penalty was very muddy laundry or filthy hand. I managed to get across without incident but still I wasn't catching the dudes ahead and we all pretty much stayed in order until the final sprint on the slightly downhill cinder-path. Someone decades younger went past and I was beyond caring. Last time at Lauder I was 2 seconds adrift behind Mike, this week 10 seconds behind Ian. Always the bridesmaid never the bride! (Looking back to Nov 2011 my time was 24.46, this year it showed that on my watch (it was unclear exactly where the line was) but the official time was a few seconds faster so I haven't lost too much ground in 3 years.)

A very dynamic course and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Big thanks to Gala and the Borders Series - nice to do a proper xc course over mostly exciting ground.
Unusually for this time of year I have been doing a little too much work and not enough speed training and can feel my running suffer just a little. (Too many Wednesday and Thursday evenings lost to can't-be-bothered after a long day up and down ladders.) Swings and roundabouts though, and I shouldn't complain. 

Results on Borders Website

Saturday, 15 November 2014

sundog millionaire

Just a smallish 6 miler at modest pace and a swim afterwards as we have Gala xc on Sunday. It turned out much prettier than anticipated but the water was Baltic. The run was fine - up into Gullane from the car park, through the golf course (on the JMW) to Aberlady, across the bridge and back by the beach, climbing up at Gullane Point and dropping back into the car park. I was not looking forward to the immersion - it looked cold. But the surf - only evident at the shoreline; the Forth further out appeared calm, the surf distracted from the cold by scooping you off the sand and tumbling you around like a washing machine. After a short while we retreated back to the car where we changed into warm clothes with chattering teeth. Lots of lovely skies and a much nicer day than you could have hoped for mid-November.

WFT is this? (Outside Falko's) 
Is it a tie up point for very obedient dogs or as Mary suggested something much more perverse?

The dew suggested an overnight frost.

I was saying to RD last weekend how the curvature of the earth gets in the way of the lower parts of the bridges as seen from Gullane.

I have been on about sun dogs before. And thanks to Mary who came up with the title for today's blog after she had already published her's

Quite a few surfers and paddlers today. Wonder if they use warmer wetsuits, or because they stay out the water more, so don't feel it so much. The water was really cold on our faces and we couldn't speak properly afterwards, and hands and feet were also suffering.

something nearly biblical about this

On the drive home some fields (not all, just ones with bushier crops) had a layer of mist in a very sherlock holmesian fashion. They deserved to be properly recorded but I just lowered the window and took a couple of snaps as we had an urgent lunch date back home. (This open water swimming lark gives you a very profound appetite.)

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Waverley Line 11/11/14

Another Graham Henry Tynecastle Bronze run. 11.02 he says, from Waverley Station; bring money and food. 30 miles, 5 hrs. No further info. I phone him up because if we're catching a train at 11.02 we'll have to be in the station earlier than that. However it is an hour before midday to catch 5hrs of running (no train) before sunset and the 2 minutes is to allow for remembrance at 11am. Of course.

In case you were wondering where the Waverley Memorial lives: quite a few came out from their work stations to stand for the 2 minutes at 11am.

Toby is there when I arrive having looked up where the war memorial in Waverley is. I saw it a few weeks ago and thought it would make a good wm for the end of a train ride from a potential TB run passing no memorials. However the more you look the more you find these things. Somewhere in the TB rules it says you are supposed to find a "new" wm for each run. Towards the end of the 4 years this could be challenging. We passed several today and the rules say today only counts for one, so we can do this same run another few times although I'm not sure exactly what the penalties are for disobedience. A firing squad perhaps, or sent to the front.

We started off without a firm plan. There were 4 of us: Toby, Richard, Graham and myself. We hoped Lucy and Amanda would make it along but they went for a shorter run themselves. Graham led us off towards Arthur Seat where he forgot to give us a BFT (basic fitness test). I think he had had some hill reps in mind so no bad thing he forgot. We were all too busy blethering and were down towards the prom before we realised. 

Toby IS taller than Richard but not THAT much taller - optical illusion of the shadows and distance from the wide angle lens as next photo shows...

It was a lovely hazy but sunny morning. 

I took a snap of these gulls while running past. Only later did I see the hand out the car window with chips.

Enjoy them before they're gone.

There's always one.

Another wm at Prestonpans.

Lunch stop at Port Seton. 

The Marigold Tree in full bloom.

Over the bridge at Aberlady.
We were about 20+ miles here and it looked as if it would be over the 30 if we stuck to the trails and beaches all the way to NB. I had been in touch with AGF by text to let her know our whereabouts in case she wanted to tag along. This passed by jungle drum to Lucy who invited us to finish at her place at N Berwick. I let her know we would aim for 4.30pm.

With Jedburgh still in his legs Toby was feeling the pace by the beach. To make things worse the tide was right in and the sand very soft.

I had been threatening to cross pollinate the Tynecastle Bronze with my other winter obligation, the submergathon, as I would be missing yet another weekend plunge otherwise. Richard, helpfully, kept pointing out suitable spots for a swim. However as I only had a small camping towel and no extra shorts I was waiting till we had a suitably quiet spot. Toby was flagging a bit just before Gullane Point and there was only one older couple nearby so I took 5 to go for a quick submerge which I hoped would give Toby a moment to recover.

"Thanks" to Graham for these photos. 

It was a lovely calm day for an immersion and seemed less cold than the last couple of swims, (why did you make that girlie noise then, says Richard, again helpfully!) though I was well warmed up from running and I didn't hang around. Afterwards my legs felt much refreshed. 

After Gullane beach Toby decided to call it a day and headed to his girlfriend's place nearby.

Here is a sport for a calm day. The bastard offspring of kayaking and surfing and a very silly/unstable activity. However I would quite like a go. 

The sun, as forecast, came out at 3pm. Well a bit after 3pm. RD said this was because of the time it takes for light to get from the sun to Gullane. (Genius.)

This was the ugliest bit of running of the day. With the tide right in we were reduced to a harsh walk across the stones.

Someone had already abandoned their shoe. 

Graham had us do one last bft, a sprint to this post which Richard won.

drone over NB beach

Off the sand just in time for mince pies and mulled wine at Lucy's. Normally I'd argue that November was too early for such xmassy fare however that, and a timely banana-and-walnut cake went down so excellently well that I am prepared to re-evaluate the seasonal bake-off.

Last wm of the day at the other end of NB.

After cake and wine chez Lucy, back to Edinburgh on the 6.20.
Another perfect day out, full of great banter and the fourth 30+miler weekend running. So to speak.