Friday, 18 July 2014

Gullane 5miles

Thursday 17th July
As an antidote to all that hurrying around and racing I stowed away on the back of Mary's kind offer of a lift to a 5 miler around Gullane. It seemed a long way to go for just 5 miles and earlier in the morning than I would have preferred but it left plenty of time for getting lots done with the rest of the day (and hill reps with the Carnethies at 7pm.) And it was the best part of the day weatherwise. Oh and we went in for a swim. I say swim but more of a plunge and a splash and a hundred yards of breast stroke. And not in wetsuits. It does give you a lift but also makes you hungry as a horse and feel like a snooze mid afternoon. I resisted the latter but fell asleep in front of the telly after summervals. Highly recommended.

For a change Mary led us along to the golf course and up past these ostentatious houses before going to the beach.

Iconic East Lothian landmark Cockenzie Power Station - could be on it's way out.

deer in the woods

I was saying to Mary that I usually failed to capture the essence of these woods in photos. She replied it was because I couldn't catch the piney smells and dappled light on my arm. I reckoned if I just stood still I would get better results in the low light.

Coming out the woods we hadn't done sufficient mileage so we went back in.

And ended up doing laps of the car park to get it up to 5 miles.

Mary insisted on a splash. I was not keen as I had things to do with the day and all that palaver trying to get socks on over damp sandy feet wasn't one of them. However...

1 mile relays

I have only unpleasant memories of these events. It's not the organisation which is handled smoothly by our favourite Run-and-Becomers, nor even the course, which is flat although has too many corners to be really record breaking fast. It's the effort. I keep forgetting to train sufficiently at the short fast business, and as a result gaskets are nearly always blown and the effort required makes even 10k pace seem relaxed.

photo Steve

I probably wouldn't have gone along but Willie, Steve and I decided to revive the medal winning v50 team of Hawick xc triumph. I was feeling tired. And not really in the mood for 5 minutes of lung scorching top speed. As Steve and I did some strides to warm up, I pointed out the first corner and noting it was muddy said someone could have an accident on that if they weren't careful. Indeedy.

photo Steve

Pretty soon we set off and I could see Johnny just ahead. There were a couple of folk dodging around and I moved forward of them, over to the right giving me a wide swing across the first corner which I thought was a good strategy until I felt my left foot slide and I realised I was going down. I'm not sure quite how I managed it but I went down hard on my front (deploying airbag) and slapped the ground hard with both palms. Johnny and a couple of others asked was I okay without slowing, while I bounced up quickly, cursing. 

photo Steve
This was exactly 1.09 into the race. I know this because my tap-sensitive watch assumed I wished to record another lap. I looked down at my filthy and bloodied hands hoping the extra adrenalin would make up the lost time. Not a good start. By comparison the rest of the mile was incident free. I took back a few of the places I had dropped and could see Johnny just ahead. But I didn't have much in the tank and just cruised the remainder. I tried to lift the pace towards the end and did enough to ensure I wasn't overtaken by anyone but I didn't really have any va-va-voom, and was just glad I hadn't done more damage hitting the deck when I fell.
Here are some photos I took of the second and third laps.

Afterwards I was allowed to wash my hands in the pavilion. I managed to get most of the dirt out before they started to hurt.

photo Ian J

The medal winning v50 team doing it again.
photo Shery

I think I heard my time called as 5.13 - so no nearer to the elusive sub 5 than the last couple of times I ran this. Must do more speed work before the next mile. And less falling.

Monday, 14 July 2014

good times at baddinsgill recce

Steve had the very good idea that we do a recce of the Baddinsgill Round on Sunday. The race (we have Nick Brown of CAAC to thank) is on the 24th Aug and only £5. My feet and legs were a bit trashed from all that road stuff on Saturday so the idea of soft ground and scenery was appealing.

Steve was trying out his new shoes, the upmarket version of Fellraisers; Salomon Fellcross.
He said they were excellent.

The route (after a couple hundred yards of road to get warmed up) quite quickly becomes a long (at times steep) climb up to the first top.

After the first top is reached the route mostly stays above 1,300' and visits a further 5.5 hills. 

The race route avoids the usual Pentlands (C5, Skyline etc.) which you see in the distance but never get that close to. 

Although there are faint paths and sheep trods the route followed is not as obvious as the more familiar Pentland paths and there are fewer dog- and hill-walkers. Some of the dips are very damp though they are considerably drier this year than the last 2 years when you would risk losing a shoe in the several swampy areas.

The route is more rolling and runnable than the high tops of the Pentlands.

Between the hills there are a couple of damp spots. Last year you could have gone up to your waist in this pond so it was less daunting today.

I have done this race both times it was held and yet there were areas I had no recollection of. And there seemed to be more hills. Probably just a bit tired from Saturday.

It was very pleasant to be able to stop and take in the views. 
This is Baddinsgill Reservoir which is in centre of the circuit we run around.

Looking (N) East towards the usual suspects.

To the left of the dark shadow you can just see Arthur's Seat and the crags

We have come from the centre of the image along the rising ridge on the left and will be returning down from the right.

Lots of spongy ground and quite a lot of these berries. 

The descent off East Cairn Hill is pretty horrible. I lost sight of the leaders 2 years ago and took a bad line off the top here. However as most lines are bad and there isn't a path an idea might be to head back to the fence line and find the path.

There is a drop out point and marshal with jelly babies here. And a long slog up the next hill.

Looking back at East Cairn Hill: you come at it from the right side of this pic, and the path you want is down the fence line after you have visited the summit.

The next top, after which there is much good running.

The good bit!

Some red grass in the sunshine.

This path goes on for some time but keep your eyes peeled for a swing off to the left into unmarked heathery hell. You can either head in a straight line into the valley and up the next hill or follow the fence round to Wolf Crags and then head into heathery hell up to the next summit. I hadn't ever seen Wolf Crags up close and wondered where they were. We reckoned this (below) was they. Neither route is particularly advantageous!

They are well disguised and not easy to pick out from a distance.

Looking back you can see the fence line left of centre. A straighter line is to head from the horizon (top right) directly to David, travelling East of the crags (keeping the crags on your right.)

After the top you pick up the fence again - 2 miles to go.

Around here you might catch sight of the finish flags but you still have a wee dogleg* to the last summit and then a good fast downhill on delightful bouncy ground to the finish. *A marshal will prob be stood at the point where you cross the fence and contour across to the last smaller hill.

The last hill doesn't feel particularly small as you hike up it...

...but it's a grand line to the finish between the trees

The soft ground and hills mean this 11.4 miler takes maybe 30+minutes longer than half marathon if you are a seasoned hill runner. You will be required to carry usual hillrunning kit

It's a great local race and the course is in better shape than the last 2 years. More prizes this year! Also new for this year: a midday start to allow for travel, and all that scenery thrown in. (Which you won't see as you will be watching your feet.) Only 100 places.