Mary with Rad Road (easy side) in view.
Still the crap weather. Only one thing to do – a hard interval type session that makes the sun shine internally even if the skies are grey.
Coach Hunter suggested a close to home workout as a long trip to the Pentlands was kind of wasting fuel when the photos would be dull. I had to agree but wasn't keen on Rad Rd Reps. However a vague plan had been kicking around to do the other side, the reverse side of the Radical Road where it descends to the Commie Pool roundabout.
We ran round the back of the Queens Drive. There were loads of folk out and about and a fair number of them overtaking us as we jogged the snaky road up to Dunsapie. Didn't recognise any of the fat boys who were breaking sweat to overtake then struggling by the the time the road levelled off at the top loch. Its always a good game to guess what familiar faces one will pass in Holyrood on a Sunday. Alex Oliver is the bookies favourite as I think he lives in Hunters Bog in the Summer. We had bumped in Alex at the top of Easter Road but couldn't stop longer than to hear he'd pb'd at BOTH the 10ks yesterday and today. He is looking FIT! We couldn't stop because a local, clearly pissed, with can in hand, was anxious to tell us how he had been doing some running, and not just away from the Police. (As Alex later posted on fb “....Its been a while since a man has asked me to feel his thighs in daylight on London Road.”)
I was a bit chagrinned at letting all the joggers go past and tried to calm myself, imagining how bad Mary was feeling about being demoted to a slower-than-jogger pace. There were a few good-sized lady power-walkers as well. Power-walking seems to be a ladies-only activity.
While Mary went along the road I did a couple of diversions and round the back of the hill at Dunsapie to add to the workout. The crows and jackdaws that live in the walls below the top road were all enjoying the updrafts. As was a kestrel above the Crags. We approached the Rad Rd from the Hunter's Bog shoulder. We weren't sure where we would start each rep, however there is a big rock with a sign on it and a starting line across the path you can't ignore. Right lets go!
mmm where should we start?
I deliberately reined in the first rep planning on each being progressively faster. Coach said five laps but I reckoned I might squeeze in 6 to her 5. On the first I noticed it was 2 minutes to the big nose of red rock where it levelled off and around 50secs from there to the Falling Rocks sign at the other end. This 50 secs being pretty flat and an opportunity to fine tune one's rep. 2.49 for number one. My jog recovery back to the start was hi-jacked by ELB of HBT who had just run up the hard side of the Rad Rd and she wasn't breaking her stride to chat. We waved at the coach and I was dropped off at the start with precious little recovery for lap 2.
2.48 for lap 2 then when I saw 2.47 for lap 3 I wondered if I could get a royal flush for all 6. Then the wind got up hitting us square in the face for the second minute of the climb. I thought if I have the wind to contend with I'd better start having more of a dawdle recovery back to the start. But overcooked lap 4 doing 2.44½ and the legs beginning to fade. Mary had changed from a long orange sleeve top to a white vest, tying the orange one to a tree near the start. We passed each other with minimal acknowledgement faces in a world of pain. I took some photos of the kestrel.
I caught Mary on lap 5. She started a bit ahead and it gave me a target. I hit the red nose at 1.55 and stopped the watch at 2.43. Each one faster so far but the legs now had quite a bit of wobble. Waited for Mary and we jogged back to the start for the last one. I pushed the first 2 minutes then seeing I was ahead of schedule legged it along the gravel flat putting my watch off at 2.35. I had to sit down while Mary appeared.
Its not in any way as hard as the Rad Road Reps from Holyrood but a great workout at a runnable gradient. Making it less fearsome and more do-able. Like most workouts its as hard as you make it. Hoka shoes floated over the rough gravel. But make sure, if you are going to do this you remember to lift your feet returning down the slope to the starting point as Gillian took a flier last Wednesday night here clearing a couple of yards in the horizontal before touching down fully prone and digging a couple of trenches in the gravel with her elbows and knees, which she had to take along to a&e next day to have washed and repaired. (Not the first time she has done this.)
Now if there was only some way to confirm the time?
Pair of whippets spotted in Holyrood?