Friday, 29 November 2013


Mary had a little lame, I mean a sore leg. Seeing the weather looked better for today, Friday, than tomorrow, Saturday, I was brought bed-tea and the offer of a Gullane circuit. How could I refuse? I had finished the job Thursday and could put off the day's chores. The sun was shining - let's go!

We set off and I did my best not to ask M how was her leg - stiff above the knee with mystery injury - every 5 minutes. We ran down the JMW to Aberlady and across the bridge. When Mary suggested we go left towards the sub end of the beach I thought that was a good sign but breath was still held and fingers crossed.

high tide

As we turned the corner we saw the breaking waves beyond the wind swept beach and all seemed well with the world. The sky was blue, the sand orange and wind behind us. It was gusting with such strength I tucked my hat into my shorts before it was blown off. Mary disappeared down the beach at a healthy rate while I took photos. There was a bank of cloud building up in the west that looked in danger of spoiling the picturesque weather but somehow it kept down near the horizon and we had glorious visuals the whole run.

At Gullane Mary ran past the cut off and early return to the van. I gave her encouragement to turn back if the leg played up but she was anxious to do a few more miles and probably pushed her luck. We came off the beach towards Archerfields and made our way through the woods up to the road with an occasional walking break. M's leg was now giving her considerable jip and she was not pleased.

It did cheer us up to see AGH and Farmer Scott drive past in their van and meet us in Gullane. They had been out for a run (great to see Scott back in running kit with presumably a well enough ankle to run on,) and were on their way home. As we chatted going through Gullane a woman we didn't recognise, exclaimed she knew us from our blogs. Wow celebrity status or what? We were pleasantly astonished and forgot to say anything intelligent or much more than a garbled thanks, if even that. So thank you for reading the blogs, nice to meet you and your reward is to appear here...

We managed to restrain ourselves to just one cheese tongue each at Falkos, no easy ask. Then came home for soup and the whole weekend still ahead although Mary's leg is not best and in serious danger of blackening her mood.


night run with Carnethy at Aberlady 27/11/13

Familiar as I am with Aberlady I had never put on a headtorch and run there after dark. This was the plan and another great idea from Carnethy. Yes I traded in PRC weds night training for this. And yes I was doing Wintervals the following night with them also. However I have no plans to wear the red and yellow team colours to race in and the CHRC membership is purely social.

What an evening we got for it. About 15 or 16 turned up and the weather, while fairly Baltic to step out a warm car, improved the minute we got going. In fact many doffed hats and de-layered after a couple of miles. I kept both pairs of gloves on and was not tempted to get feet wet unlike Michael W who was knee deep (deliberately) for no good reason that I could figure. I think it is his salty seadog background, used to pushing dinghies out into the foaming briny.

There were lots of out-of-focus shots as the camera tried to focus on the humidity in the air and on the lens.

The photos sadly do not do justice to the scenery. We ran along in a bubble of light from the headtorches that illuminated the 20 yards around us, although it was bright enough to see hints of the sand and sea and shrubs along the trails. Although I know this place very well I would be following the person in front and suddenly find myself not recognising stretches, or surprised at where we suddenly appeared. In the sky a million stars shone, free from the light pollution of Edinburgh, and on several occasions we switched lights off and admired the array. Some folk were seeing the Milky Way for the first time. I didn't have the tripod with me to take long exposures.

I experimented with the flash on and off to see which worked better. The flash made a pool of light and failed to capture anything outwith. With the flash forced off there was not quite enough light to catch much of use.

We ran along the trails next to the golf course and into Gullane car park. Then through the dunes and across the woods on the other side of Gullane, before dropping down and returning on the beaches and trails. We regrouped at Hell Hill and puffed up that before crossing Gullane Point and sweeping round to Aberlady Beach. Running along the beach was a near magical experience surrounded by a gentle light with the noise of the sea just off right. There was only a light wind. Going up Aberlady Beach I veered left up to the high tide line in order not to miss the footpath sign.

To round off the 8+miles we had a pint and pub food at Ducks in Aberlady. A brilliant night run and the ideal conditions meant we covered more ground at a brisker pace than in previous night adventures there. After a lift back into town and collecting my bike from Morningside I think it was nearly midnight by the time I got home.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

return to Harrison Park

Just as I was getting into bed last night I remembered I had to finesse the fix on my road shoes. Hoka Bondi Bs are great shoes but I see from photos on their website they made the uppers just a smidge too lightweight and they have a tendency to tear at the creases. Mine were starting to do this so I bought some Shoe Goo (transparent) and glued them before my toes began to press through the upper. This seemed to work well but I noticed when I tried them on afterwards I could feel a ridge of glue inside had got through from the outside and required removing. I gave it a quick sand down and put some lengths of tape over. This morning they felt fine on the cycle up to Harrison Park and for the first 10 miles. If it wasn't for the sand and tape last night there would have been blood. I shall further refine the smoothing of the ridge before the next long one though as today I developed a hot spot there.

Nicola ran to the start and home afterwards adding 5 miles.

Like yesterday the sun was reluctant. And so was I. However due to yesterday's run being a bit below threshold, and Nicola saying on Wednesday she was thinking about doing another Harrison Pk I decided it was obligatory. Didn't even check the forecast. Mary brought me bed-tea at 7.30 (too kind!) and I had a solitary slice of toast, which I was hoping was fuel enough (on top of last night's dinner) to get me round the 16+ miles as well as the cycle there and back. I arrived in plenty of time for a stretch and warm up and there were ten of us set off shortly after 9am.

and we're off

It was so dark the flash was going off when we were among the trees. I am used to carrying the (compact) camera running and try not to get too much snot and spit on it, but it always seems to get a bit steamed up on cold longer runs and the shutter stops opening fully and the pics are mostly rubbish. Occasionally the odd happy accident which is fun but mostly it is a 1 in 5 proportion of "interesting" to straight-in-the-bin. Especially when running at speed. If the shutter opening coincides with the footstomp then the pic will be shoogly. So I take lots and weed out (most of) the dross.

I love this. Much more lifelike than with the flash...

It appears we ran all through the night

As before, the run started at chatting pace. We follow the canal then cross Lanark Road and track the Water of Leith to Balerno. (Going past the street end of Doug Runner's place - didn't notice that last time.) I like to get towards the front of the pack for the long steep hill, after turning left off Blinkbonny Rd, up to Harlaw Rd. and was pleased to top out in the first half of the group. Bit of a recovery on the flat along to the left hand turn to the car park - if you have opted for the 16miler. All 10 opted for that today. Last time it was just Gareth, Nicola and myself although we didn't relax or drop the pace. I had heard the pace traditionally is raised in the last few miles. Last time I had got slower not faster, so felt I should probably crack on while still feeling relatively unscathed.

the big hill up

at the top

heading into the Pentlands

Back to the Water of Leith path.

And so I found myself leading the group down from the Red Moss car park and through Balerno, and was still ahead as we turned onto the WoL cycle path. How long could I keep the lead? Not long, as the dude in the green shirt went past easily. I was expecting another 8 at any point but as yet couldn't hear the voices and footfalls. Next was the guy I had been running with for a few miles. It was his fist time back in a while and it seemed to be going slightly faster than he was anticipating. We matched each other's pace, and I had every reason to try and stick with him as the bag I had cycled with, was in the boot of his car.

first passed


note: ice forming on canal (apart from at the aqueduct, weirdly)

no prisoners being taken

I was certainly feeling the pace now, but it was all passing quite quickly and shortly we crossed the Lanark Road again dropping down to the canal side. I was very pleased to be ahead still of 7 folk (not that it's a race mind!) although again that didn't last long. Just before the aqueduct there were footsteps and a cloud of dust as Ray and another went past. I could hear more behind me as we got onto the aqueduct and I hoped they had the patience to not overtake until we were off the bridge. Another 2 were past and although I briefly went with them, it was a lost cause and I was happy to follow on at a more sedate pace. I think I counted 6 ahead when I stopped - very grateful to turn the last corner and recognise the last bridge. I think I did around 1hr48m for 16.35miles, 3 minutes faster than last time. I retrieved my bag, changed out of sodden tops, and went off to unlock my bike and cycle slowly home for breakfast part 2.

Nicola had a great run yesterday at Alloa xc.