Friday, 13 December 2013

6 hills and change

This weeks more-intelligent-than-a-Marcothon midweek sessions were an interesting challenge. Tuesday was Meadow's intervals and the less said about that the better. I should have quit while ahead earlier in the year doing a nearly perfect set of beautifully spaced fast-getting-faster laps all in respectable times. This Tuesday they were messy (ALL of them slower than the slowest of my perfect set,) and the pace was being set trying to keep up with Edel and another who were doing long laps on 1, 3 and 5 while I wheezed round number 4 in a recent personal worst. The week before, times were down as well, but I blamed that on the 7Rs race trashing my legs. This week and I have no excuses as I ran NO long runs at the weekend. Maybe that's the problem?

So Wednesday night and I am now thinking I must cram some longer runs in. Even if I run to club (along the depressing and aromatic Seafield Road) it still isn't going to make for suitably punishing mileage. Now I'd heard rumour that Carnethy fast group were planning a 7 Hills circuit but it seemed unlikely they would manage all of that in the dark on a Wednesday evening. But I liked the ambition. Also they start and finish at Kings Buildings which would add a 3 mile journey to get there and another 3 afterwards (if I survived.) I charged my headtorch.

Graham on Arthurs Seat
- some of the photos being largely black or poor quality I have embellished.

pretty much as it was

Nasher led the group and perhaps the ambition of the plan reduced participants to a fantastic four, Graham, Matt, Charlotte and myself. Also it was decided to cut Corstorphine Hill, taking the canal to Craiglockhart. Sounded great! So off we set and it was unusual to be doing the latter part of the original course to start with – missing out the short cut through the student halls but taking the usual route up the sleeper steps to Arthurs Seat summit. It was a nice night for it, although the dark does make it tricky to follow even well known routes. We took a slightly different line off the summit than we would have in the race but it was probably safer to belt down than the thin path and steep descent off the top. Up to the Castle next then since we were going to the canal we headed down Johnson Terrace and along Bread St before sneaking onto the darkened canal side. I had only realised recently that this is lit with reassuring side lights – cat's eye type self powered lights keeping you on the path. Headtorches let the cyclists know we were coming through – it's a well used route, even late on a Wednesday evening.

Calton Hill 

obligatory American

climbing Craiglockhart

Graham set a cracking pace along here (Garmin says 6.12 and the fastest mile of the session,) and I tried to think when and where we would get some relief. Then I remembered that on the original route after Chesser Avenue we get onto a thin path that climbs over a bridge over the canal. Sure enough we left the canal at that point and headed to Craiglockhart Hill. Graham suggested the straight-up-the-front option which was bold but actually ok as the soil was dry and the leaves and debris weren't too bad to scale. I have never been up there in the dark.

crossing the Braid Burn.
I exaggerated the fish tank look to this but love the inverted number 2 from the headtorch

Devil take the hindmost - and I think I can see his pitchfork.

Baskervilles ahead

Then on towards the Braids. Across the Braid Burn then up the grassy slope to the gate in the fence and up to the trig point at the top of the golf course. At this point I put in a request to keep feet dry and take the left hand trail through the Hermitage that avoids the steep drop into the river. I prefer dry feet if possible and still had over 3 miles home after we got to King's Buildings. Again the climb up from the Hermitage wasn't too bad. From Observatory Hill we took a line I was unfamiliar with and somehow ended up returning to KB a way I didn't recognise.

Great run and after a quick pint to rehydrate I jogged home clocking up 18.47 miles for the whole trip. What a great mini adventure for a Wednesday night. Plans afoot for the whole route incl. Corstorphine in the new year - sub 2hrs!

(Thursday night and the headtorch is recharged for a pyramid of shortening Wintervals around Hunter's Bog and doing sprints near the Crags. Thanks to Olly for leading. An arduous session with the foam roller and magic stick made this all a bit more likely as the legs were beginning to feel a bit raddled.)

No comments:

Post a Comment