Wednesday, 30 April 2014

the road to hell

To borrow a phrase from the Trail Monsters "the road to hell is paved, run trails." I really wasn't looking forward to the weekend's running. I was trying to get Michael G to lead me astray and off into the hills but he had an appointment with a hangover in Sheffield. And I knew I had to knuckle down and do some road miles. I have 2 large road runs fast approaching and want to make a decent job of them. There was nothing for it but grit the teeth and do it.

me to NB

The wind was travelling West on Saturday and so I caught the train to NB and ran back. At least I wouldn't have a 30 min train ride in wet kit but would finish at my flat and shower. I set off at 6.20+ish pace and found it was not a breeze. I had earmarked 6.30 as marathon pace and thought it would be pretty straight forward to keep this up for a lot of the run. It wasn't.

Well it was okay to begin but I felt my new shoes getting pretty hot. The first few miles flew by but the shoes got hotter. I had bought them the night before online and they unfortunately arrived Saturday morning. They were to encourage me to do a few fast road miles but it was a bit of a mistake and by Gullane I was looking for (praying for) a chemist selling blister plasters.

My prayers were answered and less than five miles in I stopped, bought some Compeed plasters and applied them to both large toes at the knuckle, where the shoes weren't quite broken in. I had forgotten this tendency with new Hokas and I could feel I wasn't going to survive 20 miles if I couldn't address the hot spots. Compeed are fantastic and worked a treat, although I could feel my soles gradually separating from the landmass of my feet as I continued.

new shoes
Normally I'd buy Hokas from Run and Become but they only had (red and yellow) shocking colour-ways and not all the sizes last time I was there. By the way if you are buying at Ultramarathon Running Store try putting LDWA into the discount code box when buying them and you should get 10% discount.

I tried running along the road out of Aberlady but the proximity to speeding cars was desperate and I opted for the trail on the other side of the wall. It slowed things down a bit but felt much safer.

Then the pretty awful unpavemented section past the Bents. Again, unpleasant.

After getting back onto pavement at Puerto Setonio things improved although I noticed the miles were nearer 7 than six minutes. Through the Pans and onward.

By Musselburgh I was struggling. I had been making deals with myself the whole way and had refined it down to "run till 20 then jog". As Bernie remarked the following day that number 26 bus looks awful tempting.

I was counting the yards till 20miles and they passed very slowly. I'm still not sure why I felt so awful. Probably started too quickly, and had forgotten all the road running tricks: like vaseline, and lots of it. Around Joppa I passed Paul E who looked twice and asked if I was ok. 

off colour

I saw this kite above the beach and felt the absurdness of a flying pirate ship was akin to way I was running.

Angus was out as well. 

20 miles and burst. 
It took about half an hour to "run" the 2.5 miles home from here. 

Well I had thought it would be bad but it was considerably worse. Along the way I had promised I would diet / train harder / start slower / never wear new shoes again EVER, and various other forgotten bargaining to the running gods. I was also forming a plan to run with Bert's Sunday group (if my flayed feet would allow.) Because I knew I wouldn't manage 13 miles on my own the following day. When I got home I had 2 paracetamol and went to bed for 3 hours. Later when I got up it felt as if I had been in a car wreck.

Bert's Sunday Best

My feet were a little tender right enough but as a bit of punishment for yesterday's disgraceful performance I thought 13 miles sounded about right.

This is one of Bert's regular runs - the cycle path from Longniddry to Haddington. Pretty much like this for 4 miles; a gradual rise for 3 then slightly downhill for 1, making for a fast return.

Then Alan Aitch, who seemed in good form, led us around the outskirts of Haddington, returning to the path at 9.1miles - meaning we would run exactly a half marathon. David had seemed to raise the pace as we approached the path and I wondered if this was the beginning of the inevitable race to the line started. However he dropped back. Bert, myself and Craig found ourselves pushing on and ran the last four progressively faster as the path dropped back down to Longniddry. David only realised we were making a break for it too late and surprisingly (given his sub17 parkrun the day before) didn't catch us in time. Last mile: 5.49. Which was a boost to flagging morale. 

Thanks to Andrew for the lift there and back.

Friday, 25 April 2014

thursday night intervals

Okay, quick quiz: where is this?
Answer at the bottom of the page.

I took the photo above while working there and the sun was out. The sun makes a huge difference as it did last night for the Carnethy hill session on Arthur Seat. I usually leave the house about 8~10 mins before the 7pm start but gave myself a bit longer last night to warm up my ankle. After 2 hrs at the computer (working on a quote - not just facebooking) I got up out the chair at 5pm and couldn't walk. I couldn't put any weight on my dicky ankle and hobbled around the house cursing and wondering how I would manage the hill interval session at seven. 

I was going to ask these 2 if they had found any treasure yet as it looked like they were metal detecting not spraying weeds. However I it thought better to resist my hilarious joke.

After hopping around the house and giving my legs a good going over with the magic stick (halfway between a rolling pin and a foam roller) my ankle eased and I was able to put weight on the foot. Rather than the tough PRC session with Willie J the night before, I blame sitting in front of the computer. As Mary said "you can be concentrating so much on the screen you don't notice you have the posture of the Hunchback of Notredame." 

The last thing Willie had said after Wednesday night was "take it easy for the next couple of days." Which I wasn't, strictly speaking, doing. However the Thursday evenings are off-road which is softer underfoot and most of the hard work is up hill - only occasionally do we rush downhill - which probably keeps the danger to a minimum. 

Jim H ahead of Andy F.

There was a bigger turnout last night - no doubt due to the weather - it was a delightful evening and not too warm to cope with the 2 mins hard, 1 min regroup and jog that Iain had planned for us. So about 7 or 8 gathered at the Holyrood car park and set off up the back of the crags. By this point my dodgy ankle was completely over its fainting spell and working fine but it was a reminder not to push my luck as I have a harsh racing schedule in May (racing 4 weekends in a row incl. an ultra and a marathon.) 

There is a good variety of sessions. I couldn't cope if it was (for instance) just the Rad Road week after week. Often we will do pyramid sessions and usually on steep ground at one of 4 or 5 places. It is fairly intense (all abilities welcome) but you know in about 45 minutes you can go home for dinner which tastes better for the experience. Last night we seemed to get off lightly with a pretty moderate session taking a route over the back of the Crags along Pipers' Walk and up to the top of Nether Hill before jogging back to the car park. Usually it is reps on some horribly steep hill.

It was good to see Fergus joining us last night - he has missed the last few weeks due to a PF foot but couldn't resist the fine evening. Strangely a month without running doesn't seem to have slowed him down any.

The meadows looking colourful.

See you next Thursday, 7pm, Holyrood car park.

Quiz: Ramsay Garden, right next door to Edinburgh Castle.
 (if you said Gardens with an "s" deduct a point.)

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

someone left the sun on

Sunday 20th

Some of Friday and Saturday's splendid weather (bright but cool) spilled over into Sunday where it was not supposed to be but where it was very welcome. As was Mary's invitation to do a ten miler around Gullane, Aberlady and Archerfields.

Mary noticed the beauty of this pot which might have made the journey home were it not for the potential history of use.

Regularly there are deer here.

Just noticed the similarity of shapes of the photos above and below.

beach hat
(Did I check to see if the owner was wearing it? No.)

Aberlady was deserted, (after I had cloned out a passerby.)

Next in the series of mental dogs: 
this was a young and exuberant Spaniel that would chase gulls it didn't have a hope of catching. 

Someone carrying a bigger camera than myself!
If I had seen sooner this dude was running with a full size DSLR I would have been over to congratulate him. 

Mary doing an impression of John Cooper

The ankle (sprained on Friday) was okay - I was careful not to put too much pressure (speed over rough ground) on it. However both M and I were below par and settled for 9 of the ten proposed miles. We had a pretzel from Falko's and enjoyed the unforecast sunshine. 

There was an event on Monday, a celebration of John Muir and the John Muir Way, though weirdly the event seemed more about costumes and beards than walking and running. The only attendees of the running event - from Dunbar to N Berwick - were Amanda and Lucy. I was nearly disappointed I hadn't gone along as it sounded very strange (running with rucksacks and flags and no water at finish, and just the 2 of them,) and there were a few funny outfits (people dressed as fish and trees) and bordering on wicker-man territory. As a fan of strange photo opportunities and the John Muir Way it might have been good fun although I got on with some overdue things and into the working week.