Graham felt moved to mark the centenary of WWI by running an ultra (over 30 miles) every month. FOR FOUR YEARS. I know what you're thinking, that's not hard enough. That's what Graham thought too and so twice a year (you'll have to ask him for specifics here I was not paying attention in class...) there is a double, maybe the second half at night I'm not sure and frankly I doubt it matters. Get yer trainers on and you'll find out after we've started.
11.20am on July 28th may or may not have been the precise moment the Great Pagar kicked off back then. Similarly we were a bit inexact (nearer 11.45) as I wasn't even going to be there in the first place and Kathy and Graeme (note alternate spelling) were making their way from Stockbridge adding 3 miles to the process because they just can't get enough. As usual on these GH away days Graham makes up a route on the spur of the moment where sections of canal or urban orienteering are joined by cunning shortcuts and alleyways unknown to all but burglars and highwaymen evading the blues-in-twos. One moment we are in Gorgie next Blinkbonny and Corstorphine Hill then out the canal (briefly) through Heriot Watt and off to the Pentlands.
Graeme asked was I a tractor buff and what make was it when I got excited about this harvest scene. I replied I wasn't, it was just stirring scenery although it was prob a JCB as it was yellow and not (for instance) John Deere green etc. On closer inspection it WAS a JCB. And in recent news my sister says I can get a shot in her farm's JCB tractor if I am good. (Although I think it is the visuals rather than the driving I am gripped by). I don't have a driving license (pure laziness) and am not that motivated about trying to get one.
After doing the flat section of the Rigg Race we continued straight at the bend and got this delightful trail which is waymarked. Lots of butterflies.
Graham seemed keen to push on - I think he was taking my 6pm appointment more seriously than I was. Or maybe he was enjoying the lack of hip pain that has been coming and going, and/or spinning class injuries!
lunch stop number 2
With the new camera there was an optional bundle of a miniature tripod (6") which is handy for low angle selfies (see 2nd top photo) unless there is long grass.
Now here is a top tip. If you are 20 miles into a long run and dying of thirst and the Rangers Lodge at Harlaw is CLOSED go round the back. The outside tap appears to be padlocked but there is no base in the box and you can access the tap and fill bottles with a water so sweet it is like your first kiss. Except more thirst quenching.
Now, the only time I'd been on this path before was with Michael G one Winter and it was ankle deep in running water. His 10 mile circuit, which turned out to be 13.5miles.
I thought it would be onto the canal and back to Tynecastle but Graham took us off as soon as we had crossed it and down some paths nearby which I'd never been on to see....
Another purpose of these runs is to go past or incorporate a war memorial. So after a hats off moment we are running again and I am blethering to Kathy and Graeme about triathlons and blah blah blah and Graeme says "trike with faring on your left" and I ask him to repeat himself. Its not that I don't understand the words they are just not what I am expecting and don't match the conversation and I think the heat has got to him. After making him repeat the sentence 6 times and slowly, I turn to my left and sure enough it's a trike with a faring looking a bit like a jelly bean.
By this time we are all hallucinating. I know Kathy and Graeme are heading to Stockbridge and I know Graham has left his vehicle next to Tynecastle - I just can't position the latter in relation to the Water of Leith path we are on but I'm pretty sure we are now heading away from my 6pm meeting and it's now 5.45.
However Graham had it in hand and we part company at the Dean Village. I think G&K did 34miles or caught a number 34 bus and G&PB returned to Tynecastle for 31.5miles and just before 6. Graham gave me a lift to my meeting round the corner and the sweat was about dried on my forehead and I was looking perfectly presentable (I imagine) and only 5 mins late. Which is prompt by the tradesman code of ethics.
Big thanks to Graham for all this and it was a great route and great company. Look forward to doing the next one although the date is 2 days after a 35 mile race. Hopefully the event will not sell out but that a good group of folk will get involved. It was not a taxing pace and if you are swithering then go for it and come along. My legs were fully recovered for a sprintastic Wednesday night PRC sesh, and it is the best and most fun way to drop a dress size in a day.
After the meeting (which went well) I had the option of bus home or run? The big question! Popped up to the canal and along to Lochrin Basin and through the meadows. 4 more miles and 35.5 in the bag. Nipped into the co-op on the way home and bought 6 items, all fluids (and only 2 beers). Thirsty!