Thursday nights are 'wintervals'. Mostly Carnethy runners, but not exclusively, meeting at the octagon near Holyrood Palace at 7pm for about 40 mins of headtorched intervals, usually hill based and usually up hill. A mixed ability group (all welcome) and mostly reps of an unpleasant gradient, recovery largely on the jog back to the start. There might be a social aspect on the run to the start point but conversation drops off dramatically once underway. I deliberately wore my suunto for the first 3 of the year to record the ups and downs. You certainly feel humped afterwards.
The insert shows the whole set of intervals the main pic shows a zoom in to give the sense of how many ups and downs we did. A tough start to the year, Fergus had us do 2 x 4mins followed by 3 x 2mins. (After the first one we moved the start point up the Dry Dam a bit to avoid some ugly tripping rocks (remember this is in the dark with headtorches.) Then 4 x 1min, then 5 x 30secs. After the third 30secs we regrouped and continued up the hill rather than return to the same point. My pulse must have been so high it broke the suunto which dropped the altitude of Abbeyhill (the bump at either end) on the journey home. My flat was round about sea-level when I got home. I think that is my laboured climb at the end to the third floor.
I think some people call this Salisbury Hill, below the crags and heading steeply up towards the Commie Pool roundabout, if you follow. I was experimenting with auto pause which switches the suunto off when at rest hence the missing patches against time on the altitude graph. The suunto likes to mark the high point with an (inaccurate) figure in feet on the graph and it was the third rep that won. We were doing 30secs, 60secs, 90secs x 3 which Fergus thought wasn't really enough. So then he ruined the above picture by doing a 60s rep followed by a 30 (although Jim timed us wrongly at 24s) and then a 40s to finish. You can tell we were deteriorating into a bunch of oxygen deprived chimps. Again Abbeyhill drops height on the way home.
At last we get to run downhill - much preferred to the uphill only reps. So we do this triangle on the back of the crags. First 2 sides are nearly continual climb, last side a steep descent back to the start. Fergus suggests we push the ascent and jog the descent but I tend to let go and descend slightly faster than recommended because I enjoy it. Fifteen minutes then regroup. I notice the first lap is brisk and takes about 3 mins on the nose. It is tough to keep the pace going but we finish within a handful of seconds over the 15 minutes. A regroup then we do it in reverse. Speculation which will be tougher. My guess is the second direction due to the steeper climb. It is slightly slower but probably because the descent is lumpier and you can't blast it so easily. As before I am overtaken on the ups and regain places on the downs. It is not a race. Second section takes 15.40. Abbeyhill, as usual, is lower on the return.
The octagon meeting place is almost exactly a mile from home. These 3 sessions were very similar in distance run: 6.75miles, 6.68miles and 6.92miles, incl the 2 miles there and back. Highly recommended, and makes your dinner taste much better.