Sunday, 16 April 2017

crash and hot cross burn

Ever since I heard about Mary's 20miler from North Queensferry, home, via the airport circuit, I was thinking I'd give that one a go. 20 marathon training miles done at tempo on tarmac and hardpack trails with just enough scenery for the soul while being a decent blast through low traffic areas. Mary had been planning a shorter scamper today so I told myself I'd set aside Easter Sunday for the crucifixion. Hopefully there'd be some sort of resurrection. (Listen don't have a go at me for not taking religious days of devotion seriously, the only thing anyone seems to be celebrating today (unless you are a vicar's daughter) is overpackaged chocolate eggs. There were none of these in this household, although flapjacks were bought as running snacks.)

Then Mary changed her mind. As did the wind. The wind turned around (and it isn't even E2NB weekend) and blew lightly from the East. And Mary felt the need to do a longer run. What with the wind direction we would set off from home and run to N Queensferry, catching the train home. Mary set off at 1pm. I had mild dread as I was anticipating pain. I packed a change of clothes so I wouldn't catch my death as the cold wind blew through N Queensferry while I stood in soggy clothes. I carried a litre of juice and various snacks for the train home. I imagined I'd be running too swiftly to eat on the hoof. So with quite a heavy backpack I left the flat at 1.33. We had roughly calculated if I was running 2.5 to 3 minutes faster per mile than Mary we'd meet somewhere around 2.30pm. I'd either run on and back, or slow down and run with Mary. 

The first 6 or 7 miles passed without incident running the cycle path to the coast at Granton and then along the front and Silverknowes to Cramond. I took no photos and each mile was just over or just under 7 minutes. Given my target for Stirling is sub3 and I won't be wearing a backpack with a change of clothes, and a litre of fluids, I felt this was a good pace. I was sweating a lot and it did feel tough but that was the point. Mile 7 I did an 8.15 but that included the Salvesen Steps and talking to a couple who wondered were they (the steps) safe. I was just finishing mile 8, (58mins dead) by now on the Almond riverside trails, when I saw Mary's fluro top ahead. I was surprised as I had miscalculated we would meet nearer mile 10. We spoke for a minute or 2 and I suggested I do 2 laps of the airport loop to Mary's one and then catch her along the Dalmeny coastline. I was thinking that would add 4 miles to the total but I was forgetting that the 4 miles of the airport circuit is 2 miles of riverside trails and 2 of the square beside the airport. I would only be adding 2 miles. It was a while before my addled brain worked this out. Mary seemed more relaxed and not particularly bothered about pushing the pace. I was kind of frothing and keen to push on. Poor fool!

There were a few pretty moments I noticed as the sweat ran into my eyes but I kept the camera away most of the time and focussed on running. The riverside trails have been squishy mud but are now baked solid so you have to be careful with foot placement and avoid turning an ankle. I expected to catch Mary coming off the second lap of the circuit, however there was no sign and I realised I was probably slowing as she remained at a constant pace. I watched the miles drop to 7.30s and worse when there was hills.

Back down the Almond and I was falling to bits. Not even doing 7m/m downhill. I stopped at the Cramond Brig car park and paused the suunto. Just a fraction short of 14 miles and I was pooped; utterly butterly; wrecked. I took my pack off and fished out 2 paracetamols. I glugged them down then set off up the steep hill towards Dalmeny. At the top of the wee hill there was the fluro top of Mary who I think had also just taken two painkillers. We hugged and agreed that running was a shit sport and maybe cycling would be much better - watching some cyclists cruise by at twice the speed and half the discomfort. That was the last of the fast miles. And an excellent reminder of what happens if you push the pace early on in a marathon. Your legs seize up, you get aches all over - in your arms! everywhere! and you get hotspots on your feet and perhaps blisters. The rest of the run is a nightmare and you end up with a slower time than Ron Hill. 

I was also freezing. I had warm dry clothes in my pack but was saving them as a treat for after the running bit. If I put them on now, I'd likely warm up too much and soak them through. So I ran in t-shirt with no hat and gloves, my hands (and ears) yellow and stiff with the cold, lips and nose blue. I had to run ahead to get a bit warmer but once into the trees and out of the breeze, began to feel better. And the painkillers kicked in.

And I got the camera out, and resigned myself to double figure miles and almost began to enjoy the run. The blossom in the trees was lovely and we would have the majesty of the bridge(s) at the far end. Some ways along the coast Mary proposed we hit Dalmeny station rather than cross the bridge to North Queensferry. I had already opted for that in my head a long time ago although I also realised my extra 2 miles would probably mean I'd hit 20 by Dalmeny, the round figure being the minimum amount required to be able to think of this as a decent long run.

It's funny how I have no problem knocking out a 30+ miler every month but the thought of a tempo 20 miler was considerably more scary. I knew it would involve much more pain. Long slow runs are easy by comparison. Which is why I think you have to do a few longer tempo runs as part of marathon build up. I think it was Mary who incited us to run Stirling. I would point the blamey finger of blame, if it were not that she isn't having any more fun than I am.

last of the daffs

what is this?

Since we now had no reason not to dawdle we had a little explore up to this unusual entrance on the side of a hill. Difficult to imagine what it could be used to store at such a distance from the big house. Explosives? Mary christened it the Fritzl house.

saw this vessel on Wednesday heading up the forth, a Crude Oil Tanker 333m long
you can follow her progress here!

always rivetting

Mary bounds up the stairs.

oh! Glad that's done, let's go home for some late lunch!
The last mile down from the station was Mary's fastest of the day.

I hope to return and do a better job of this route before 21st May. It was useful reminder though and hopefully burned off a few pounds of flab, if nothing else. Nurse Hunter painlessly drained the blister on my foot and now, 6 hrs later, you would hardly know I nearly killed myself earlier. Onwards and upwards!

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