Friday, 14 April 2017

wednesdaying like it was saturday

Mary had the week mostly off and due to one thing and another (mainly bone-idleness) so did I. I think it was too windy or maybe too sunny to paint outdoors. So she asked me along to do an 8 miler at Gullane. Of course I obliged. 

And almost immediately we bump into Roly and David, doing a run to NB. In almost exactly the place we last bumped into Roly. Good to see we aren't the only ones enjoying the weather.

However the wind wasn't best for the butterflies. They would take off from just nearby as you ran past but a couple of seconds later they would be 80 yards down the path on the strong breeze. I got tired of chasing them and just got this peacock midair as it swirled around us before heading off rapidly. Not the best day for wildlife photos.

antelope on the savannah

Mary described this boundary string as scrambled egg and cheese.
It is the polite birds-nesting-over-there discouragement. 

This reminded me we forgot to invite Steve along as he is now retired - the lucky b*st*rd!


 A couple of years back Mary said that wee pond (between the first woods and the second woods near the willows would be choc full of tadpoles. It wasn't. However word must have got out as a couple of weeks ago it was heaving with frogspawn, and is now tadpole central. The water level is fast descending and hopefully they can mature before evaporating.

The dappled light and lack of wind in the woods made it feel marvelous. Mary stopped to stretch her yoga and for a Van Morrison type healing moment. It has certainly begun.

As part 2 of the healing Mary went paddling. Not as baltic as 2 weeks ago it proved to be bearable above ankles. However we didn't have a towel so I carried M from the shoreline (having not felt the need to paddle myself) to a log on which to stand to get the minimum amount of sand on feet before using buff to dry toes then putting shoes back on. To much admiration from passing dog-walking wifeys.

Obviously a couple of days catching up on sleep and I was feeling far too full of it. I had read Jim's email about the joys of the Carnethy Handicap series, and how it epitomised the best of hill-racing. I knew if I ducked the first one I could easily miss the whole series and had thought I should go along. I have just had my bike serviced (another story!) so thought it would be fun to cycle past Hillend to Boghall, do the run and then bike home. I think the sun must have zapped my brain earlier as my thoughts on getting home (filthy and knackered) in the dark after 9pm were "what the hell was I thinking?"

I should have probably got a lift up the road with someone but I didn't want to be obliged to go to the pub afterwards and anyway it's only about 45 mins cycle. All be it mostly up-hill using the same legs that have already done 8 miles. And that hill up to Fairmilehead. Jeez. I arrived just before 7pm.

The event started at 7 but was a handicap so I only started at 7.31.54 with a view to taking 47 minutes. Times are calculated using C5 results and a bit of hocus pocus. I was leaving a minute after Jim and within a couple of secs of Euan so hoped to be able to keep up with Euan and maybe catch Jim. If I even saw Jim it was only in the far distance cresting a hill I was at the bottom of. Luckily there was a regular stream of folk to keep me on the right track. If all else failed I had a map in my pocket. 

And Jim is right: it is hill running stripped down. Numbers were given out but most folk knew most folk there. The course was tough but fair - after a bit of a mile-long drag up Allermuir there was a long pleasing descent for 2 miles then another hike up hill. Followed by a descent to the start. I actually got ahead of Euan for a bit but no idea by how much as I was only aware of near heart attack conditions to the top of Allermuir. I enjoyed the downhill trails and was keen to catch up on those in front as I was unsure of the line up Castlelaw. I caught Gordon as I was caught by Liam, who bounded by and off into the distance. I could see folk up ahead but not catch them. When I got to the red flag I was slightly disorientated and it was handy the guy behind knew the line off. Even though it was the skyline route in reverse. (I should have recognised this.) Then Euan went past and I tried to follow him down the rapidly deteriorating path. 

The path became tussocky, then pretty much just a heather stomp and I began to wonder had we come the right way? I could see a runner way ahead but on a decent path. We climbed 2 fences or the same fence twice, and then hit the floating bog. Don't know why it is called this as I went over and up to my knees in brown filth that looked about 40% animal in origin. Euan got 15 yards ahead and continued to increase his lead. I was glad I hadn't carried the camera, although the last part of the run was on gravelly hard pack. I looked at my watch and it was well over 50mins. I was supposed to be doing 47something. Nearly everyone was ahead and already finished. I felt knackered and thought rather than hang about and get cold (did I mention there was a cutting cold wind the whole time we were running, esp at the hill tops?) I would jump on my bike and get going before hypothermia set in. I was glad I had taken a couple of extra tops although I could have done with a few wet wipes and a change of shoes.

There may be results somewhere, I don't really care. It's the taking part that counts isn't it? The following morning I had to cycle back up that road to Fairmilehead (with a back pack and 2 panniers full of heavy painting kit) to do a job at Swanston. Noticeably I didn't make wintervals. Just as well there's normally only one weekend per week.

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