Monday, 31 December 2018

Eskapade 2018

23rd December
This is an annual or nearly annual Carnethy bunfight as an alternative to Christmas shopping or any other foolish seasonal malady. About 24 (mostly) off road miles from the mouth of the Esk in Musselburgh to Carlops, where it is still in it's infancy, just a baby river Esk. There are all sorts of traditional trespassings and Christmas lectures and wall climbing and sewer surfings. The main pack set off at 8.30 led by Fearless Willie G, pretty much first light, rumour has it. Another faster group set off an hour later then finally the proper slug-a-beds like myself only set off at 10am, a more civilised hour.

I hadn't realised the medium group were already set off and it was only Nasher, Nick and I in the last group. I was hoping I wouldn't be the back marker, but I was. I was still in recovery from some throat/cold bugs and could do without a thrashing up the riverside. But there was no eskape. Also I probably ran the furthest distance of the day. I ran 3 miles to meet Nick on the prom and had covered 6 by the time we set off from Goosepoop St at the estuary.

So not as many pics taken today. I did take the good camera as no rain was threatening, but as the sun didn't really come out much, neither did the camera. Also, every time I got the camera out and stopped for a photo the other 2 disappeared into the distance. I would wipe the tears and snot away and struggle onwards to catch up. Never mind only another twenty-odd miles to go!

I hadn't noticed this seasonally apt road until now,
passed on the way to the Prom.

Of the 2 sides of the Mussel sculpture past Joppa this,
the Northern facing one, is far better.

DyukaBucloo estate

outside toilet

visually this is one of the highlights of the run,
but unfortunately my models hared on without slowing

We caught up with the main body of runners somewhere about Roslyn. I got chatting to a couple of folk and when I looked around my team (so much for teamwork) had ditched me, taking a lower path and skipping ahead. I hurried along and caught them while they were considering a diversion where there had been (I think) a bit of landslip. We ran on (still no sign of the mid-group who had forged ahead) and came to first one, and then another junction. Both times we took the trail leading down towards the river and both times were rewarded with roots, jumps, scrambles and slippery rock clambers. This proved more fun than it sounds though I didn't want to get the camera out for the worst of it as it would have been easy to either do a long slide into the river or clatter over the green and slimy rocks. There was an ambience of damp that slicked everything with a high fall potential though the precipitous drops focussed your attention and nobody took a header. Not even Nick who sports Hokas so old they are polished to bowling-shoe slick. On the return to the main trail from the second riverside excursion we caught up with the back of the main pack again!

Again I got chatting (it is a social run!) and again Nick and Graham disappeared off, though this time trying to keep up with an Amber-powered-Gordon who has embraced a new and speedy lifestyle thanks to harnessing doggy power. I began to feel very weary on the last couple of miles into Penicuik, a sign I hadn't been eating enough. On the way to the insalubrious Royal Hotel I bought a large unbranded can of energy drink which I diluted with water in my back pack reservoir. That and a couple of paracetamols worked miracles. Or maybe it was 2 juicy sausages in a white roll. Ever since sausages were deemed cancerous we have not had them in the house never mind white bread rolls. It was totally delicious and may just have been the fuel my flagging reserves needed. I also spent more time standing than sitting at the Royal. In the past I have sat down and chatted and upon re-starting running found it almost impossible. This time I felt ok after a short while. Note to self for next time: take a dry top. Horrible sitting around in damp clothes eating sausages.

The medium group and the fast group joined forces and there were about 9 of us with Ross up the front breaking the trail. He seemed to know the route and we left by a different way to any I can remember although it quickly merged into the familiar path. Good to have Michelle along in our group, the only female, but surely capable of out-running any of us as she does the most gnarly ultra races almost every weekend. 

After a while the lack of light and tiredness meant I didn't get the camera out. I found the uneven tussocky ground less troubling than on previous eskapades but no idea if it was easier going or just the lucky sausages were doing it for me. Probably paracetamol and caffeine combo. Graham reckoned it was the fastest we had ever got finished - still daylight - which was handy as he had a dinner to go to that evening. His good wife Mrs. Nasher drove out to The Allan Ramsay where we were rehydrating and gave Nick and I a lift into town where we very quickly caught a bus that took me all the way home. Final mileage was exactly 30 miles. So although I finished the TB runs in November I inadvertently did 2 in December. It was great fun seeing everyone and chatting esp those who no longer live in Edinburgh, and the run was quite nice too. Highly recommended!

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Binning Wood Festive Cross Country

This was the second time Megan W has organised this event that I am aware of. Last time I attended was 2016 and I did it as the final 5 miles of a 40 mile run from Edinburgh. I had met Claire off the Linlithgow train at Haymarket and we covered the 40 miles to mark her 40th birthday. This year she was repeating the trek hoping to clock up 42 miles but aiming to do it an hour earlier as the kick off was 1pm, not 2pm like last time.

PB, Nick and Jack his son

I had hoped to join her but the week prior I picked up a sore throat which slowly matured into a cold before leaving the building. I reckoned a 42 miler wouldn't help it, so backed out of the warm up but felt reasonable enough to go along for the 5miles of trails and paths round Binning Wood, a favourite venue (and burial site of Ali B, my dad.)

raffle prizes sparkling, Mary's photo

We arrived plenty early as there was limited parking and being a short and fast course we felt a bit of a warm up was called for. Mary jogged round the woods in her jacket, while Nick and I had the good sense to take ours off and run in running gear. The course was altered from last time and felt even better, following some similar lines (being effectively 2 laps of the perimeter) but also some new trails and bits I'd never seen. Although it was a bit overcast to start with it, and a bit too cold to stand around, it was really pretty good running weather.

photo Mary

photo Mary - you can tell we are having fun!

Hadn't seen this pond before - good potential dragonfly zone for Summer

Megan gives us race chat

Stuart on the right taking pics

I carried the camera as the sun was coming out and everything began to look lovely. Just the B camera as there was lots of slipping mud. It was a bit slow to focus at times. There were lots of kids underfoot at the start which made things a bit tricky until the crowd thinned out. There was also a healthy mix of Dunbars and HBTs at the sharp end.

Stuart's photo

Me using my camera to bash the kids out the way

The HBTs came past in a tight knit group although I think
Phil dropped out with a sore leg or pulled something.

Nick up ahead in Dunbar top

The hill.

Just towards the end of lap 1 was a bit of a climb before descending to the finish. I was pleased to keep Nick in sight as he has been going well of late. He increased his lead in the second lap. I could make excuses about sore throats etc. but actually I was really enjoying the low key racing and trying to take pics at the sunny bits, more than kill myself keeping up with those ahead.

I said hello to Alastair when I ran past the burial area over to the right here. I also took lots of pics and was hoping he'd make an appearance in between the shoogles and blurry shadows. Nothing came out that you could post on the internet as positive evidence of the afterlife interacting, however Mary did find a couple of photos taken in sparkle mode on her camera and she has never accidentally or otherwise used that setting till today. (See raffle table photo above.) So that is positive proof (if proof were needed) of  life (and a sense of humour) after death, I think you'll agree!

2nd lady Lisa caught up with me halfway round the final lap as we were approaching the muddy track with puddles and mud grooves and I let her have first choice of line. She seemed to slow down and I nearly went my length running on the less desirable wet grassy bit over to the left. OK no more Mr Nice Guy and I ran on ahead, surprised Lisa (clearly a better runner but without as much hubris) didn't keep up. I was glad to cross the line in just over 33 mins. 

2nd 50, 1st 60, 1st 50

Santa, Wright?

Claire (and her crew) not only managed to arrive with about 3 or 4 minutes to spare, she also managed to come third in her age group which is pretty good for 40+ miles before 1pm, then a 5 mile cross country. She looked remarkably fresh. Well done: we should all run our age in birthday miles. Hmmm 57 for me next October. Might be a challenge.

So another great run in superb weather and lots of money raised (£1164) by Megan and her team (excellent homebakes) for Dementia Research, a fantastic charity. A real seasonal delight in these dark days! Lots of friendly faces and a great venue and course. Can't praise it highly enough!