Tuesday turned out considerably better than I expected. I had been considering doing a longish run. Around the 20mile mark. I had extended my unpaid leave and felt I really should be knocking out some marathon training. But Mary said she was going to do loops of Holyrood and I couldn't face that. Then she changed her mind, said she was going west and would take in the airport route. Was I interested? The forecast was pretty dull but yes I'd tag along. Just in case, I took the good camera and the end of the loaf sawn into fingers for the duckies.
The birds seemed to realise the forecasters had it wrong and there were teams of them out and about chirruping and fluttering about setting out their stalls and shouting about territories. They always seemed to be behind 3 layers of branches that would stuff one's auto-focus. In the photo below it is the emerging bulbs and not the squirrel that is the real joy. Spring is around the corner!
As we ran up the Ferry Road cyclepath to Crewe Toll the sun began to peep out
and it looked like maybe we would catch the best part of the day.
This is like those rorschach words on rocks near Archerfields:
I feel I'm nearly there but can't quite properly see the full translation.
I noticed high cirrus clouds and it was Baltic cold. Ideal conditions for nacreous clouds or sundogs. However nothing much came of it apart from this slight sundog (above) at Barnton. Normally running past the big houses there I tend to think of them as curses as much as blessings: the unending maintenance circuit of painting windows and fixing roofs. Maybe they were just looking splendid in the sunshine but I was getting big waves of envy. Until I noticed Mary wasn't behind anymore. She had already stopped twice in the first 5 miles to stretch and ease off her achy knees. Had she just turned around and gone home? I ran back up the road cursing, however she appeared again, having stopped for another leg stretch. She was in a bleak mood for the first 10 miles and it was only after we got off road round the airport circuit that she actually started to talk to me.
Next to the path down past the golf course there was a wren. I've seen lots recently, dashing about and sometimes nipping across in front of you from the bushes on one side of a narrow trail, to the other. This one was going about it's business quite close by and ignoring me so I got the camera up and zoomed in, taking loads of pics most of which were rubbish. Just before it flew off it turned and faced me (HURRAY) - I was making come hither whistling noises to get it to look at the camera. A robin also came past for a look but it hid behind too many branches and I got another hilariously bad photo. (below)
stopped for another stretch
btw that's how to grow a hedge to keep prying eyes out.
there's another house I wouldn't mind
although it looks like an animatronic
I was just hoping Mary was enjoying the run as much as myself. And that her knees were better for the ground being softer. Unfortunately much of the path along the Almond was really muddy. I was running around delighted to be out in the sun taking pics. Just about everything looked great, from ratty dead weeds to the Easyjets landing every 10mins. Just a shame about the dogs that would come hurtling past now and then, and the wall-to-wall muddy bits. And Mary's knees.
You can see the velcro-like hooks of the burrs
about 5~600 geese took off and landed across the river
always exciting as the planes roar in overhead
this wee bastard moved 4 times in quick succession
and always loads of branches between us each time: taking the piss.
new fish ladder looking good
By now we were on the homeward stretch and Mary had cheered up. We were carrying bus fares but it was looking like we wouldn't need them. On the downside the cafe below the weir was closed - looked like it closed 10 mins before we got there. On the upside there was still a last ray of sunshine near the flagpole where I planned feeding the duckies, the Black Headed Gulls. They must have been feeling the cold because they were on me in a pack before I even had the first finger of bread out and held in the air. They flew in closer formation than usual and there was a LOT of squawking and shoving. I was pleased Mary stopped for a few photos too. She set off as I was delivering the last of the bread but I gave her maybe 5 minutes before saying bye to the gulls and doing a couple of tempo miles catching Mary before the turning point of the parkrun. The gulls were outstanding, and more than prepared to work for their payout. Little hidey birds in the hawthorn take note.
I love the one-legged ones most and tend to favour them.
A last treat, a last test. There is a speed camera thingy here just along from Wardie Bay which will actually record a runner going by. If you are lucky and time your sprint so that you aren't overwhelmed by a passing car you can race to see how high you can make the speedo go. I was sprinting flat out, very near breaking point and it wasn't registering. I shouted obscenities through gasps and finally it flashed up 11 then 12, a second before I went past. It is on a slight uphill but I reckon fresh and not wearing a back pack I could get it higher. Good game. As you can see above Mary got 24mph.
We were on for 19.5 miles and talking about what would be good for late lunch. I went ahead to the Scotmid for messages, and put in an extra bit up to Annandale St to take the total over 20miles. Excellent run and Mary was pleased to defy the odds and get in a decent distance. She celebrated that evening with a beer won back in October at Manor Water hill race. It has been lying in the bottom of the fridge all this time testing me. It was, needless to say, delicious.