On Friday night I decided to try and run home from work, or at least run as far as I could manage. I work in the centre of Edinburgh and live in south Perthshire, which I reckoned would be around 50 miles. My planned route was to head straight out the A8 past the airport, across the footbridge over the motorway, down towards Broxburn, up the back road to Winchburgh, onto the canal path past Winchburgh, Linlithgow and Polmont, then off the canal and down the road to Falkirk, into Larbert, up the back road to Stirling service station, through Stirling city centre, through Cornton, through Bridge of Allan, through Dunblane, then up the back road to Braco past Kinbuck. I had a number of 'escape points' - I could get a train at Linlithgow, Polmont, Falkirk or Larbert if I didn't feel like doing any more, and my car was parked in Dunblane.
The first few hours went quite well. I covered about 6 miles an hour for the first 16 miles, then stopped for 20 minutes for a bowl of soup and coffee in a nice bistro just on the canal before Linlithgow. Despite the fact that a) it was Friday night b) I was smelly and sweaty and c) it was almost full of people having supper, they made me very welcome. I reached the centre of Falkirk (26 miles) in a bit under 5 hours. A lot of drunk people were coming out of the pubs and I received some encouraging comments from a few young ladies - thanks girls, I think I have nice legs as well - then I reached Stirling service station a couple of hours later. On arriving there I was really disappointed that they didn't have any soup and left there on a bit of a low, still feeling hungry. The centre of Stirling had even more drunk people than Falkirk, although once again no-one gave me any bother. Even the police didn't take the slightest bit of interest in me, although I suspect there had a few more issues to deal with on a Friday night and it was quite reassuring to know they were around.
After 8 hours running I reached Bridge of Allan station. I was starting to feel a bit cold and hungry, it was around 2 am in the morning, and my car was parked at Dunblane, only half an hour up the road. I had done enough. I arrived at the car in Dunblane at 2.30 am and called it a day. I had been running for 8 hours 31 minutes and had covered 44 miles. Apart from a bit of a niggle behind my left knee my legs were not too bad, and I'm sure could have seen me through the 10 miles back to the house. Mentally, however, I had had enough. To run for that length of time on that type of route is hard going.
Before Friday's run I had planned to do the 24 hour race at Perth on 13 September, but I am not sure now whether I will do it or not. I had forgotten how difficult it is to run for that length of time on the roads, and going round and round a 2.1 km loop on tarmac for a full 24 hours will be mentally challenging, to say the least. As I approached Dunblane on Friday night (or more accurately Saturday morning) the thought going through my head was 'why exactly am I doing this?' I still haven't really been able to answer that question.
Before signing off I would just like to pass on my congratulations to my wife allybea, who organised a hugely successful Crieff 10k on Sunday. She would be the first to say that it was a great team effort, with everyone from the club playing their part, but she had the overall responsibility for the whole thing and deserve fantastic credit putting on such a good event. There have been a lot of nice comments about the race on various forums and blogs, so it is good to know that the runners appreciate the effort that was put in. Her full race report can be found here: www.whwracebackup.blogspot.com