Sunday, February 27, 2011

Loads of running

It's been a busy weekend. 24 miles yesterday along one of the most boring routes we could find - out along the main road past the airport and on to Broxburn, then back in to Edinburgh along the canal - then a much more pleasant 12 mile run in the Pentlands today. The boring run was chosen deliberately, to give us a bit of prep on a very flat route prior to the D33, and the hilly run in the Pentlands was a good training run on tired legs. That gives me 61 miles for the week, which is my highest for ages. I need to get a few more quality sessions in, which I'll aim to do this week, but apart from that I'm really pleased with how this year's training is going.

I also managed a few holes golf yesterday afternoon at Auchterarder with my boy. That's the first time we have been able to get out this year and it was a lovely day, with hardly anyone else on the course. Neither of us had played for 6 months or so and we were both a bit rusty, but it was great to get out there.

As mentioned on my last posting, I ran the National Cross Country at Falkirk last weekend. As always I enjoyed it, even though I seem to be finishing further and further down the field - 290th this year, from around 450 finishers. I've been doing the National for almost 20 years, and looking around the start line it was great to see many of the same faces. It's like a gathering of old friends.

Finally, we had a West Highland Way Race committee meeting this week, and it's good to see that it all seems to be under control: there are less than 4 months to go now, so no doubt it will be with us in no time. It's a bit odd knowing I am not running in it this year, having done it for so long, but I have to say that I'm really enjoying the lack of 'WHW pressure' on me this time round. I'm also enjoying doing the long runs with Sandra, who is doing the race for the first time, and helping her put together her training plan for the race. I think she is exactly where she should be at this stage, and I'm looking forward to seeing her progress as she builds up the long runs over the next few months.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The 3 Hills of Edinburgh

I'm on holiday today - my body probably needed to catch up on some sleep as I slept for 13 hours solid - and I managed to persuade (birthday girl) Sandra to come out a run round 'The 3 Hills of Edinburgh'. This is the abridged version of the slightly better known '7 Hills of Edinburgh' route. The route starts from my flat, heads along the back of Craiglockhart Sports Centre and up to the top of Craiglockhart Hill, and then across to Braid Hill. It then crosses the golf course and road, heads up to the top of Blackford Hill, and follows a choice of route back to the flat in Morningside. In total it is between 6 and 7 miles, depending on the exact route chosen. Today we took the longer route back and made it up to a 7.

It is a fantastic run which, despite not leaving the centre of Edinburgh, is almost all off-road. Normally the views from each hill top are fantastic but today there was a thick fog, so no view at all. Despite that it was a thoroughly enjoyable run, and we both feel all the better for having been out there.

What else has been happening on the running front? I did a the Forfar multi-terrain half marathon a couple of weeks ago. It was a great fun event with a bit of everything - trails, roads, hills, paths and even a 200m section through a knee high river - and I felt happy enough with my 1.39 finish, even though it was a half marathon PW (personal worst) by quite some way. This Saturday it is the National Cross Country at Falkirk. I love this event. All the top runners are there, and it is a privilege to be able to take part in the same race, albeit at the other end of the field. It will be my 18th National - the first was way back in 1992, at Irvine - and it is always a great chance to catch up with many old friends, as well as take part in a very tough and testing 12k cross country. I've always thought it is an excellent training session for some of the ultras coming up, even though it may not feel approaching the end of the second lap, knowing I have to do it all again.

March will be busy with the Inverness half marathon on 13 March, followed by the D33 the following weekend. And then it will be time for the clocks to go forward - woo hoo! I've never been the biggest fan of the long dark winter nights, and I'm enjoying seeing the days getting longer and the temperatures getting a bit milder. It was light walking to work at 7.30am the other day, and still light that evening until almost 5.30pm. Before we know out we'll be able to get out on these Edinburgh hills, without a headtorch and in shorts and light top, long in to the evening. Bring it on!