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!