Thursday, 31 January 2013

Same route different day

I forgot to update on Monday, but luckily my run this evening was on the same route so I can kill 2 birds with one blog stone...

Monday I did it during daylight, and tonight I ran it in the dark...Monday it was hell, tonight is was heaven! It's not really a surprise that Monday was tough, given my long run at the weekend but I can't help but feel I do run faster and stronger in the dark. I felt like I was flying! I was thinking how amazing it would be to be able to run at that pace for long periods, like those people who can do marathons in 3 hours. For me it would just mean being able to run further, I could start running everywhere instead of driving or cycling! Maybe I'll have to get all scientific and start timing myself! Controversial!

The route is one of my favourite short local runs as it's mostly on trail, it incorporates the river path and Lennoxlove and I don't really have to think about it, I just run. It does bug me not having the time to get out and explore new places, and I hate living somewhere where there are no forest trails to get lost in but it could be worse, I could still live in the centre of Edinburgh!!

One other thing I noticed was the difference wearing my Inov8 Roclites makes (compared to my Inov8 Terroc GTX which I've been wearing a lot recently because of the weather). My form feels so much better in the Roclites, and my feet can really feel the ground which makes such a difference. I'm really looking forward to drier weather so I can get out in my Vibram FFs and my Merrel trail gloves. I plan to do a post soon about my journey from constantly injured, pavement pounding, Asics wearing runner to where I am now. It's not a journey that everyone needs to make, some people can run on roads and wear regular running shoes quite happily, but maybe my story will help someone who happens to drop by who may be having the same problems I did.

For now, I'm feeling pretty tired and so I'll leave you with some pics from Monday (none from tonight as it was dark, cold and wet) and my route...

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Saturday, 26 January 2013

No fun run

I had been looking forward to doing a 15 (ish) mile run today but a combination of factors meant that my run was not as lovely as I'd hoped.

Firstly I'd ordered a new phone yesterday and it was due to be delivered today. I don't have much fancy tech, and since phone contracts are mostly now 24 months my new phone is always a big deal for me. I knew if I wasn't in to sign for it it would end up back in their depot on the West side of Edinburgh (i.e. miles away!) but I also knew it would eventually get to me on Monday and that's only a few days extra to wait.

Matt, Ruby and the dog disappeared to go sledging, and after an hour or so of pottering about I decided I'd have to be an idiot to wait in for a phone on such a beautiful day. As Matt had taken the van I was forced to do another local run, which isn't always the most inspiring, and within the first few miles I started to think I may have been better off staying in. The paths were so icy! I ended up running in a snowy field, which is no fun especially when the snow is melting and there's a thick layer of mud underneath. After Abbey Bridge things improved and I soon got into the zone. The sun was shining and I was pretty warm despite the low temperature.

East Lothian Council have decided in their wisdom to close the Tyne path as there is a tiny section where the path has slipped into the river. Not only is closing the path ridiculous given the section in question is easily negotiated without any danger whatsoever, but it's also technically unlawful to close a piece of the countryside in Scotland. Our wonderful Access laws mean us Scots are entitled to roam wherever we like (except for the land directly surrounding a private dwelling) and providing we don't cause any criminal damage. So ignoring the signs and 'warning' tape on I plodded.

The path was ridiculously muddy in places and the mud was slippier than the icy sections. It didn't take long for my legs to start feeling heavy. I had planned on running back the same way but I soon discounted that idea and decided that I'd head back to the town on road. As usual there wasn't another soul on the path but I did see several swans, goosander, buzzard and lots of deer tracks. Opposite Hailes Castle there were some enormous swan footprints in the snow. They were bigger than my hand!

I headed (carefully) over the slimy wooden footbridge that leads to the castle and took a left onto the narrow road that leads to East Linton. I have to admit I felt relieved to be off the mud and just run without worrying if I was going to land on my arse. My relief didn't last long as when I eventually reached the farm house at the top of a very steep hill leading towards Traprain Law I was back on the muddiest, churned up track ever! I ended up walking that section as I couldn't get any grip. I used the time to have some chocolate chip brioche which I'd stuffed in my pack.

I had planned on running up Traprain Law, but it was pure white and I thought it would be slippy and potentially quite dangerous so I reluctantly took the decision to run around the Law on the road. I'd only done 7 miles at this point so I knew I would be on the road for quite some time and that didn't fill me with much joy, especially as I was wearing my Inov8 terrocs. I finally got into the groove, trying to enjoy the sunshine and the spectacular views of the Lammermuirs. I was glad to be heading home and I somehow managed to tag on a few extra miles at the end of my run as I knew I'd not reach the 15 mile mark if I went straight home. By the time I was a mile from the house I was shuffling more than running! The run had really taken it's toll!

As suspected Parcelforce had tied to deliver my phone when I was out, so I'll just have to be patient and wait until Monday. To be honest I was so busy dreamin about a hot shower and some food that the lack of new phone didn't bother me too much.

In the end I only managed 13.9 miles, but with the snow, ice and mud I have to say it felt more like 20! Not the best run I've ever done, but I guess it can't always be fun! Still glad I went out though as it was such a glorious day...

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Therapy run

I don't know about anyone else but for me there's nothing better than a run when you're feeling grumpy/fragile/sad. I was feeling all of those emotions earlier today and could sense a rather miserable evening ahead. Luckily Ruby was going to swimming lessons with Granny so as soon as they waved goodbye I was upstairs and into my running gear and Nethy was harnessed up.

I knew the pavements were slushy (and therefore slippy) and it was really dark, which is not a great combination, but as soon as I hit the road I had a big grin on my face! A few miles would be all I needed, so we ran down to the river and across the Stevenson Bridge onto the pitch black trail which heads to Lennoxlove. There was still a lot of snow around, but it's melting fast. Still enough to throw snowballs at Nethy though!!

 By the time our 3.8 miles was done I felt happy, relaxed and strong. It's amazing how exercise can lift your mood, and for me running is the best form of exercise because it takes me into the great outdoors where I can clear my head and do what we were designed to do.

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Snow run

I love when the weekend rolls around because not only does it mean there's no work or school but it also means I can get out and run in the daytime! It started snowing again on Friday night so I knew I'd want to get out on Saturday but I didn't think the CaniX run at Vogrie would be an option as I don't like driving the van in bad weather. In a way it was lucky there was a mini blizzard outside our bedroom window when we woke up were woken up by Ruby at 8am, as it meant I didn't even have to think about whether to risk it or not, I just wouldn't go!

A more leisurely morning ensued and by the time I got up and started thinking about a run Matt and Ruby had already decided they would be going sledging, so the morning was free for me to do my own thing. I swithered about taking Nethy as I wanted to do at least 10 miles, but it seems daft to go without her as she would need to go out for a walk later anyway,  so we harnessed up and out we went into the snow (which was now falling lightly from the sky).

Running in snow is a lot like running in sand! The effort is always doubled and the cold usually makes your body work harder too. I have to wear my Inov8 Terroc GTXs for this type of weather and although they are amazing for keeping your feet dry and toasty and gripping the slippy ground they are very bulky and heavy (compared to my Roclites or my other minimal shoes).

I decided not to go too far from Haddington in case the weather got too bad, so I did one of our routes and added a loop. It was a mixture of trail and road, but the roads were very quiet ones so there was a lot of snow on them which made a nice change from tarmac. Nethy was free running for most of the way but I had her on her line on the roads and my only issue with these long lines is that they get in the way if the dog isn't pulling at full length. Sometimes I'd just hold the slack like a lead but eventually I hooked the carabiner directly onto the main body of the harness (rather than the mini line that extends from the waist part) so this shortened it to about the right length for the distance Nethy was in front of me. There was no way I wanted her to pull at full pelt for 10 miles as she would have been exhausted! It is great being hands free though and at no point did I feel like I wanted to revert back to a normal lead.

By the time we got home the sky was even darker and both of us were tired. Luckily I'd made some soup so I wolfed that down and felt almost human again. I was glad to get out for a longer run as mostly I've been doing short sessions and because I'm a pretty slow runner Nethy can cope with that distance no problem. It was nice to have the company as we hardly saw another soul when we were out!

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Thursday, 17 January 2013

New gear and chilblains!

I haven't been out since our CaniX run on Monday. It's hard to fit a run in during the week, especially in the winter when it's dark and icy. I'd fancied an 8-10 miler after work today, as Ruby was going to her Granny's straight from school, but I'd forgotten our cat Cuba was due a visit to the vet. By the time I got back there was only a bit of light in the sky so I got changed, put together all the new CaniX gear that had arrived today and set off with the mutt...

The route is one I do a lot when I don't have a lot of time. It combines trail with road and as we run out of the town the street lights disappear so I need my headtorch. The route is shown below so I won't go into much detail other than to say I was flying! I'm not sure if it's cause I've been doing a fair amount of running recently (albeit quite short runs) or if it has something to do with me enjoying the dark, but whatever it is I'm not complaining!

The thing I really didn't enjoy was getting home and having throbbing, painful toes. I have been getting mild chilblains on and off for the past few months and they are really painful. I believe it's to do with poor circulation and despite the fact that I wear a couple of pairs of socks and mostly wear my goretex shoes when it's cold I don't seem to be able to avoid them. Need to investigate further as it's becoming a regular occurrence :(

Anyhoo...onto the new gear. I knew I had to return the stuff I borrowed at the weekend, so I decided to get a couple of harnesses and a line of our own. It's money well spent as not only will it inspire me to go out more with Nethy, but the harness and line can be used by Matt too.

I did a fair bit of research, and for Nethy I chose this shoulder harness in red.

Shoulder harnesses are becoming more popular than the X back type as they use all the power from the dog's front end and don't put any pressure on the back. They are especially good for dogs with back injuries, so I figured that since Nethy's back end is all pinned together it would be the best type for her. It fit really well around the neck and chest and the reflective strips were great when she was off the line at the end of our run.

The lines all looked pretty similar to me, so I decided to go for one with a cool design! The other difference from the one I borrowed is it's very light and as it's a flat fabric strap with a bungee it's very comfortable to hold when not fully extended.

Lastly a harness for me, and as I really liked the one I'd borrowed I decided just to get the same one. I love the fact that the force is exerted through your bum and hips rather than your back. It's also super light and has leg straps and the mains padded strap which lies at the top of your bum is held in place by a very thin and lightweight strap which fastens around your waist. This is much better for me than the bulky waist bands, especially as I have quite a short body and a less than flat belly!

I'll post a better review of the gear once we've tried them out a few times.

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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Night time CaniX

Last night Nethy and I wrapped up warm, packed our hiviz gear and lights and headed off to Dalkeith Country Park to meet the CaniX group.

I was nervous when I arrived as I knew only a few of the people I'd met on Saturday were going to be there, and quite a large group was waiting at the gates - lit up like Christmas trees!! I needn't have worried about being a newbie, everyone was very friendly and I chatted with a few people while we waited. There were a few others who'd never been out with the group before, so that was reassuring.

I asked if someone usually hangs near the back of the group as I'd never been on the trails in the Country Park and as it was pitch black I had a real fear of getting lost. I was assured that there would be someone keeping an eye on the back runners plus there were a couple of people in the group walking with their dogs and they would cut across the course to count us as we passed.

The pace was very fast as we set off! I'm used to running in the dark with my headtorch, but usually Nethy is free running and I plod along looking for hazards like pot holes (and chainsaw wealding maniacs!) This was quite different as I was attached to Neth and she was raring to go at the start, so I just took a deep breath and hoped I wouldn't fall flat on my face. Unfortunately she stopped for a poo after 100 yards and as I collected it  I could see people disappearing into the dark. No hanging about for me then, I sprinted after them worried I'd be left behind. I caught up with a small group and stayed with them quite happily, even though the pace was faster than I usually run. I don't know if it was the darkness or the fact I was running with people and didn't want to lose face, but I certainly didn't feel fazed by the pace.

I did manage to chat to a few people, but it wasn't as easy as it had been on Saturday mostly cause we were all concentrating on not falling into one of the many potholes! The run was over before I knew it which was disappointing. It was only 3.2 miles and I would have been happy to go around again (slightly slower this time!). No-one else seemed bothered though so we headed back to our cars. After a quick chat and a look at a few harnesses and lines Neth and I headed home. Despite the short distance I think it was worth the drive as it was so much fun and running fast with a group is going to get me fitter :)

It's really nice to have another focus for my running. I won't always be running with Nethy so it won't be all about CaniX from now on, but I have to say that I think this will become a big part of my life. I've already looked up some races we can do. As some of you know I'm not big on racing, I don't really see the point as I'm in it for the fun and the freedom not for the glory or the medal or the time. CaniX races seem different though. For a start they're pretty much always on trails, in parks or XC (cause you don't want your dog running on roads too much as it'll wear out their paws) and also my focus would be on Nethy and not on how quickly we'd finish. We shall see...

If anyone wants more info on this fun sport check out these links:

canisports scotland
cani-cross uk

No photos cause of the dark, but here's the route..

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Saturday, 12 January 2013

Our first CaniX run

As it was such a beautiful morning, and because I was up early enough, Nethy and I decided to get our gear on and drive to Vogrie Country Park for the beginners Canicross Scotland session.

I run with Nethy all the time and so although I was interested in CaniX I figured I was already doing it, so why bother going along to join a club? But I'm really glad we did! Quite a large group had turned up, some regulars and some new. We were given a form (disclaimer) to say we were responsible for our own safety and that the group leaders are not PTs or dog trainers. I paid £1 and was given a dog harness, bungee line and waist harness to try out. I usually run with a regular dog lead and whenever possible Nethy gets off her lead. The point about CaniX is that you're running with your dog leading you, so it's always on a long line (part of which is like a bungee cord so you don't get yanked about as the dog increases it's pace). The line is attached at one end to your dog's harness and the other end is attached to you via a waist harness. This effectively means you are running hands free while still being attached to your dog.

The beginners went into a field next to the car park and had a practise run. It was rather amusing to begin with as Nethy was very excited and just wanted to jump up and try to bite the line! She is not great around other dogs and I was worried she'd be stressed out by the whole experience, but I could tell straight away that she was having fun. After a few lengths of the field we set off on a 2km loop around the park on some very nice trails. Apart from a poo stop and a scary moment when I thought she might pull me into the stream she did brilliantly! She ran the full length of the line and listened to my commands.

CaniX has a set of commands that originate from the ones used by mushers leading sled dogs. Some examples are 'hike on'  which means 'go' - this one was good for me cause when Nethy hears me shouting 'Go' she always has a mad turn, so not ideal for running in a pack! Others are 'hike hike' which is 'go faster', 'on by' - go past an interesting dog/person/object, 'gee' - turn right and 'haw' - turn left. Of course you can use any commands you want, but I like the idea of Nethy running to the same commands as sled dogs.

We were all grinning like Cheshire cats when we got back to the car park. It was quite a thrill running with a pack of humans and their dogs! Some people went home at this point, but I decided to go round a longer (5k) loop with some of the others. This included a woman called Viv and her husband Ali, who are also from Haddington. They have 5 dogs...2 Malamutes and 3 Huskies! Of course I was in love with every one of them, and it has made me want a Malamute even more than before. There were 4 of us, and Viv and I were quite well matched fitness wise, so we ran together with Husky 'Storm' running out front with Nethy. I have never seen Nethy look so happy. She was shoulder to shoulder with the other dog and didn't bat an eyelid!

I've never run in a group. I'm a solitary runner so this was well outside my comfort zone too. I thought that because the dogs were with us it would be less intimidating, and I was right. I did run faster than I normally would on the first lap, but that's not a bad thing. I have to say I really enjoyed it, and the people were very friendly. Viv's husband is planning a few ultra runs this year, so that should help inspire me too.

On Monday night we'll go and meet the group in Dalkeith Country Park for a headtorch run, which should be great fun! As expected I've been online looking at harnesses and lines as I loved running hands free. It would be ideal when we're in the hills and there are sheep around. I also had a quick look at Malamute puppies for sale! Nethy needs a little pack of her own!

All round a very good experience, and something quite different for me and the dog :)

Friday, 11 January 2013

Caught short on the railway walk!

Last night I'd had a great idea that involved getting up early and heading off into the Pentlands to run with Nethy. I thought Matt could take Ruby to school and my parents could pick her up. I was quite excited! Unfortunately my plan unravelled when I found out my folks couldn't manage pick up. I was actually pretty peeved and couldn't think what else I'd like to do. I only have a 3 hour window so the Lammermuirs would have been cutting it fine, and the thought of a local run just didn't float my boat. I set out my running stuff and decided to plan my route in the morning.

Unfortunately after another late night of reading (on book 7 of True Blood on my Kindle...can't..stop...reading!) I felt in no fit shape to do anything. I very rarely have a free Friday morning, and the weather was awful, so I had visions of me curled up on our new chais longue (yes I said chais longue!) with my kindle, the fire on, a cup of tea and Eric and Sookie for company. Luckily I talked myself into my running kit and ran down to school with Ruby and the dog.

From there I decided on a simple run along the Longniddry railway walk, turning off at Cotterburn car park, and then heading on the road towards the Garelton hills where we joined a VERY muddy track which heads East. Then back down to Haddington via the equally muddy shelter belts path. The first few miles were hell! I was plodding, feeling sick and my stomach was churning. I almost gave up and walked home, but I'm not a quitter. I may be a slow runner but one thing I can happily say is that when I set my mind to doing a certain distance I always get there in the end. I was glad to have Nethy for company, as I can chat/moan to her and not look entirely mental if someone sees me.

At mile 4 my stomach was not happy. I'd had cereal before I left the house, thinking (foolishly) that I might actually run fast enough today to need the carbs (I dabble in glycogen depletion running so often run on empty, so to speak). I slowed down even more, and started looking around to see if anyone was nearby. Thankfully the railway walk on a Friday morning is not a busy route and only one man had passed me and I could see there was no-one up ahead, so I swerved into the bushes, apologised to the dog (who wondered what I was up to!) and did my business! TMI?? I guess probably, but this is a running blog and we trail runners are well versed in pulling down our running tights and ducking into the undergrowth when the need arises. You urban road runners should try it sometime it's very liberating, although I don't think the Meadows or Leith Links counts as trail, so I wouldn't recommend giving it a go there!

Lightening my load certainly perked me up. I felt much better and the rest of the run was actually rather pleasant. 8 miles completed and I actually managed to be back home in time to shower and still have time for the cup of tea, chais longue and some True Blood. Braw!

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Monday, 7 January 2013

Getting into the winter groove (again)

I was back at work today, which was hellish. Most people think that being an assistant chocolatier is a dream job but I can tell you it's not! Being back did focus my mind on trying to find something I enjoy (which pays better) in 2013.

It was very tempting not to bother running tonight. I got home and since Ruby had a friend over I sat at the fire with a cup of tea and my kindle (True Blood book 6 - can't put it down!!) and thought that I could easily just put pjs on and have a nap! But luckily guilt (and the fact that my belly is way too big for my liking at the moment) meant that by the time Matt got home from work I was dressed in my running gear, and ready to head out.

Nethy came with me, both of us looking ridiculous in our hi viz vests, and red bike lights. I also had my head torch on, which I wear at the back of my head while I'm running through the town so I don't look completely freakish! We did a couple of miles on road out to the housing estate on the West side of Haddington and then turned onto the pitch black Tyne River path. Even though I have a head torch it's still very spooky by the river. There are no lights at all on the path, and because it had been raining there were lots of puddles which I just didn't see in time, so I pretty much ran through them all!

I love to light up the river just in case there's an otter slinking on the banking, but so far I've never managed to catch sight of one. I did disturb some sleepy ducks, which is a shame! I turned onto the Stevenson bridge and then ran on the trail which leads toward the Burns monument and then on to Bolton. We crossed the road and ran into the grounds of Lennoxlove house. There are several residential houses in the grounds, so there were some signs of life, but passing the empty farm buildings did freak me out (again!). We missed our turning and ended up almost running right into the huge stately home, which was a bit of a shock, but we doubled back on ourselves and continued running out onto the main road.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful, as we were back in streetlights. It was very mild tonight and I was sweating buckets when I got back. Nethy seemed very tired and I'm worried she's feeling under the weather. Will let her rest for the next few days. I did some push ups, some plank and some squats then I scoffed a bowl of the tofu noodle soup I'd made before I went out. Very glad I got out now. There's still a lot of dark nights up ahead and now I'm back at work I need to get out when I can, even if it is uninspiring runs around the town. At least the darkness adds an element of adventure. You don't see the hills and I seem to run faster, so that's pretty good!

No photos for obvious reasons, but a route map to add a bit of colour. Wish the MMR people would sort the distance markers!

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Sunday, 6 January 2013

Glentress Forest run with dog

Yesterday we decided to head to Glentress forest outside Peebles. Matt would take Ruby and her best pal Rudie (yes Ruby..Rudie does get confusing!) onto the bike trails and I would run the 'Tower Trail' with Nethy. It's always a tough decision to make between biking and running, but when I'm given the chance to run in such a beautiful forest I find it hard to refuse.

We parked at the Buzzard's nest car park, which is an easier starting point for the girls (and me!). It was very busy and I was happy to see so many young kids out with their folks. After a bit of faffing around with my gaiters and my backpack, and trying to stop Nethy tying herself in knots around the bikes we set off. It's a very tough start as you have no warm up, just steep uphill from the very beginning. You only have to run a few hundred yards on the fire road and then there are two branches off the road - one for the mountain bikes and one for walkers. Although mtbs are not strictly supposed to ride the walking trail I guess it's just too tempting for some of them, so unfortunately a lot of the route was churned up by the tyres.

We were soon deep in the forest, and it was very dark and chilly. For the first few miles you can occasionally hear a biker whooping or shouting in the distance, but before long the sound disappeared and Nethy and I were well and truly alone. The trail takes you in and out of the forest cover and when we did run out into the open we caught amazing glimpses of the valleys and hillsides below. The only person we met on the trail was a woman coming in the opposite direction a few miles in. She'd lost her two dogs. I said I'd keep an eye out, but although I wanted them to be reunited safely I was hoping I didn't come across them as I couldn't work out how I'd get them back to her safely. Nethy is nervous of  other dogs and would not have been happy to share her space with them. As it turned out we never saw them and the woman was still looking when we got back to the car park :(

On the way around the trail I noticed that Christmas decorations had been hung randomly on some of the trees. It was very pretty and Nethy and I kept our eyes peeled for the rest of the run to try and spot as many as we could. We finally reached the highest point of the trail at Shieldgreen Kipps and from here there is a lovely long decent to the Shieldgreen centre. This was where Nethy and I got lost last time we ran here. We ended up running aimlessly in circles for half and hour before we got some directions from a couple of walkers! The problem is that the path double backs on itself at the Shieldgreen Centre and we missed the marker. This time it seemed much more obvious and I cursed myself again for not seeing it last time! The track is pretty undulating from this point on. You run through some more forest on single track, and then finally you're back onto the fire road which heads uphill gently (but by this time my legs were like lead!) back to the point where the path splits at the very start of the route. Then it's downhill to the Buzzard's nest and back into the crowds of mountain bikers.

 I was exhausted by the time we got back to the van. It wasn't long before Matt and the girls returned looking very pleased after a good ride on their bikes. One of the great things about having a camper van is the mobile cafe you have with you 24/7. Hot tea and grilled bagels with hummus and Swiss cheese soon got me feeling human again. I watched in pity as the poor buggers with cars stood around eating soggy sandwiches and drinking water from their muddy bottles! haha

A trip to Glentress is never complete without a cake at the cafe. I like the swanky new set up but I still have fond memories of the old 'Hub' which was essentially a portacabin with a veranda. Still, it was warm and friendly and the food was in plentiful supply, plus the cakes were a lot better than the offerings in the new Forestry Commission cafe. I noticed on the drive out that the building is no longer there. Some call it progress but I'm not so sure :(

 Despite the fact the run was relatively short (9km), the steep hills and the rough terrain makes it a tough circuit. I could have opted for a 12 miler out in the local East Lothian countryside, but give me a forested hill any day! Bliss!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Shelter belt run

Although I'm not back at work until Monday I had 2 meetings today about bike stuff. Didn't get finished until about 3 and since Ruby was out with my Mother in law I got in, changed into running gear, grabbed dog and off we went.

It was already getting dark, but I knew we had about an hour of 'light' so we headed up the shelter belts which run alongside the road from Haddington to Drem. The Council have very kindly put in a path on the verge leading into the shelter belt, which is rather delightful. The track which leads through the trees was pretty dry at the bottom half but as we got further up it turned into a bog! The trail fairies have been out and there have obviously been more bikes on the track lately, which is great for them but not so great when you want to run on it. We got to the top and turned right onto the field margin. From here you get a fantastic view of the town nestled infront of the Lammermuirs. There were fresh tracks in the field but we didn't see the deer who'd made them. Nethy doesn't really bother when she sees them, probably because she realises they can outrun her!

As we were running back downhill on a farm track I caught my foot on a stone and fell (at speed) flat on my face! The ground was soft and muddy at this point, lucky for me. Nethy came over to check I was ok and I jumped to my feet quickly in case anyone saw me, which is highly unlikely given we are in the middle of some fields with no-one else around! :) The next bit, where we have to go through the farm, is my least favourite part of this route as I was once shouted at by the farmer! Luckily there was no-one around today, and despite more thoughts of the bloke with the chainsaw running out of a barn we got through safely. A small section downhill on a quiet road took us across the A1 (old and new) and then we were heading back to Haddington on a nice dry farm track. Despite the fact you can see the traffic on the A1 (and hear it) I don't mind this path. It has quite a few signs on it serving the drivers on the A1 which make great markers for sprints, and usually by the time I'm running here I'm tired and I can stop looking at my feet and just plod along. Nethy gets off her lead here and gets to run into the fields so she likes it too. By the time we got home it was alost dark. Nethy was foaming at the mouth, but looked happy enough. She's crashed out in her bed now!

I've been posting my routes but I realise there are some rather annoying (and inaccurate) distance markers on them. I sent an email to the folk at Map My Run and they assure me they are trying to sort the problem. Another good reason for me to have a Suunto I reckon!!

Although my last few runs have been pretty short I'm happy with my post Christmas comeback. My legs and lungs feel in good shape, and with the exception of some extra inches around my middle I haven't let myself go too much. My main goal is to keep the momentum going, and try to get out at least every second day with longer runs at the weekend. This will mean more headtorch runs once I'm back at work, but I think I can cope with that as long as the weather settles down. I also need to lose weight and incorporate some cross training.

My WHW map arrived today. My plan is to run a 26ish mile section in March or April, so the map will help focus my mind and let me plan the trip. More on that later...

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Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2013 here I come!

I'd already decided last night that I'd run today. It was about starting the new year on the right foot (boom boom!) and also I want to make the most of my time off work. I barely managed to get to midnight last night and I banned Matt from watching the BBC live footage of Hogmanay in Edinburgh, as I find it utterly depressing! Instead I read my book, nursing a glass of champagne, while Matt watched Jools Holland. We are sooo rock'n'roll!

I was delighted when I got out of bed to find the sun was shining, and I soon got the troops together and formulated a plan that they'd drop me off just outside Longniddry and I'd run through Aberlady, into the nature reserve and on to Gullane beach where they'd be walking the dog. I wasn't looking for a long run, just wanted to go somewhere pretty (and dry) and get some air in my lungs.

I started off on a nice bit of single track opposite Gosford Estate that runs alongside the busy coast road and which takes you right into Aberlady. It's a nice path, despite the close proximity of the cars, and even though my legs protested at first I soon got into a nice (but slow) rhythm. Running through Aberlady village isn't ideal as it's all on pavement but luckily it was really quiet, until I turned the corner heading for the nature reserve. Every man, woman, child and their dog had decided to make the most of the nice weather so I had to negotiate quite a few large groups as I approached the footbridge which crosses the estuary. There were yet more people to get past on the path, but a cough and a loud 'excuse me please' and they soon got out of my way!

 Lucky for me I was going up the high path rather than the path which leads directly onto the beach and I was soon on my own enjoying the sunshine, the lovely tailwind and the dry paths. The beach came into view and the sea looked choppy and wild. You get a great view of  the Edinburgh skyline from here and the Forth bridges. Then I turned and started on the sandy undulating path which takes you along the clifftops towards Gullane. The beach below was very busy and I started looking out for the family. Thankfully they were right along the East end of the beach which meant I got to run right along to the car park, and down onto the sand for my final half a mile.

It ended up being a 5.3 mile plod, which I'm happy with. It was pretty slow, but being fast doesn't really interest me right now, plus the time always includes me stopping to take my photos! My lovely Husband had brought my new Rab down jacket in his bag so I put it on and was soon very cosy. We took a wander over the dunes and through a bit of woodland back to the van where we had a very welcome mug of tea. We had planned on heading to Holyrood Park to see the husky racing, but apart from the fact I would want to steal the dogs we were also quite cold and hungry. So only one thing for to my Mum and Dad's for a New Years day feast! :) A very good start to 2013!

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