Sunday, 12 May 2013

Upping the miles

I wanted to crack 20 miles today so I'd planned out a run from Haddington to North berwick via Longniddry, Aberlady and Gullane. My idea was to do the run and then to catch the end of the novice triathlon as I know some people who were doing it.

When I realised my only options to get home from North Berwick were to wait for a bus (dodgy at the best of times but almost non existent on a Sunday!) or to run back I threw a mini hissy fit. Normally my lovely husband would have picked me up but he happened to fracture his collar bone on Thursday after crashing into a punter on a bike (very strong distinction between a 'cyclist' and a 'punter' IMO) so he is out of action as far as driving is concerned.

By 10.30 I still hadn't come up with a good alternative route and was ready to take my running gear off and forget the whole thing but luckily my broken husband came up with an to Danskine Loch and back. At first I rebelled as I don't really like out and back runs but as I looked at the map I realised I would be running almost 98% on trails and very nice trails at that. So it was settled!

Nethy and I set off and at first I thought I was underdressed as the cold wind ripped into us as we ran towards the river. I always overdress though so I resisted the urge to stop in mile 1 and put on my jacket and this proved to be a good decision. As I ran along Grants Brae on a lovely little bit of trail I saw 2 women up ahead of me who were going out of their way to avoid the trail and instead were running on the road. They had to stop several times as cars whizzed past and it made me wonder what was going on in their heads. I know some people prefer road running but why would you risk being run over when there's a really nice trail right next to you?! Needless to say I didn't stop to ask!

Running on the trail from Bolton to Gifford was a real treat as it's normally a mud bath and today it was bone dry. I'm getting used to dry trails and hate the idea that at any moment the rains will come and everything will turn to shit again :(

We had to run for a bit on road into Gifford and then into the Yester Estate. I've never ventured in here before because I get a bit worried about roaming through Estates. I am a bit fan of the Access Code and I'm always quoting it to people who dare to tell me I'm not supposed to be somewhere, but obviously there are rules when it comes to houses and the people who live in big houses can often be very aggresive if you get too close. I've experienced it before at Gosford and it kind of upset me. The fact that there are signs at the gate saying Private Property and Strictly No Dogs says a lot and it put me on edge straight away. Luckily the surroundings were so stunning that I managed to relax until I came within sight of the big house and I saw that there were some cars in the driveway. I checked my map but couldn't work out which track to take. Both options looked like they'd take you really close to the house so I ventured onto a dirt trail that rose sharply to our left into the woods. It skirted around the house and I finally chilled and enjoyed the surroundings.

The trail started to get very muddy the closer I got to Danskine. It obvioulsy never dries out and although it was much better than the last time we'd been here walking it was still pretty awful. Thankfully the foliage is so unbelievably green and vivid and the stream that bubbles and falls alongside the trail is so pretty I forgot about the mud. I let Nethy have a swim on this stretch as it's not near any fields so there's no danger of there being any pollutants in the water. As we approached the last stretch of our run - Danskine Loch my watch was showing just over 7 miles so I knew my run back wouldn't take me to 20 miles but it would still be a decent mileage, and trail miles are harder anyway!

A lap of the Loch and a wee stop to refuel then we headed for home. The great thing about trail running is that it looks completely different when you run in the opposite direction! And I guess the great thing about an out and back route is that if you've been running uphill to get to the turning point  you get the pleasure of running downhill to get back home (tough luck if your run takes you downhill for the first leg!)

By the time we approached Haddington we were both feeling very tired and I was soaked through thanks to a combination of drizzle and a leaky hydration pack nozzle. My Garmin was running out of charge too and as I ran into the town I noticed my distance was 16.1 miles and if I ran the normal way home I'd miss out on 17 miles so I started winding my way through some back streets but still as I reached the hose it was only 16.7 so to the bemusement of Nethy I passed the house and did a lap around the block! Unfortunately my Garmin died before it could log the full run which I'm guessing must have been about 17.3 mile! The funny things that Garmins make you do!!

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