We joined Mary for a nice meal in the Garvald Inn on Friday night, and fuelled by some wine, hatched an impromptu plan to do a final long run the next day before the Speyside Way Ultra in a fortnight’s time.
A twenty mile route was agreed, based on a winter run Mary completed last year. This would be a ‘lowland’ route, starting from Tyninghame, heading out to the coast, around to Seacliff, then North Berwick, back towards East Linton and then Tyninghame. (all long runs should end at a cafe, in this case, Tyninghame Coffee Shop)
Theresa and Jane drove off to run a more complicated plan, involving change of cars and driving back to the house but ending at Tyninghame too. Mary and I headed off from Tyninghame and we all agreed to meet 3 hours later. The route Mary had devised was great – probably 80% off-road, taking routes along field margins, woods, beach, farm track etc.
We began by winding around fields from Tyninghame, running through some nice parkland at the back of Tyninghame House. A bit of running on sand at Ravensheugh, over the Peffer Burn then we headed up towards Seacliff.
The run started to get ‘interesting’ about this stage. Mary was harnessed to Ursa, the Siberian Husky and our route involved cutting through a field of cattle to make our way to Seacliff beach. Now, dogs and cows are never a good idea and there are sufficient reports every year involving dogs, cows, humans and unhappy endings to ensure that great care should be taken, especially when calves are present. We carefully skirted the high end of the field, along the edge of a high (and probably unclimbable) wall. About half way in, a large cow below decided it was not at all happy, and started to make some aggresive noises and started running towards us. It meant business. We both looked at the wall and decided scaling it wasnt an option, and we probably could have given Mr Bolt a run for his money at this point. We made it safely back to the gate, thankfully, and had to negotiate a more difficult way down to the beach.
In the process of checking out a safe way down a steep overhanging, I crossed an electric fence, and then somehow fell back onto a rusty old barbwire fence and metal post concealed in some grass. God knows what Mary was thinking now. Result was a pair of ruined shorts, a 5″ gash in my backside and a few tears on my elbow etc. Nice!
Anyway, we made it down onto the beach for a nice straghtforward run on the sand, and i’m sure I impressed a lot of the beach population with my backside hanging out of my shorts…..we then took some time to have a look at Seacliff Harbour (an impressive little harbour carved out of sandstone) and then we headed up onto the track out of Seacliff and away to North Berwick and around the Law.
The rest of the route from there to Tyninghame was incident-free. From North Berwick Law, the John Muir Way took us to East Linton, along some really nice field margins and attractive wooded trail. By now, at about mile 16, Mary was into a good running groove, picking up the pace, but my pace was slacking due to my hip issue.
Before we hit East Linton, we bumped into Lucy Colquhoun out for a run, she had been out for a little jaunt (she had already completed about 28 miles when we stopped to chat) !! and she mentioned that she might get up to the Speyside Way. Respect!
We rolled down into East Linton and back onto the road. Mary had some bad cramp in her legs after coming down the hill so we took a bit of a breather, then headed along to Tyninghame, about 1.5 miles. Mary seemed to recover quite quickly, with the pace picking up again, but my leg was now quite sore and I just gritted my teeth for the last mile and hobbled back. With perfect synchronicity, Theresa and Jane arrived at Tyninghame at the same time, having completed 18 miles. All in all, not too bad, 19.75 miles under 3 hours and at 8.50 pace.
Suitably fed and watered at Tyninghame, I reflected on my training and still dont think I’m prepared for a 36 miler…….longest run has been Lairig Ghru at end of June (about 27), with a bunch of 20-22 milers either side of it. Add on my hip issue and i’m a bit concerned about how this might affect my run. I’m convinced there are deeper issues causing my hip pain as well as other niggles on the same side, and I suspect poor alignment may be a big factor, confirmed by a cursory glance in the mirror where my shoulder and pelvis are higher on one side than the other.
So, a trip to a specialist today to see if I need straightened out.