Sunday, 8 May 2011


Oh my. Yesterday's Edinburgh to North Berwick was a tough day out.
Got up early and had a nice relaxing breakfast while listening to the rain pelting off the roof. Hmm, perhaps not ideal conditions for running twenty miles into a head wind.
But by the time we'd showered and changed the sun had come out, the sky's were blue and all was well with the world.
Met Brian and Theresa at North Berwick then got a lift to the start line.
Got to say I did enjoy the "old" start to this race at Meadowbank, but I do like the new start just at the back of the Dog and Cat home too. Reducing the race to 20 from 22 appears to have made it a bit more popular as well.
Anyway, met up with most of the other Dunbar runners (8 of us) for a bit of a natter then went off for a wee warm up with Ian and Brian...... And it's here, dear reader, that things went a bit "sour". For it was then that I told Ian what I was expecting of him during the race. He was to pace me to Direlton and then, and only then, would I "kick off" a bit for a bit of a time. Now, god knows, I'm not an unreasonable man ... I even said to him that if he did this I would repay the complement by "giving him" the lead in the Edinburgh Marathon in two weeks.

I thought we had a "gentleman's agreement".

Anyway, by the time we were lining up to start the sun was out and the heat was on - literally.
For the first five mile or so I felt quite good. Managed to keep to what I thought was a good pace (about 6:20 ish) and I was able to chat fairly comfortably with Ian. Fairly early on we were up near the front and were soon sitting in third and fourth place. We could see Moray Paterson of Portobello ahead but the first runner, Ross Houston of Central, was already out of sight.
We caught Moray sometime after 5 and just tried to keep the pace steady at 6:20 (Ian was doing a splendid job).
One of the "problems" with Edinburgh to North Berwick is that you don't run on closed roads, or for that matter "closed pavements", as a couple of incidents along by "the Pans" reminded us. Once when the driver of a parked car just about opened his door into the path of the runners and another time when a family of day trippers spilled out of a bus into the path of the runners!

My pacemaker and me at 10 miles - photo shamelessly stolen from the Portobello web site!
 Anyway, got to the ten mile mark to be informed by the time keepers that the first runner had gone through about 11 minutes before us!
At about 11 miles Ian's speed crept up, almost imperceptibly at first, until he had pulled away and created a little gap between us.
If I'd had the energy I would have shouted "Oi! What about our agreement?" (well OK, truth be told it was my agreement). And in fairness he did signal that I should catch him up.
Sadly the heat and the stiff head wind had taken their toll and there was no way I was going to keep up, I just let him drift away and hoped that I could get the head down and maintain third place.
Running with someone hadn't felt too bad, but as soon as I found myself on my own I started to hurt. I was also aware on the few occasions that you were sheltered from the wind how hot and humid it was!
Got through Aberlady and then turned the corner at the golf course that signals the start of the hilly section.
I've never really been troubled by the hilly part of this race before - until yesterday.The effort was really starting to tell and the split times were getting worse and worse.. my last five miles were all over 7 (not a well paced race at all).
By Dirleton I couldn't see the runner behind, but I knew there was someone on my tail ... and getting closer.
I'd taken my glasses off at one point early on in the race as they were covered in dried sweat. I managed a look behind and could just make out a runner in a white vest. I couldn't make out who it was, but assumed Mr Paterson had caught his second breath and was rallying.
The bit from Dirleton to the end was agony. My legs were heavy, I felt exhausted and my stomach was starting to play up. All I could think about though was getting to the end. I just kept saying to myself "keep on, this is all you have to do today... you have the rest of the weekend to hurt". Not the snappiest of runners mantra's I'll grant you, but it helped.
Sadly, about a quarter of a mile before the end I was passed. It wasn't Moray Paterson, but Bernard Devoy of Portobello who looked, quite frankly, just too dam comfortable and obviously has a better mantra.
Still 4th overall (in 2:13:55) is the highest up the classification I've ever come in this race - so I can't be too upset.
Ian finished in 2nd place - albeit just over 20 minutes behind the winner Ross Houston who, I believe, got a new course record.
Hung about for a bit at the end to watch most of the Dunbar crew coming in, and then set out on the long slow climb from the finish line up to the sports centre for a shower, change then a bit of a feed before the prize giving.
All in all, a good day out. A painful one, but a good one.

I shall revisit most of the same route in two weeks time for the Edinburgh Marathon. But for now? Well it's the start of the dreaded tapper. In a way I'm looking forward to the taper this time, as it's my plan to reduce the mileage a "bit" - but reduce the effort a "lot". Keep running, just find the time to slow down and  take time out to "listen to the flowers and sniff the birds" type of thing.

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