Yesterday I wrote how I raced before I ran my long Saturday run, and here is that run’s low down.
Ultra running can be a lonely sport, miles and miles put in, often solitary plodding on in your own little world. So when planning this run, I was glad to have had a hundred or so folk to run ‘with me’ at the start. Leaving Foxlake though with my running vest on was strange, like leaving a well known place for the unknown. I guess I was travelling to the unknown, along routes I’d never ran before.
I love planning, and even more than that, I love it when I get get routes in that are car free. Most of my ultra training I’ve tried to keep to car free paths and tracks. Today’s wasn’t any exception apart from a nasty 5km stretch between Foxlake and East Linton. I could have found some off road routes, but that made the run even longer, so I opted for the road on this occasion.
The road was fast, but straight and flat, almost like the canal will be. I was still in my trail shoes, though I did have my road shoes in my pack as I expected to run in mud along the next section.
I entered East Linton and crossed the bridge, it’s a pretty little village where I’d been a long time ago, but never running. The next section was to follow the River Tyne to Haddington, 6 miles of offroad running. It was perfect. Everything a river run should be. A mud trail, bounded by the river on one side, and fields on the other. A castle stood on the banks on the other side. Sometimes the bank would rise and undulate, and other times steps would be there as the river snaked next to a cliff and the path went up the cliff.
It was quiet, I didn’t pass a soul until I got to Haddington. I was now 28kms into my day, 15 since I left the race at Foxlake. My legs were starting to tire, and feet were sore. I started running 5kms and then walking 5mins. This strategy seemed to work – so much so I think I’ll use it on race day. I was eating hot cross buns in these 5mins of walking to keep my energy up. Tesco Finest no less, with berries!
I entered Haddington, still in my trail shoes, the last 3kms of the riverside had been on hardpacked track and my feet were beginning to feel the studs from the Mudclaws.
I decided to stop at the entrance to the Haddington to Longniddry Railway Path to change to my road shoes. My feet felt strange in new shoes, and my legs took a while to get used to them, my feet also felt more sore in these. I think it was just the difference in sole, and the softer soul of my Brooks were pressing against my feet in different places. It has made me think about getting shoes with cushioning but little drop.
The railway path was great, I managed to get a rhythm going and was running 5:45 min/km for most of the way. I was happy with this pace after 30kms! Again, I met no one on this route, except one solitary cyclist going in the opposite way. Perhaps the poor forecast kept people inside?
Reaching Longniddry, I headed for the coast and the familiar coastal route back toward Edinburgh. I chose the dune path, keeping me off the main road. It’s ups and downs and sandy surface was sapping my legs. I was 4 miles from my finish at Prestonpans where I’d arrange to meet the OH at our friends house for Lunch. I was an hour late, partly bad planning but also the race started half an hour later than I was expecting so I guess not too bad.
I was glad to have finished, and so were my feet. 44kms in 4hrs 40mins. Exactly half of what the Ultramarathon will be. I’m going to need some good luck for this race for sure!
Here is a video of the run!