Saturday's event was Edinburgh parkrun situated in Crammond in the northwest of the city, running along beside the Fourth river. I met up with some old workmates in Edinburgh on Friday night, so since I was there I thought I'd take advantage and book a hotel for the night which gave me the chance of doing a parkrun I have never done before. My hotel was in Edinburgh park which is only 4 miles away from Crammond. But since I didn't have the car, it meant I had to go into Edinburgh by tram and back out by bus. So about an hour an a half to get there. Would have been quicker from Glasgow by car lol. I looked at staying in the centre but hotels were 60 quid more expensive.
Anyway I got to Crammond just after 9 and walked to the start. I found myself a wee seat and just chilled out listening to music. Then about quarter past they gave the shout for the first timer/visitor briefing. I always like to go to these even though I have done so many parkruns now. And this one I was glad I went to. It was Davie Black doing it who is a prominent figure in the parkrun community, not only in Scotland but on the parkrun facebook group too. He told us all about the history of parkrun in Scotland, Edinburgh and his own parkrun achievements. I think he has done the most parkruns out of anyone in Scotland sitting at 401. Obviously he went over the essentials and the serious stuff but he was also very funny and the 20 odd people who were there were made to feel very welcome.
By the time he had finished it was actually time to start! So I made my way to the back of the pack. After a technical glitch with the pa system meant the run director had to shout; we were on our way. For this run I wanted to take it as easy as possible, knowing I had a tough race the next day. Being at the back was perfect as there was 577 runners today, so it meant I wasn't going off too quickly. At the same time the path is so wide that you can find your own space pretty quick (at least where I was anyway!). After the first couple of K, the course goes into a 1 km loop and then the last 2k goes back the way you came. Very similar to Strathclyde parkrun. At the 2km mark it was busy, but spread out enough. I found myself catching people. Then I would aim for the next and the next. My orignal plan of just taking it easy went out of the window and ended up finishing bang on 30 minutes. Which seems to be my standard time at the moment. I know I can go faster than that though if I started off at a better pace. Probably can get down to 28 minutes soon, 27 at a push.
Afterwards I headed back to my hotel for a shower and got the train home.
Cancer Research Tough 10
Having not done a race since June and backing out of the Aberdeen half having not done the training. I needed something else to focus on. So back in September my brother signed up for this. I was a bit skeptical as I had done zero hill training at that point and I know how tough the hills in the Pentlands are. And the fact that it has "Tough" in the name means they are not going to make it easy!
Fast forward and even yesterday after parkrun I was thinking whether I should do this or not. Although I have been running, the max I have been up to in the last wee while is 4 miles and I have been nowhere near the amount of elevation in this 10k, which sat just over 1200 feet in total. But then I thought why not. I'll just walk the uphills and run the flats and downs.
So my brother, mum and my 2 nieces headed over to Bonaly, in the foot of the Pentlands. We got to the start with about 15 minutes to spare along with probably another 200-300 odd folk. As you would expect the first km was pure uphill. While many around me attempted to run, I just got into a fast walking pace which wasn't much slower than people trying to run up it. But after about a 1 km of that I was beginning to think if I am actually going to make it. It was tough going already and I had just been walking! After about a k, it starts to level off, and although the paths were very uneven. It was runnable. And I got myself into a run walk rhythm. Then after 3k you got a great view of the loch pictured below:
It was a nice run down to the loch and then there was a short section of tarmac round the loch where you hit the 4k mark. Then you turn left up the hill known as the "Calf burner". That was a toughy but the marshal at the top was so enthusiastic it really made you want to get going again. I must say though there were marshals all over the place and they were fantastic. I should really mention my brother here to. At first I thought he was going to run off and run his own "race". But it ended up he was quite happy running with me and then sprinting off, stopping, and so on. He is a lot fitter than me at the moment so would have been interesting to see what time he would have done if he gave it his full effort.
Anyway the climbing continued up to the 5k mark and it just got muddier and muddier. As much as I like getting muddy it does make the going tougher and meant I had to even more. But after a couple of km of climbing. It must have been about 7km where I got this view over Edinburgh:
After this picture was taken it was pretty much all downhill. The first of which was pretty steep which I took my time going down. Then it got into the nice gradual downhills which I like and I ran all the way to the finish from there. At the finish my nieces and my mum were there to cheer us over the finish line which was nice.
In the end we got there in an hour and 24 minutes. Not bad, especially when you consider I have done zero training on hills like that, I have just done road hills. To put this in perspective the winner was 46 minutes. I would do this one again and I wouldn't even say "Oh I need to do more hill training next time". Yes it would help me get a better time. But I enjoyed it the way it was. If I did it next time in say 1hour 8 minutes I don't think I would be more happy than I was today as it was more about just getting out in the hills and hanging out with the family. ...........I would like to get my parkrun times down a bit though!