Today I explored another section of the Southern Upland Way. This time I ran from Lauder to Melrose and back. I have an ultra in 3 weeks so I have combined running new routes as part of my "training". I'm not very good at training, I just run. Its all a bit haphazard, however I decided I needed to do 2 weekends of back to back decent runs. Last weekend I ran parts of the Borders Abbeys Way, 18 miles on Saturday and 25 miles on Sunday. This weekend I ran less, rightly or wrongly, but I enjoyed both runs more. So in my book thats a result in itself. I ran 10 miles yesterday around the woods of Duns Castle Estate. This is just the most amazing running playground, right on my doorstep. A privilege I'm very aware of and grateful for. Today I ran 20 miles from Lauder to Melrose and back.
I prepared better than usual in that I was asleep by 9.30 and had a good sleep (something that is increasingly rare...grr). I got up around 6.20, enjoyed my morning tea (echinacea and raspberry always!) and some muesli. I'd got most of my stuff organised the night before, but gathered a few extra bits and set off around 7.
I arrived in Lauder as dawn was breaking if it ever would as the low cloud was, well LOW:-) I got my shoes on, Camelbak complete with biscuits and Midget Gems and set off. The first little stretch is up, as in straight up. Nice way to waken the legs and lungs. The first couple of miles were quite hard due to their up and down nature. Oddly I found them easier on the return. Perhaps my legs had given up complaining by then! The next stretch was very very boggy, which then led onto farm tracks. These were muddy but generally a good running surface. I took a wrong turn at one point, which added no distance but did involve going way downhill and so way back up hill. Once the Eildons came into view I dropped down considerably to Gattonside and joined the banks of the river Tweed. I ran along the banks for a mile or so and crossed the suspension bridge that I used to jump up and down on as a 10 year old:-) Rather than running into Melrose and turning around I ran along the other bank of the river until I found the road bridge, headed back towards Gattonside, found the track and back up the hill.
The return journey saw the wind pick up a little and some light snow fall. What seems to happen to me at this stage of this sort of run is that I drift off. I'm not sure if I think of anything. I am aware of my surroundings, acutely aware, yet time seems to stop, I see my tracks in the mud from the outward journey, I remember passing "that tree" or whatever. I play little mental games like "when I get to xxxx I will have run yy miles and have zz to go". I am always amazed how soon I have finished (and thats not because I'm running fast!). All runs are different. Today was a special one. I saw long slow hills ahead and before I knew it I was up there and feeling good, feeling strong.
So much of this running game is in the head not the legs. Today I had my A1 head on. No pictures today as the light was so crap, but if youve got this far you've read my words instead:-)