Last night I set my alarm on my phone for 8am and no matter what I was going to get my butt out of bed and up to Harrison park. For the past wee while I've been reading about a group of runners who meet up every week at 9am and head out for a 16 mile run along the Union canal and the Water of Leith. I was invited to join the group a while a go and finally decided today would be the day.
The alarm went off, I had some toast and coffee and drove up to the park. It's about 3 miles away which I could run but the thought of 3 miles up to the park, 16 mile route and 3 miles home just wasn't going to happen. Not yet anyway!
So I arrived nice and early, had some water and then made my way along the canal looking for any faces that I might recognise. I ended up just asking someone who had a club jacket on and luckily he was also waiting for everyone else to arrive.
More people arrived and I was introduced to them all, I recognised some faces, Ross Houston (Central AC - 2:19 marathon runner) and Bryan Mackie (Edinburgh AC - 1:13 1/2 marathon runner) but unfortunately I am useless with names so can't remember other names / faces.
9am arrived and we were off, heading along the canal and then up to the Water of Leith. I felt pretty good until 5 miles where the legs had had enough. 5 miles in and this wasn't the debut I wanted to make with this group of runners, they are all fast guys and my hope was I could at least get to 8 miles with them as they tend to open up the pace on the return.
It was a really misty morning and we started the climb up towards Threipmuir reservoir and before I knew it they had disappeared. I looked at my watch and decided to do another 3 miles and then just turn around and run back the way I came. That would still give me 16 miles and I didn't mind being out on my own. It was a nice change just to have company, even if it was just for 5 miles.
On the way back I also tried to push the pace a bit and really I can't complain with my overall time or pace for the distance but that hill at 5 miles needs to be tamed. I'm not going to let it beat me and my aim now is to head along to Harrison Park on a Sunday on a regular basis and even if I only stick with the guys for 5.5 / 6 miles, it's still company and I am still running harder than I would on my own.
Looking at my pace I shouldn't have struggled so badly though, it was quick but not too fast, I've ran faster. The training will hopefully help me, it makes me feel like the first night I went to Pitreavie AAC all those years ago. I turned up and went out on the 10 mile route and was dead last for the entire evening. I was dead last on many of the training sessions with the club but then over the weeks and months I got stronger and faster and after some time I was out at the front of the pack.
I'm a determined person when it comes to my running and I'm not going to let today get me down, my aim is to get to the front of this pack, even if it takes me years! Bring it on!