micke-midlife on September 20th, 2008

running in edinburgh is an experience! everything’s a bit narrow and all - trucks, cars, bicycles, runners, walkers, mums with strollers, tourists, drunks, dogs, all have to fit and find their way along the streets. for a continental runner, some additional spice of course, cars constantly coming from the wrong side when crossing any road. but more importantly you need to be aware of your classification in the traffic hierarchy. it’s perfectly acceptable to be drunk and jump onto the street, but as soon as you wear some shorts and cross the streets while cars approaching - still a distance away - everyone thinks you’re out of your mind, so peter told me.

peter is an artist, a painter, who for good pounds sterling or even euros also refurbishes your living room or other parts of your house. but most importantly, he can show you the real good running trails around this town. and those are many. although, first you need to find your way out and and not get caught in traffic (see above).

peter chose a special route today, well suited for all those flatland rats who constantly fuss about their economic running and can go a 3:xx min/km on a 5km straight, but as soon as an uphill stretch appears, they would only see the scottish highland snails’ rear red-lights. arthur’s seat is the saddle shaped hill on edinburgh’s south, south-east side. running up the street that goes almost to the top would be a sporty 3-4 km uphill stretch. however the police

arthur's seat - 251m (823 feet)

arthur's seat - 251m (823 feet)

stopped us halfway, the road was closed, perhaps rocks of the cliffy walls falling down, perhaps a drunk having done the same. anyway, peter quick on his feet (and in his mind) altered the route to be more direct to the top. literally…

the altitude over time (or especally distance) curve that the polar heart rate monitor produces are normally not anything of special interest, but in this case they are… (pretty much all that counts for a flatland runner like us here). we literally climbed up, first stairs later along the rock itself. not much running anymore, but plain concentration on lifing legs and finding a next place to put the foot down on again, while bursting lungs and lactic acid told us that this is not our natural habitat. doubts appeared that our own training grounds in the north might not be the ultimate truth for the project that lies - still largely - ahead. real hills are missing.

after enjoying a breath taking view (or was it the wind that was breath taking…) from the top of arthur’s seat, downhill was faster, at some spots quite acrobatic, not twisting an ankle first priority. peter said, his personal best from home to the top of the hill is something just above 17 minutes, this much it took us to get back down and to the hotel.

hill racing is quite popular in scotland (surprise, surprise), in a couple of weeks there’s a two-run race with a 10 mile (16km) leg in the borders and a 17 miles (27km) cross country stretch in the pentlands right the next day (btw check out these amazing shots done in the pentlands!). i bet every man and woman can feel their own private william wallace scream inside them, just like in “braveheart“.

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