One in the eye: I didn't write up my... - Marathon Running ...

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One in the eye


I didn't write up my last long run at the time, because life has just got right in the way. But I have finally almost got my running diary up to date (sounds dedicated to improvement, but is in fact a load of photos of cats, pointless musings and an embarrassing amount of windblown selfies) by doing it at work when no one was looking.

Sunday gave us a break in the roaring sunshine up in Scotland, it was overcast and although still warm and muggy at least meant I didn't need to squint for the whole run. I was genuinely excited to make use of my new Camelbak water bottle (pictured, as large as I can feasibly go, the idea of a hydrating backpack makes me squirm) which lashes to my hand to make it slightly less annoying than my last one, which regularly freestyled its way out of my grip and made me swear. I also tried out my new threadborne backless vest (also pictured), which was flipping brilliant and I would definitely recommend the style. It wicked incredibly well, and the flappy back was really cooling in the high humidity. Shorts and vest though? Who is this girl! Teenage me, who styled herself on the highly-strung one from The Craft, would be horrified.

The plan was to go and blow my thoughts away up a hill as it was a tough day for me, and in related events, almost a year to the day since the seeds of running were suddenly sown in my life. They didn't germinate till a little later, but it was a bittersweet anniversary nonetheless.

The suburban run towards the Pentlands was boring and long but also gave me a chance to blast into Tesco and sweat onto the self-checkout machines whilst buying some top-up water. But once I crossed under the Edinburgh bypass things got much more interesting and soft underfoot, with some lovely undulating trails and fallen trees to steeplechase inelegantly over, bemused sheep watching on.

It was sufficiently overgrown round here that I became rather paranoid about ticks and horseflies, and scanned my legs obsessively whilst batting divebombing cleggs away. Somehow I remained unbitten, which is unusual for me—I'm a walking bug snack. I also went past an unnervingly tall fence out in the wild, scaled by equally tall stiles like eight foot painters' ladders, which I presume was to keep deer away but just made me think of dinosaurs and sasquatch. Who knows what sort of terrible beasts lurk in those crags...

Torduff Hill is a new one for me, just on the very edge of the Pentlands with a couple of little lochs nestled in its arms. It is only a baby hill at 252m to the summit but was enough for some deep breaths and contemplation. The day was beginning to creep away a bit at this point and the clouds frowned down on me, but the failing light made for a dramatic view at least! Away from Torduff and Clubbiedean everything got reassuringly flat again, and after a confused dead end in a ramshackle farm where I met a lovely sheepdog and her Jekyll and Hyde companion—which took a pat on the head and then barked and growled me out of the yard—my route home was long and straightforward via Poet's Glen and down an ankle-worrying rocky path towards civilisation, with only a few memorable moments.

Notably, Easter Hailes Gate, which is not in fact a gate but a massive, stone tunnel, ominously lit with firey red hues, clearly inviting me in to meet my doom. With a degree of trepidation I entered the glowing, toothless mouth of the murder tunnel, feeling like I was part of a short film about what not to do when you are a lone girl out in the bandit territory of Spylaw. It went on forever, but thankfully no one did me in and I emerged, blinking and relieved onto the leafy Water of Leith walkway.

Leafiness here may have been an issue as my relief was short-lived. Suddenly I got a massive burning pain in my eye. Convinced I'd been blinded by some sort of tree sap I grappled with the front camera on my phone, and eventually cajoled my eye open long enough to find an unfortunate bug swimming around in there. Goodness knows what it was, a long black fellow somewhere between a thunderbug and a devil's coachman. Whatever, he was expired and my eye was terribly sore. I tried to make myself cry but ironically enough, despite the subtext of my head-clearing run, failed abysmally. Luckily the pain subsided enough that I was able to continue on my way, but it still hurt the next day. Thanks for that, mystery poison bug.

Heading back into the city, I joined the Union Canal by way of an aquaduct. I am a simple country girl at heart, so discovering the canal up there in the sky on a bridge all but blew my mind. Boats have no business crossing roads up above, rivers should be at ground level and that's all there is to it. I ran alongside the water, bullrushes and ducks and all, listening to the rumble of cars below feeling like it was some sort of illusionist Escher drawing. Eventually the ground rose up to meet the canal, or maybe the canal went down to meet the ground, who knows in a hilly city, and I stopped to check on a bumble bee. I think he was a little too far gone to be fixed, and I had no sugary solution, but I left him the last few drops of my Tailwind just in case it might help to revive him.

I've had to rethink my shoes a bit for these longer runs because I stopped several times to unwedge rocks from my sole, and got home to discover an entire pinecone had made its home in the bottom of my left shoe. All in all though, It was a lovely run apart from my sore eye. Strava and my Garmin disagreed about the distance, somewhere between 22 and 25km, but I might take a bus out next time to get a better urban:wild ratio. Here it is on Relive! It's missed off some of my photos, but never mind, it's on Strava if anyone wants to see a gloomy Loch 🤣

15 Replies
Langley-LoperHalf Marathon

I love reading these long posts where people write about their runs. It is so interesting seeing what other people are getting up to. I just wish I had more time to read (and run).

in reply to Langley-Loper

Heh you can tell I have a long bus commute! It's easy to get (too?) verbose when you're sitting in traffic on the M8 🤣


Wow!!! A lovely run indeed!! 185 bpm after the murder tunnel :) Gosh it does glow! I carried eyedrops with me on my first marathon - I got gently scoffed at for it by my only friend on Endomondo, but I got a fly in my eye during the race so I had the last laugh!! Errrr...

in reply to roseabi

The things you discover are a risk as you go on, huh! Eye drops are a great idea, I might steal that. I used to get flies in the eye when I was a cross country jumper when I was growing up (horse doing the work, not me) but didn't think I'd be going at a speed where it would be an issue these days! I had to wear my hipster glasses to work the next day as my contacts refused to behave and apparently looked like I was doing cosplay. Less Amy Adams from Nocturnal Animals, more Joe 90 😐

in reply to Sqkr

Cross country jumping? Cool! Cosplay Joe 90 - LOL!!

Eye drops saved my life that day (I have no alternative evidence for this grandiose statement, natch)! Best to wear wraparound polarising sunglasses really, but I always find they start to hurt the tops of my ears after a while. Although if it's not too warm they can go on top of a buff so they don't dig in.

pinkaardvarkHalf Marathon

Lovely write up :). Yes that tunnel looks a bit ominous hehe.

I keep getting midge in the eye lately, they aren't as bad as your beastie though as they tend to smash up and just swim about. I did buy a cheap version of your water bottle a while back but couldn't get used to having half a kilo swinging on one arm only and thought it may end up giving me a sore neck, so switched to the backpack. Bottle is resigned to the gym bag.

I was up the other end of that canal looking at the kelpies last year near falkirk. That'd be quite the run back to edinburgh from there. But all pretty much flat, maybe a good marathon route. My parents live in Kirkintilloch on the Forth and Clyde canal and I mean to run that into Glasgow when I next go up to visit :)

in reply to pinkaardvark

I did worry it might be a bit heavy but because I didn't have to actually grip it it didn't seem too bad. I did think I ought to alternate it between hands in case I get one giant popeye arm though 😂 I will eventually have to get over my backpack hatred I think as its the only practical solution if I don't start and end in newsagent territory, but maybe not whilst it's so sticky out! Just the thought of it all heavy and sweaty 😩 It's a silly aversion but I just can't bring myself to try it yet.

The union canal is very nice and peaceful but I do find the flatness of it a bit boring if it makes up the whole of a run—a brilliant way to come home though! Maximum distance, minimal effort 😁

in reply to Sqkr

I find the backpack not nearly as bad as I feared, I don't notice the weight (and it gets lighter over time of course) - although sweaty, yes :)

Sadie-runsHalf Marathon

Fantastic read, Sqkr, and what a run! A distance I could only ever dream of doing. I will be in lovely Edinburgh in late August, staying in Leith. We always go walking in the Pentlands when we visit, I love it there! Happy running. xxx

I love that top! Where did you get it? I am so suffering with the heat in London - 33 degrees and super humid today. I ran at 6am today and it was like breathing soup. 😕

in reply to Sadie-runs

Heheh, you say that about the distance now, but I'll quote it back at you in six months when you're sprint finishing something similar 😉 You're very sensible staying in Leith, I live in the Old Town and get aggressively flyered every time I step onto my doorstep from now till September! I'd love to see your underwater abridged Hamlet guys, but unfortunately I have to go to work/get milk/take the bin out /do something else normal and mundane...

The top is Under Armour, it's actually from last season because I'm a stinge and never buy anything full price but I have found the same design in different material from this year:

And happy days it's in the sale! It looks a bit more see through than mine but heck I'm a changed woman now I run so I don't care and just bought two more 😄

Sadie-runsHalf Marathon
in reply to Sqkr

Oh you are a love, thanks, I just bought it! Happy days indeed! Looks so cool...

Hmmm. I do love long distance. Will progress a wee bit from my 10km once this bloomin' heatwave is done.

Well, sensible doesn't come into it; I am staying with my lovely in-laws (my boyf is an Edinburgh lad by birth). I do love it there. The flyer situation is crazy, and it upsets me a bit cos of all the trees involved etc. Still, I am a hypocrite, and hoping to catch a couple of shows while I am there. :-)


What a beautiful run, and I am so with you re the tics and other naughty pests!! I had a similar thing last week where a bug got in my eye and I couldnt get him out for about 2 miles!! Urgg just yuck. Beautiful pics too...

WhatsappHalf Marathon

I don't worry about a bug in the eye, as I wear glasses. Have eaten a few though... Oh hang on, wheres roseabi's July questionnaire about mid-race snacks. Plenty of protein, I understand - free too!

in reply to Whatsapp

Yum yum!

TbaeMetric Marathon

What a post and a great read.

Gosh your a star.

Who knows what you are going to do when you sort out a few things out.

I would hate anything in my eyes, like Dave I am a spectacle wearer,

and I have to take permanently carbomer eye gel,for some reason I never have problems.Of course I am so slow I am sure these blighters have plenty time to avoid me.🙈😂

Take good care of you.💥🏃‍♀️💥🔥

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