Posted by: Bruce Duncan | October 19, 2009

Edinburgh Weekend

I have just returned from a great weekend in Edinburgh.  I was up there for a number of different things, and as I usually manage to do, fit in as much stuff as you can in one weekend.

First up was getting to Edinburgh, and as Friday was such a stunning day I decided to head up to Innerleithen and ride the mountain bike trail on route north.  It was an amazing evening, the sun setting, the trees all turning, and a dry trail with no one on it.  I rode really hard to ensure I got back before it got too dark, needing my lights for the last 5 minutes in the trees.  I wimped out on lots of the bigger drops, but riding on my own I thought it would be a sensible to get back in one piece!

I stayed outside Edinburgh at Marty and Bec’s house on Friday night, it was good to catch up, and in the morning Marty and myself drove into town to help set up some of the areas for the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest race that I was competing in on Sunday.

My friend Rob then came and met me and we headed out for an hours run over Arthurs Seat and round the Meadows, it was a tough run up to the top of the hill overlooking the city, but the views were stunning, and it certainly blew the cobwebs out of Rob’s head!

After a shower and change a few of us met for lunch at the Outsider, a great wee restaurant in town.  It was 10years ago that we all started at Edinburgh University, and my friend Cav had organised a reunion to be held in Teviot and the Caves.  After a few beers in Teviot I walked down to Leith to meet up with some other friends for a surprise birthday meal for my old Aberdonian flatmates 29th.  It wasn’t such a surprise, as Rob had to get off his duty rota, so needed to be told what was happening.

We ate at a great sea food restaurant, and I even tried a lot of the dishes, even though I’m really not a fan of fish at all.

I then headed back up to the Caves to catch up with my other Uni mates, to finish a crazy packed day.  I was only briefly at the Caves, as I’d drunk more than I intended to, and had to get up early to race the next day.

I woke early on Sunday, and headed down to Princess St gardens to get set to race in the Edinburgh leg of the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest 10km races.  These are 10km races with a difference.  Spread over the course, at approximately 1km intervals are a succession of obstacles, some small, some big, but all designed to slow you down and knock you out of your rhythm.

The start was a mad rush down the Royal Mile to leap over a load of straw bales, then down a narrow alley way to the station.  A short very sharp climb up some stairs took us to Carlton Hill, where we had a bunch of military style obstacles, cargo nets, rope swings, tyres and monkey bars.  Running down from Carlton Hill we were met with some huge tyres, and 2 wrecked cars we had to crawl through, followed by a skip!

A wee waterslide in Holyrood Park cooled you down before a long run all the way up the hill of the Innocent Railway tunnel.  A short run then took us to a spiders web of ropes with some firemen hosing us down as we ran up another hill.  Arriving in the building site just off the Cowgate we had a series of jumps and scaffold towers to clamber over before running all the way up to the top of a disussed building doing some dancing, and then back down again.  Stairs are a real killer and really give you a huge lactate buildup.

Follow this with a run up a steep close to the Royal Mile again, and I think it was here that my heart rate maxed out at 199bpm!  After regaining my running ability I pushed on towards the entrance to the Gardens, over a few wee obstacles just after I’d been overtaken by 2 guys I’d passed on the slippery wall.  The last km was really tough, running up to the castle and back down again on very slippery paths.  Coming into the finish I was surprised to find that I was in 3rd place, I couldn’t believe I was so high up.  Just as I got to the last obstacle, an 8ft wall with a slippery top, one guy got up and over, after a few attempts I managed to get up, and Murray was still at the bottom.  Another lad was approaching fast, and I thought Murray deserved to be ahead of him after he took his wrong turn.  So I helped him up and over and we crossed the line together.

The Final Wall

The Final Wall

It had been a beast of a race, super tough on the body, but great fun all the same.  It was good to catch up with lots of friends and see how all the other people got on with the obstacles.  Murray and myself finally finished in joint 3rd place, I was very happy with this place, and shows my training is going well.  I just have to hope I can keep it up for the OMM this coming weekend!


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