Did my long run this morning - say long, was 17km from Dunfermline back to Clackmannan along the old railway line, it's a great route, gently downhill and a good surface. Very popular with dog walkers and cyclists, but have never yet met anyone who's anything other than courteous and considerate of other users of the path - dog walkers all called their dog(s) to heel and cyclists rang bells or called a cheery greeting. It helped I guess that the sun was trying to shine and it was a pleasant spring morning :-)
We drove to Dunfermline and I bade a cheerful(?) farewell and set off down the track. You get a fine view of the River Forth as you're quite high at this point, but it's also a tad breezy! After a couple of kilometres, you are into the railway cuttings proper and this provides welcome shelter from the breeze and lots of trees offering shade and a soft carpet of leaves on the path - though in Autumn these can be a bit slippy. There was a fair assortment of walkers, folks with their kids on bikes and even a tiny wee tot on a pony - she was all kitted out in the proper gear and looked very competent but it was a pony big enough for her mum, she would have looked small atop a Shetland!
I thought I had set off a little fast as I was passing the Km markers and thinking "you shouldn't be here yet" and I wasn't really settled into a good rythm, however I kept going and when I got to Bogside which is just over half way about the 10km mark, I was ahead of my virtual partner on my Garmin by nearly 2minutes. This wasn't a bad thing, I just wasn't sure if I could maintain this... Help was at hand, there jogging towards me was my hero, he'd decided to walk/jog out to meet me and see how the injured calf held up, I was really surprised he'd come this far, but was great to see him and by staying alongside him he held me into a sensible pace and I settled quite comfortably. We trotted along, enjoying the sun which had come through by this time and making steady progress, albeit with the occasional "slow down" reminder to me :-)
I thought we were starting to edge up just a little as we got closer to home, and with a mile to go my new found coach suggested we "blast it" for home, I said eh NO but he said no just maintain this pace - by then I had no idea what that was because he told me not to look at my watch. As we passed the last km marker it had definitely notched up a bit further, but I was able to maintain the effort if having to work hard, he was great, he counted down the last 300m for me on the telegraph poles - by this time I wasn't capable of talking anymore, was working too hard for that! I finished triumphantly :-) I only hope the wee girl who was getting ready to cycle along the way we'd come with her Dad wasn't too concerned as I was grunting with effort by this time!! However, I am really pleased with myself, I took 10 minutes off the time from my last outing on that same route and I managed the last mile at about 9min mile pace which I wouldn't even have attempted on my own, so huge huge thanks to my impromptu coach and who knows, maybe we'll do it again some day.
PS glad to say that John's leg held up well so things are looking more hopeful for him :-)