Sunday, 19 February 2017

Three days.

Three days worth of photos, so I might as well blog. I was writing an essay last week and wasn't letting myself off the hook even long enough to blog. I was too scared I wouldn't do it. Because I didn't want to do it. Still it is mostly done now. Ready to submit tomorrow.

I've been out a few runs during the week and my hip flexors are snapping a bit after the Carnethy. And then on Tuesday for some reason I went out and blasted the Arthur's Seat 10 miler which has a fair proportion of hill. And on Friday I thought that I would run up the tourist route to the top of the seat. The path was very busy as it's a school holiday. There were lots of French people for some reason. At the top it was hoaching. Instead of taking photos of the view I took photos of the people.

I have been keeping quiet about running as Peter's knee continues to give him trouble. He was trying to be sensible and rest it. It seems it's more like a kneeling injury from work than a running injury.

Saturday, I got him to run up and down the street a few times to see if it was fit for a Gullane run. He said it was but he was lying. Not as bad as last Sunday but it was still hurting him. A few times he fell behind me. You'd think I'd enjoy it, but I don't.
Still, the sun came out for a while.

Storm clouds gathering.

So today we thought we'd go to the Pentlands and I could have a longer run and he could take his mountain bike. Some of this went well. The middle bit was fun. Somebody doesn't like getting his bike muddy though. And I was ordered not to publish any photos of him pushing his bike "like a pussy". As if a pussy could push a bike.

It all went black and white after the muddy bit.

Except for this chap.

Here's to better knees and fewer essays in the future.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Carnethy 5 and a breezy 8 miler.

This photo is pinched off the Carnethy web-site. I don't know who took it but it's great.

Yesterday was (I think) my 13th Carnethy 5 Hill Race. I was kind of hoping it would be a warmish day, a bit sunny, not too much wind. Instead it chose to be uncharacteristically bad. For the first time in my memory of the race there was a cut-off time set for the Howe. It was cold with sleety rainy in Edinburgh. Ooyah. I put on some layers and packed some more.

Happily I recently bought a water-proof that is genuinely quite nice to run in. Up until yesterday it had gone untested. I put it on before the race and then couldn't bring myself to take it off, and never regretted the decision. I took some photos on the way up Scald Law, and after that it was all about survival. There was near white-out at the tops.  A small girl running next to me got blown clean off her feet on South Black Hill. Just whipped her away. She was fine. Popped back up and ran on. It's lucky the Pentlands are mostly pretty benign though. No steep drop offs.

None of the hills seemed too bad yesterday. In terms of climbing I mean. The conditions just felt quite alarming and so I think I had a good steady flow of adrenaline going into my system for the whole race. I found the run from West Kip down to the Howe the worst bit because the horizontal sleety snow was really hurting my eyes and I could barely see. I was lucky I didn't put my foot in a hole.

Going up Carnethy I still had it in me to do some running and I really appreciated the time we have recently spent out in the hills. There seemed every incentive to try and move as fast as possible.
The top of Carnethy was unreal. There was just this ripping headwind full of blinding ice-pellets. I couldn't see and could hardly move forwards. I don't know how the marshals survived up there. Then it was a relief to go round the cairn and set off back down the hill. Except for that stinker of a descent which I am no good at and I had the usual AaaaaH! Chagrin!! As people I had passed on the way up the hill yomped past me as if there was no problem when clearly it was nearly impossible to move. Now out of danger my legs felt all weak and cottony too. Eventually I got to the bottom and could run again and enjoyed the run in through the filthy bog and up to the finish to the sound of the bagpipes.
I was pleased to have made it in under 90 minutes and in the best time since getting AF and all that chapter.

Today it was pretty bad too, but you can't waste a weekend day indoors so we headed down to Gullane despite being tired and quite sore. Peter had a bit of a knee and I had a bit of an all over body ache. My arms were sore today for some reason.

We stopped at Yellowcraigs at the toilets. There are David Lynchian distorting mirrors. There weren't a lot of people around so it didn't seem too weird to get the camera out.

Instant slim.

OOps. Easy come, easy go.

Down at the shore we had the wind behind us and the air smelled good. We both got a lift out of how wild it was.

There were surfers in the sea at Gullane. Which was impressive. But we were both thankful it wasn't us. Jeezo. It's Sunday night again. How did that happen?

He's up! But not for long.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Parkrun PW, God Skies on Sunday, and the Call of the Crows in the Treetops.

Photo pinched from Sweatshop Edinburgh. Thanks v. much.

Saturday I finally went out there and did it. A parkrun. A Porty Parkrun. So now I have laid down my championship challenge time! I had a few goals for this. I've had a dicky tummy, so to be frank, number one goal (no, not number two) was to not poop my pants. My second goal was to see if I could get under 24 minutes. Surely I could do that? Number three goal was to see if I could beat the other over 50 Porty lady there...Fen, who passed me in the last desperate 200m of the Prom race just over a month ago. But not at the expense of missing out on number one goal. That was really my primary objective.

I was not relishing the prospect at all. Peter kind of talked me down in the car and got me thinking about speed and not going off too fast and all that kind of thing. It's 3 laps of the same course, which I actually quite liked. It helped me break it all down.

It was very well organised but seems to be much too popular. I was unimpressed to be starting at a walking pace until the crowd could shuffle to a jog and then a run. At least there was plenty of wind cover, particularly for the first lap. By the second lap things were spacing out and it was more roomy.

I had the usual problems. What do I think about? Don't think, it slows you down. You just have to kind of give your body the idea that it's an emergency and then switch off your brain. But not so much of an emergency that you poop your pants. 

I was onto the last lap sooner than I thought and I did get kind of lost in it all. Before I knew it I could see that I was near the finish. I picked the pace up just in case Fen was right on my shoulder. I didn't know where she was. I haven't run myself into that kind of oblivion in quite some time and I had to take some time afterwards before I could speak or do much. But I discovered I'd ticked all three boxes. Fen came in a little behind me. I'd run 23.47. My pants were still clean. A Hollywood ending, 

It was only later, browsing through old results, that I realised that I'd run a PW for the parkrun by quite some distance (time). And yet I was quite untroubled. Perhaps I am finally learning my lesson. Don't let what you could do in the past spoil what you can do today!

Today, in the morning, neither of us were walking that well. Just shambling around. I wanted to run 13 or 14 miles around Gullane and surrounds and Peter didn't have any objection so that's what we did. I've been enjoying getting up in the hills but I really liked getting back down to the beach today.
There were some cracking God Skies. I may have slightly tweaked the saturation and contrast. I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself. 

We had a toilet stop at Gullane and when I came out, the sun had come out and I was confronted by a burning bush!!!
I waited around in case there were any instructions forthcoming, but there was nothing to hear but the blackbirds and the odd crow.

Back at Yellowcraigs it was nearing dusk and the crows were cawing raucously in the trees. I picked up the pace in case, err, well Dracula and all that. Probably lives in Dirleton.


We arrived back at the car, with 13 miles on the clock, hungry and tired.