Sunday, 9 December 2018

Another Sunday Omnibus

Whatever happened to the time?

It is flying in, which is probably a good way to tackle this time of year.

I have 3 main things to tell you about; my heart stress test, the Water of Leith Half and the new Hermitage hilly 10K trail race. I might try to approach them in an orderly fashion.

My heart stress test.
Previously in YakHunter news I was telling you that instead of getting to run on a treadmill and prove my prowess to the doctors, I had a letter through saying they were going to lie me on my back and fill me full of drugs to see if my heart would pop or not. They call the procedure "Pop, or Not?". Okay, that last bit was a lie.

I wasn't so pleased about this. I wanted to run on the treadmill. I needn't have worried. They'd sent out the wrong letter. I got to run on the treadmill. What they don't tell you is you have to run on the treadmill with your tits out. I know. I'm sorry. It's for the ECG. You can imagine your own Carry-On jokes about this. I'm not helping. It was hard work, I'm telling you, especially as I hadn't had a race coffee. The good news....well there were 2 bits of good news really. They took an ultrasound scan of my heart before I started and stuck on all the ECG stickers, and then I had to get on the treadmill and run hooked up to the ECG - and then, they had emphasised to me, when they stopped the treadmill I had to get back into position for a further scan as quickly as possible because they wanted to see what was happening when my heart was working hard.  Well as soon as they stopped the treadmill I flew back to the scanning machine, because I was taking it all quite seriously. The scanning lady said I got a gold star for the quickest time back to the scanner ever.

The other bit of good news was the cardiologist said he couldn't see anything that was happening that would worry him -  which was nice, -  and that I should be sensible.

This was all very good. I was glad to get it over with. All I'd  wanted them to say was "everything seems fine", and I got that. I've a couple more things to do; wear a wee mobile ECG machine for 24 hours at some point, and do some genetic testing just to see if I carry some gene or not - which they say might well be inconclusive.

I didn't have much time to let this all settle in because I had work and then I had the start of a 3 day therapy and meditation thing, which I won't try to explain.
On the Monday me and P, who had hardly seen each other, went out for a longish run round Gullane and Yellowcraigs.

It was a stormy week but the forecast was looking good for the weekend. When I say "good" I mean the sun was due to come out. It was still meant to be cold and quite windy, but it had been so grey for so long, the prospect of a bit of sun was good enough.

Also we had signed up for a double race weekend.

Water of Leith Half Marathon
"What?" I hear you expostulate, "A lady of your age and delicate health?". Yes I know. It was just one of these things that happen. First we signed up for the Water of Leith half. I wasn't thinking so much that I wanted to run that far, but that the pub at the end might be fun. I also thought I might easily get a very good handicap on the back of my 2:02 Dumfries Half Marathon. Well the pub at the end was fun - but I didn't get a very good handicap. It wasn't far off what I was actually capable of on the day so I mustn't grumble. I was given a predicted time of 1:55 and came in just shy of 1:57. I actually enjoyed most of the run. It was sunny at times and we mostly had the wind at our backs. The last couple of miles gets a bit busy as you get into town and onto the cycle path where there are people and bikes and dogs to dodge.

I don't like this omnibussing. I have many tales to tell and no time to tell them.

It was very good catching up (not literally) with lots of folk (in real life lots of people caught up with me!). Louise told me about a bunch of different adventures she's been having and is making me think it's time we planned something a bit adventurous. Maybe even go beyond Gullane.
It's always good to see Nick W.
I had a pint and a half of brown beer and a mug of chips.

The race was very well, and very nicely, organised by Angus and Andy. They create a lovely, friendly, easy atmosphere to the whole thing and the results were out and up super-quick!

Simon Axon won, and looked very uncomfortable about it, but I think he fully deserved it.  We didn't win back our team prize, which was a pity, because it was three bottles of Jam Shed, Peter's favourite wine. He says it's lovely and sweet.

Hermitage Trail 10K
I'm not sure if this is really its name. I've seen it called a few different things. It's a new race organised by the Scurry people who made "Scurry to the Sea". It runs through the Hermitage in Morningside, and up onto Blackford Hill and also up towards the Braid Hills. 1000 years ago we used to live in Morningside. This was before Peter and I were "an item". (I often feel words conceal more than they reveal, but anyway, I'm sticking with this phrasing.)
Peter and our friend Jamie used to be drinking a can of beer or two on a Sunday and then seeing if they could throw the empty cans into the bin. This wasn't as easy as it sounds as the bin was in a wee alcove and you had to hit just the right spot on the wall for the can to rebound at the right angle to land in the unseen bin. I'd go for a run instead, around the Hermitage, and I got to know all these paths quite well. When I saw there was going to be a race there, I really wanted to do it. But we were already signed up for the WOL. And we wanted to do that. But maybe we could just do both.
So we signed up for it.

Broad strokes. Alarms went off. People got up. Venus was bright, but some people didn't care.

We made good time across town and had no trouble parking, which was good but meant a fairly long wait around before we started. We met a very cold Helen Falconer who is running very well and continued to do so today!

There was a high turnout of Carnethies to marshal, which was nice of them, and they were a good-natured bunch even though they must have been freezing.

I think Nicola won the 10K although it was all over before I got in and we missed the prize-giving because Peter wanted to go and look for dippers.

Early on, Richard Hadfield sneaks up beside me and asks me how I am. The dog!

Here's me, towards the top of Blackford Hill, leading from the middle.

I really liked the route of this race today. I'm familiar with the various paths and hills although I'd never put them together in quite the same way before. It is technical and hilly enough so it slows down people who never do off-road, but there was nothing very difficult. There were a couple of patches where the mud was bad enough that I kind of wished I had my Inov8s on, but Hoka Speedgoats were fine for 99% of it. What I didn't like, and was nobody's fault, was how busy it was. Yesterday was a fairly serene day in comparison. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the women where I was. It was hectic, and I felt crowded, and it's a nice part of the world, but I never saw anything but my feet and maybe 15 feet ahead. If I'd been fresh I might have liked it more.

Peter was in a slightly better mood at the end than he had been at the beginning - I think he was feeling tired and old, even though he'd run a good race. He's not a fan of the Xmas music that was playing, and neither am I, so after finding some cake to eat. (It took quite a while to want to eat) we went back down into the Hermitage to look for dippers. It's an idyllic spot, but in the winter the sun doesn't make it in there at all I don't think. It was damp and chill and the water and the ground and the trees all looked a greyish brown. I could hear birds but I couldn't see any. When we got back the prize-giving had been and we just had time to make it out before the fun run - a cavalcade of elves - was set off.

After a brief chat with Graeme Dunbar and Kathy Henly, we took off in the Berlingo and we are now slowly piecing ourselves together again.

So- a 2 race weekend - well I'm glad I managed it but I don't want to do it too often (ever again). Both of us were feeling we were missing just being out for a run in the country to see what's there.

This evening's challenge, if I can face it, is to fit a set of mudguards to my mountain bike.

Strava said I made a massive relative effort. Thanks Strava. You're the only one who understands me.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Rainy run with a little sun.

 Today's run was surprising and fun. We were going to head to Gullane but the forecast was terrible. It was forecast to be wet here too, but not as wet and not until later. We were thinking of going round Arthur's Seat and then I proposed a detour past the station for a coffee and then  a quick trip to the West End and back just to see what horrors Christmas was throwing up, working on the "so bad it's good" principle. Peter was up for it, slightly to my we got coffees and stood on the top of the Waverley Market trying to figure out if a swan dive from the Scott Monument into one of the bucket seats on the "ride" right beside it would be possible. Then we tried to make our way through the crush...

We had thought about taking a look at the German Market - but the crowds even on the pavement of Princes Street were too impossible, so we headed up George Street to see the Silent Disco. I can't imagine that anyone is going to pay £4.50 to get a set of head-phones to dance in a silent disco in this structure of light. Maybe I'm wrong but...why would you? Peter marvelled that someone must have screwed in all the light-bulbs. Then he started making noises about Corstorphine Hill. Well actually, when you're at the West End it's not that far. We took a route that avoided Shandwick Place but expected to have a clear run along St John's road - the pavements are ample and there's never anyone there except at the bus-stops...or so I thought.

We hadn't bargained with there being rugby on. The pavements were four and five people deep all the way along to Murrayfield, so we ran most of the way towards the traffic in the bus-lane. The odd taxi drove towards us on purpose, but mostly the traffic left us alone. It was noticeable how much more good-natured this crowd was than the usual crowd of Hibbies on Easter Road. We got a few smiles and hellos and exhortations to run faster. Mostly cheerful men in skirts having had beer for breakfast. Just the thing to put you in a good mood.

I was running at top speed so have no record of that part of the journey. 
At the wee gate that takes you up C Hill beside the zoo we had a change of gear. For a short while the sun came out and it was quite warm and bright. 

 As we rounded the top of the hill, however, the first rustle of rain in the tree-tops started and quickly gathered momentum as the skies darkened. We took shelter under some trees at the edge of the golf-course for a short while, but when it became clear that the rain wasn't for stopping we set off again. The 4 or so miles from Ravelston to home were more of a grind with the north wind and the rain in our faces, but we both knew we'd be home soon.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

And Conan grew strong...

I pushed the mileage the week before last, so last week I took it easy running-wise, but I seemed to be alright. Come Saturday I felt fine. It was bright, although a bit hazy. We headed down to Gullane. 
We're in the habit now of setting a photography theme for the day, with a competitive edge. In the summer we had bee and butterfly-offs. Moving towards autumn we turned to orange leaves and bright berries. When choosing a theme it's best to pick something that is available so we usually establish the day's target in the first mile while we're warming up and seeing what's there. This week, in the low winter light, it seemed evident that our photo-challenge should be Back-lit Beauties. Buchanan got straight to work on the dandelions. I was too proud to get sufficiently near, so I think he won.

Anyway, it was a lovely day and I was surprisingly swift. Sometimes we can both be a bit tired and fractious on Saturdays, but for whatever reason we both seemed to have the joy and we both loved our run round the beach. It helped that everything looked spectacular. The tide was way out below the Aberlady nature reserve so we went a visit to the subs.

What happens if you pan with someone running on "panorama" mode? This. This is what happens.

We were in such good moods we didn't even fall out in Tescos later doing the shopping for the week.

Then Buchanan was pulling for a longer run. He didn't run a step during the week because he's a lazy old cow. I think it's why he's lasting so long and so well. (Touch some wood or something - no not that.) Then at the weekend he's too fresh. He got a notion he wanted an ADVENTURE on Sunday. The sun was going to shine. It was to be a lovely day. All memories of my long year of injury were erased from his eager mind. We should run 18 MILES. I would be FINE.
I was pleased with how well I was standing up, but knew my abilities were not going to keep pace with Buchanan's enthusiasms. And it was too late really to get him to hook up with someone more his own size for a big old run-out. I wanted to run 10 miles max. Somehow I compromised with a suggestion of a 15 mile hilly route through town.  So anyway, that's what we did. It wasn't such a nice run. It started off with Peter all impatient and pushing the pace and ended with me complaining for pretty much the whole of the last 5 miles. I never noticed the moment when it stopped being him behaving badly and started being me. I was bloody glad to stop though. I was running 10+  minute miles towards the end and my legs felt like old wooden poles.

I know I keep taking pictures of this way into the park, but it's great isn't it?

We ran through the posh back streets from the Commie Pool to Blackford Pond. I nearly got in an altercation with a rude fat lady in an Audi who beeped me unnecessarily as she drove too fast round a corner.

Ex-PRCers Fiona and Keith Mayfield were out for a walk in the Hermitage.

 I was having a very welcome seat on some blocks at the side of the canal as Peter enthusiastically photographed something when I saw this on the ground. I thought that a melancholic goth must have been sitting there contemplating the decomposition of violets and lost their crucifix. This may have been true. On closer inspection the cross and the chain didn't actually go together and the crucifix had the full Lord's Prayer written on it in tiny silver writing. If it's yours I popped it in a nearby tree.

This was my nod to the beauties as I was coming off of Corstorphine Hill. My legs had gone peg by this time however so I wasn't feeling it.

Beautiful cranes.

The next day I went out just a wee three miler expecting my legs to be dead wood, but they were in fact inexplicably good.

I got my date through at last for my heart stress test. I had thought this was going to be on a treadmill with an admiring audience cheering me on as I belted out "Proud Mary" and ran my socks off. It turns out, however, that they're going to do it with me lying flat on my back and them filling me full of drugs that make my heart beat fast while I just lie there. As Peter says, there was a time when that would have been my ideal night out. Now I'm not so sure. I've got work straight after as well. It sounds like the kind of thing that'll give you a headache.

I'll tell you all about it anyway. :-)