Sunday, 20 December 2009

Snowy Pentlands

The team decided to crack down on their recent sloth and alarms were set to get us up and out to the Pentlands early...however, I woke up with the alarm at 8.30am and felt tired and uninspired. Got up and had a look out the window at grey spindrift on Arthur's Seat under a dull sky and went straight back to bed. Buchanan was taking no responsibility for the day - to him setting an alarm means telling me to make him a cup of tea half an hour after I'm up - "and not so strong this time." I prodded him once to see if he was going to insist on getting up - but he asked how the day looked and when I told him said "might as well rest up then. "

There was a worry in the back of my mind that we're both becoming less and less remarkable in terms of hard work and dedication. Were we just going to become increasingly round until running would be something we reminisced about? As our waistlines expanded our recalled pbs would get faster and faster. Sleep soon removed these worries but instead I had an unsettling dream in which I was remembering having fallen backwards off a 100 ft ladder. In my dream I was remembering grasping for the top rung but not trying very hard and then to my horror falling away backwards. I felt a mixture of horror at having fallen and relief at suffering no consequences.

Finally at 11.30 I woke up again and feeling a great deal better got up to a much more affable looking day. Buchanan was still of a mind that we should be going to the Pentlands and the wind seemed nothing like as strong as had been forecast so I didn't put up too much of a fight, just muttering under my breath about how it was going to get dark and we'd be benighted in temperatures below zero or else get lost in a white out.

The road at Flotterstone was a sheet of ice and the carpark was full to overflowing so we had to park at the side of the road. The path up Turnhouse had been polished to a high glassy sheen by sledgers and the wind at the top was cutting and incredibly sore. We kept going though and got out of the worst of the wind. The snow was deeper than its been for a few years coming down the far sides of the hills and it felt pretty safe under foot. (Mostly, although Peter cartwheeled past me at one point, emitting a high pitched shriek.) There was a plethora of walkers - most of whom seemed overdressed and burdened by rucksacks and poles and with their hoods up so they couldn't see the view. I was impressed however by one guy who had an orange balaclava and sunglasses on. It was both a good look (sinister as hell) and would have saved us from the wind sting.

The light was fading so we headed right at the foot of the East Kip down to the Howe and then along to the back of Black Hill where there's a nice little path. We climbed a last hill at Bell's Hill as the sun was setting and then headed down the path onto the road and then back to the car.

Nice run, albeit very slow and felt toasty throughout. We were out for 2hrs 45 mins and felt fine. Maybe shaking off the cold at last.

I am now obsessed with Andre Agassi and intrigued with the drive that sports' people have to be the best. Graeme Obree described just feeling relief when he took the hour record because he hadn't failed. I found a (semi) interesting article in the Guardian on-line about Agassi and other troubled sports' stars. Cricketers, apparently, are particularly prone to depression and suicide.

So I wonder is there more than one way of doing this or do you actually have to have demons to accomplish great things? Is Paula just keeping it quiet? Bjorn Borg? Troubled? Or is there more than one way to skin a cat? I can't finish this thought yet so I'm off to have my tea.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Dicing with ice

We thought we better get out a longer run today before we had to put elastic in our clothes to accommodate our fuller figures. We both continue snuffly and have been lounging around in our jammies drinking red wine and never getting out til after dark. I have seen my abs disappear under a new layer of fat this week. Its a shame. I was never exactly lean. So anyway the best way I know of burning up some fat is to get out a long run.

It was bitterly cold and the thought of going out was daunting. We started planning to go up the Pentlands and then thought better of it and thought we'd go and run out to the airport, but even that started to seem too barren and exposed so we settled for running up the Water of Leith to the bike tunnel then back down via the canal, into town and round the back of Arthur's Seat to get somewhere near 17 miles.

Outside the pavements were very slippy and icy making for difficult running. This got a bit better further up the Water of Leith on the muddier paths. It was a nicer day than it had looked from within a cocoon of cosy heat earlier on. It was overcast but lighter than yesterday. Peter was delighted with all the icy formations and prettinesses the snow makes so ran around taking pictures while I plodded steadily on, somewhat less buoyant. The change of gait to accommodate the ice and snow made for very stiff legs later on.

Anyway we did it, stopping at Scotmid across the road from us to buy soup and rolls for a late and delicious lunch.

Started reading Andre Agassi's autobiography "Open" last night and stayed up longer than I meant to reading - and then dreamed of tennis all night. He had a pretty fierce father! At first I thought it was overly wordy but once I'd settled into it I forgot about that which I guess means he's a good writer. He says tennis players talk to themselves because its the loneliest sport in the world. He says you're out there on the court by yourself and you're not allowed to talk to anyone and you have no real contact with your opponent and you end up just speaking out loud. That's happened to me on some of my longer runs a few times. Find yourself suddenly exclaiming things (or swearing) or having a chat with the sheep. I think long distance running might be up there in the loneliness stakes. Maybe that's why blogging seems like a good idea.

Why would I not speak to Peter since I was out running with him, you might ask. Because he runs too damn quick and just annoys me.

Photos by Peter.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Yak in a Buffalo

It was a nicer day today and my flourishing and increasingly productive cold was fighting with the desire to get out and do some training since I'm off work for a week. (Random annual leave to preserve sanity before Christmas.) While enthusiasm was winning I dreamed up a plan to go and do mile intervals at the meadows at 10K pace with half mile recovery jogs X 5. I went to tell Peter about this (who was still in bed having been up tinkering with the website and putting some friends' wedding video together) but even while I was explaining the session I realised that I felt dizzy and maybe it wasn't a good idea. Luckily he didn't think so either and instead he suggested we noise up his brother Neil and see if he would be available for a gentler run round the park.

Neil is strikingly like Peter to look at and presumably has similar running potential but he only dips his toe in from time to time so he remains in the first stages of running. It was a nice change to jog down to his house about a mile away and set off for Arthur's Seat by a different route from normal. We went round the perimeter in the mud and thorn bushes, rather than round the roads, starting at the London road end. For once we stuck fairly consistently to chatting pace.

I had worn my Buffalo - a nice bit of kit made of fleece on the inside and pertex on the outside that friends who live down in the Lake District swear by. It hasn't seen much action over the couple of years I've had it as it often turns out to be too warm. Its got zip-down sides for ventilation and is designed to be worn with nothing or a minimum underneath, so ventilation has to be balanced against indecent exposure. It was just about right for today anyway. It was raining on and off after we started running but it didn't affect me at all. Neil and Peter were chatting pretty much all the time and it was nice to run along in company but not say much. I'm not good at running and talking anyway and my breathing was a bit laboured with the cold.

Once we'd gone round the park we were still quite fresh so we did a couple of laps up one side of Hunter's Bog and then along the path that takes you up to the top but branching left so we came down a ridge at the other might be called the Dasses. The trouble with having been running round Arthur's Seat for years is I've made up names for bits of A.S. where I know what I'm talking about - but nobody else would. I call this the old middle way. So we went round the old middle way!

It was grey above (although there were some nice views of a sunny looking Fife from time to time) and it was wet and muddy under foot, but it was good to be out and about. We tried to talk Neil into various adventures...with who knows what result. He has the sporting gene too but has concentrated more on swimming thus far. (Although he has run a marathon - he's done more than many people with his running.)

Anyway - another winter's day's run so we will be allowed to eat again this evening! We are both just trying to minimise the damage of our colds and this time of year's pull to be lazy and eat too much. Tomorrow night is Club championship awards night and Richard's nasty handicap race in which we get given a hellish handicap as punishment for making off with our age group prizes for another year. I have to say Peter probably deserves his - and I deserve mine for consistency, attendance and resisting the temptation to have a baby for another year - but I'm maybe not the best runner in my age-group! You know I would gladly relinquish my champion status if more of the women would come and do the championship races. If any of you are reading - come on, it is fun! and it makes you good at racing.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Dunbar XC

Lovely race which went fine despite having a dicky tummy yesterday and less so today. I've got a kind of cold that seems to come and go too - will probably be a bit worse tomorrow again. Today it was great to get out in the daylight and Dunbar and surrounds looked fabulous in the hazy sunshine. It was mighty cold but there was almost no wind.

I had to fight very hard to keep Rachel behind me.

The course was varied and interesting - the hardest bit being the 1st stretch of sand which was soft and power-sapping and I wasted a bit of strength trying to find somewhere with better grip to run on. There was a bit over a mud flat where the surface was strongly reminiscent of sticky gingerbread. The stuff through the forest was my favourite. It was the last stretch and by this time my lungs were hoo-ing but I had to go for it. Gently undulating and nice to run on but with the odd root that could cause a major upset if you let your attention slip. The course was nearer 5 miles than the usual 4. Thank you Dunbar for another stunning race. I ran the whole way with the song "Meantime" sung by Georgie Fame blasting away in my head for some reason. I am really enjoying the Borders XC series. Can't recommend it highly enough.

After that we went for a post race run on the beach near Lucy C's at North Berwick. I "let" the faster runners go and enjoyed pottering along on the sand looking out to sea where there was a mysterious cold mist with various large rocks jutting up out of it. If you ignored the cold you could nearly convince yourself you were somewhere exotic like Vietnam. N B Law had a furry blanket of fog over the top of it and a few skeletal trees that looked oriental. (I'd have to say Chinesey. Is that a word?)

Thanks to Ian Nimmo for taking pictures of the Porties (especially me) and then letting us know about it.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Running Noses

Hoho, did you see what I did there? I wouldn't write at all but ever since I spoke to the lovely John Forker at the running club Christmas night out and he told me he reads my blog regularly and EVEN LOOKS FORWARDS TO IT I have felt a prickling of bad conscience about not writing anything. The thing is we ran home from the night out (or shambled home drunkenly across town - it was quite good fun) and saved ourselves a £12 taxi fare. And the next day I demanded that we run 10 miles in the dark hungover or not so I could make it to over 40 miles for the week. And the next day we felt bleak...but I put it down to working. Well Peter had a cold anyway and spent the week compounding it by cycling 20 miles a day in the cold. The next day I felt pretty rubbish but forced myself out for an 8 miler in the dark after work. By now the thickening in my head and lethargy was identifiable as a cold rather than a vague sense of ill-being (the opposite of well-being).

So we skipped club last night and ran round Arthur's Seat in the dark instead, throwing in 6 X 100m sprints just to liven it up. The 1st sprint Peter hardly got away from me. I thought I'd broken him at last. But after that every "sprint" consisted for me of that awful feeling that I was trying my hardest but actually going backwards as Peter shot forwards. I'm used to it though. We hawked and snorted our way back home and felt better for having been out.

Its a shame. We've avoided illness so long maybe we really thought we were impervious. The plan now is to try and rest up for the Dunbar XC on Sunday.

If my cold could speak, what would it say?

It would say I hate this miserable, dark, depressing time of year. I hate the dark, I hate the damp cold. I hate forcing myself to get up when all I want to do is sleep. I hate even the debate about whether Christmas is any good or not. Clearly it isn't. I hate all the Christmas nights out (quite liked our one because Christmas wasn't much in evidence), I hate the music DJs think they have to play. I hate people saying that Christmas is too commercial and then doing it anyway. People who live as far North as we do are clearly intended to hibernate and take it easy in the winter. We should be having short days with long nights of dreaming. We should be staring into the coal fire and inventing bridges and television and tarmacadam in our heads.

Oh well. Shortest day is soon and then we're on the up.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Rainy day tempo run experiment.

I dodged the club session last night as just too knackered from work and getting up at 5am etc. Thought I would try to do some kind of tempo session today and simultaneously get out in the daylight as I've worked all the daylight hours since Sunday. (Not hard to do.)

As it turned out there wasn't much light today as the clouds were low and it was raining. The temperature was just above freezing and there was a cold West wind blowing. I struggled to think of a session so I turned to one of our favourite running books "Running Tough" by Michael Sandrock. Looking at a few sessions I thought I would invent a session based on heart rate. As most books seem to identify lactate threshold pace as being around 85% of MHR I thought I would run to the meadows and run 6 miles - starting at 85% of Max and then increasing in intensity by 1% for each mile. It would be a 12 mile run with 6 miles tempo in the middle.

It was quite a diverting session but my pace isn't very quick at 85%. My first mile was 8.03 and then the rest did get quicker. I worry that this is too slow but I was tired by the 6th lap which I did in 7.40. Is this really the right intensity to be running? Dunno. Anyway, why am I giving myself a hard time? I ended up running 13 and a bit miles as I ran round the back of Arthur's Seat on the way home to make up the mileage. Never even noticed the rain once I was going. Great soundtrack Peter recently downloaded from somewhere but I couldn't tell you what it was...Photo stolen randomly off the www.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Borders XC series #2; Lauder

The above photo was taken by Stuart Hay of Dunbar Running Club.
No photos of today from us as Buchanan was having a bad day and thought the weather was too miserably grim to even bother taking photos -which was a pity. When I'm having a grim time and running in deep mud under glowering skies I want documentary evidence. Plus there was a really good turn out of Porties. Our hearts were gladdened when we arrived to find Johnny, James Harrison and Rachel already there. Also there and fast becoming an honorary Porty, definitely a fellow race-addict, was Alex, man of Rachel.

The weather forecast was pretty terrible; 30 mph winds and metcheck cheerily predicted it would be 3 'C but windchill would take it down to the equivalent of - 3 or 4'C. Reluctantly decided a long-sleeved top was a necessity despite being against the spirit of the Cross-Country.

(Rachel, however, still ran in a vest!)

I was weirdly up for this. I don't know where it came from. I was so exhausted from the half marathon yesterday that I was in bed by about 9.30 and I tried to read for a while but passed out without ceremony, head in book. (It is a good book, Mark Beaumont's cycle round the world, and he's nearly made it back to Paris so I wanted to read it but couldn't.)

Peter was over-tired and was carping about the weather in a miserable way as we drove out, windscreen wipers on double-time, the wind bashing our wagon Lauder!

All we could discern from the Borders XC website was that Lauder was liable to be hilly - and hilly it was. As yesterday's shennigans was largely downhill my uphill legs were still firing and after a flattish first mile we set off up the Southern Uplands. This played to my strengths and I passed a few ladies I'd been sitting behind on the flat. Running over the tops was lovely (once the oxygen deficit eased) and the wind was pretty much behind us. It was reminiscent of the tops at Yetholm Hill Race, which I also don't have a photo of, but its good running on short grass, on gently undulating ground up the top of round green hills. Out taking photos was a man in a Russian hat and great coat who shouted me on using the voice of Stuart Hay. Peter tells me that he has remained injured since becoming ensnared in the wire at Norham, leaving us feeling saddened and guilty; Peter because he used Stuart's misfortune to get ahead of him at Norham and me because I used the hanged man in the Tarot to depict him on my blog. Did I jinx him in some way? Anyway, returning to the present day...

Amongst the ladies I had fixated on early in the race were a woman in a Carnethy vest and also a slim runner with long dark hair wearing what looked to be a plain red vest. I'd passed both of them and wanted to retain my lead. I lost focus a bit crossing a hill-side on a path with a steep camber. This reawakened my ever present left knee trouble. Ever after a marathon in 2004 when I jiggered it that knee is apt to start tracking wrong. I picked my way rather carefully down a steep ferny, muddy drop. By this time a number of runners had caught up with me giving me impetus to try and get going again. A man from Penicuik Harriers hailed me and said he liked the downhill but did I plan to get ahead of him on the flat again? I told him that was my plan and set off as hard as I could. He sat in comfortably behind me and as there was a head-wind I realised he was running a cleverer race than me. I had a good head of steam up again though and wasn't thinking all that well so went the wrong way after not one but two stream crossings, losing me time and ground. I determinedly shot to the front of the group that had passed me again; which included the Carnethy lady. I then led us through some weird diversion...there was a yellow sign pointing left and next to it a hole in the wall so I took us through the hole in the wall. The minute we were through it felt wrong. There was no obvious path or markings and we had to dodge through young trees til we arrived at another hole in the wall which we jumped back out of. I was heartened as we got back on the main path to see a trail of people following the same route we took. I don't think it was really the route. Peter certainly said he never saw anything like that! Then there was just a short, very muddy, very rocky path to run down, then a sprint round the grass to the finish. I was very worried that the Carnethy lady would get me right at the end so I kept up as much pressure as I could. The man from Penicuik passed me easily but it wasn't him I was worried about so I kept focused and going. And then we were finished. Now that I'm writing about this I think people were shouting "Come on Pamela" which means it could have been Pamela Whitlie. The results will tell all. Shortly after Rachel came in. She looked a bit down. I never got a proper race analysis from her but I'm guessing she didn't like the downhills. Don't know though. She said she nearly got me in the middle but then I got away again. Alex was extremely muddy. James H. looked very chipper. (Turns out he was 4th overall!)

Once all the Porties were in we made off quickly to try and get the best shot at getting one of the two showers. These, disconcertingly, periodically ran icy cold - I think when the men's showers were on the women's went cold. You had to be ready and jump backwards out the water to avoid the cold.

The cafe was shut and we were all clearly cold and tired so we went our separate ways pretty much right away. Peter and I stopped at the garage just down the road and had sandwiches and Pecan pastries of a calorific value higher than anything we burned off in today's hills. They were good though. Particularly the pastries. I felt my sandwiches were just a rather dull preamble to the main business.

So, back to work again tomorrow. The dishes are not done. My laundry is not done. I am a little more tired than I was on Friday. No races next weekend after doing 6 in 3 weeks. I think it will be relaxing but rather empty.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Porty small win the WOL (half marathon)

Today's race was the Water of Leith Half marathon and this year, for the first time, I had what I considered to be a generous handicap and knew I had to throw everything at it! This great, small, low-key handicap race runs every winter - up until now organised by Jim Bruce and Stornoway runners but soon to be taken over by Porties own RD (Richard Dennis) and PB.

At the bus which takes you up to the start we were pleased to find Jim Scott, as well as Ben, Richard and Lucy C. As there were 6 of us we could make 2 teams and as we couldn't be bothered to figure out all the ramifications of how our handicap times were likely to help or disadvantage us we decided to divi up the teams on the basis of height. Thus the teams Porty Tall and Porty Small were created!

I had a handicap of 1.46 and was pretty sure I could run 1.41 so wanted to make the most of this. The rules are that if you beat your handicap by more than 5 minutes you get penalised by 5 minutes but in practice I think if you won by taking more than 5 mins off your HC they would let you off with it. I set off determinedly and was making good headway although it was hard work. The pleasing thing about a handicap is you get to pick off runners who you can be fairly sure must be running less strongly than you or you wouldn't have caught them. I probably put too much into the 1st part of the race, but its downhill, so its hard to decide what would be a reasonable pace. I went through 10K in what would be a pb time and had no idea if I could sustain what I was doing but was willing to give it a bash. There were footsteps quite close behind me but not trying to pass for quite a while and I was trying to not let this bother me.

As I crossed the road at Arnold Clark at a bit more than 7.5 miles 1 of the 2 girls in pink I had been chasing for sometime was lying on her side in the central reserve of the pedestrian crossing. Her friend hurriedly told me I needed to stop to help, which I did as did the man who had been behind me. She was already in the recovery position and I checked her pulse which was fine and steady and she was breathing fine and her face was pink. "Have you got a phone?" the guy asked the vertical runner in pink. He phoned an ambulance for her. I in the meantime had put my Garmin off as a matter of habit. I was pretty much thinking my race was over. There had been some slight chance that I could get my first win in a race but that was receding quickly. I was pretty sure the girl was okay. The only things I would recognise would be a heart-attack or heat stroke or hypoglycaemia or anaphylactic shock. Or a faint...but she didn't even look pale. Some paramedics arrived in a car and jumped out so I switched my Garmin back on and took off - realising I now had no idea what my "race time" was.

My splits got much worse after this. Whether I was due for a crash due to overextending in the 1st half or whether the whole thing had just put me off my stride I didn't know, but instead of running steadily I was now struggling and in a bad frame of mind.

I passed a few more runners. One set of runners, suspiciously, I passed twice! I didn't start to get passed myself until after Powderhall B&Q, near a wooden bridge, I heard a runner closing down on me and then the stern tones of Richard Dennis telling me to dig in as he rushed past. Another guy passed me I think and then, as I turned for the last sprint to the finish line back down in Leith, Lucy C. went by. "Well done Lucy" was my 1st (audible)response, and then "Maybe I can catch her!" echoed in my head so I did my best in a sprint for the line but Lucy held me off!

The good thing was that Porty small had all finished in quick succession quite high up the field and I thought a team prize was likely. Quite soon after I saw the unusual sight of Peter finishing a race and then shortly afterwards Ben Kemp came thrashing in. I'd run a personal GARMIN time of 1.41.44, but that did not take into account stoppage time. As the WOL half is a bit longer than your average half it was an average of 7.34pace which I was pleased with. There was a massive spread of cakes and coffee and I got tucked into sticky ginger cake with very sweet white icing - sugar RUSH. At the presentation afterwards, sure enough Porty Small were the victors, so we each got a Stornoway black pudding for our efforts. I gave mine to Jim Scott because he was telling me he loves black pudding and I've read too much about hard fats and heart disease now to really be able to enjoy.

I've been looking at my data on Garmin Connect for the race today and it looks like I was stopped at the traffic island for 1 min 18 seconds, so as long as the winner beat me by more than that its alright...

Monday, 23 November 2009

Monday Long run

Pentlands again. We had visitors in the morning so were late to set off and take advantage of what little light there was. Plan for my re-introduction to the hills and general long run was Turnhouse, Carnethy, Scald Law, S. Black Hill, E. and W. Kips, down the Drove road, hop across to the path between Black Hill and Hare Hill, go down the side of Black Hill and cut across the reservoir and right down to the where the path turns back up to take you between Bell's Hill and Harbour Hill, then back down onto the road and back to Flotterstone. This was an untried route but got all the big hills over with in the 1st half.

It was cold and there was a stiff breeze blowing. We took it genuinely easy. Peter normally pushes the pace without intending to, but not today. Like last week, 2 races at the weekend seems to put paid to that feeling that you should be going faster. We were both fairly jolly but tired from the weekend and plodded along gently. At the tops I had pause to remember how in the wind you (or at least I) seem to drool and snotter simultaneously making nasty wet arcs which billow out sideways in the wind. "Why am I drooling?" I wondered, "Is this so delicious?"

The best I could come up with was that its something to do with your nose and mouth being condensing chambers. I noticed in America that my nose didn't run at all when I ran, when presumably the outside temperature was nearer the temperature of my blood. Answers on a post-card. Or a comment, help yourself.

So we were no great shakes speed-wise but enjoyed the rather savage scenery as the clouds scudded across the sky, the sun sometimes too bright, sometimes totally covered.

Because of our late start we had cut it rather fine by the time we were heading home between Harbour Hill and Bell's Hill and it was difficult to make out the rocky, slithery, muddy path. Back down on the road we could look around enough to enjoy the half moon and presumably Venus throwing their light on the water between the Pine silhouettes. Our stomachs were very empty though and we began to fantasise about food. That got us down the last bit of road to the car where there were bananas and chocolate and hot peach juice in a flask. I've promised Peter when we're well into our training for the Highland Fling we can start eating custard and jam doughnuts. I think he's going to hold me to it.

13.45 miles in 3hrs 09 minutes. I'm going to be tired for work tomorrow.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

East District CC league #2 Dunfermline

Race no.31 of the year. They're stacking up! We did question why we were going to do this race but remembered how sublime it was in January when we last did this. The world was made of mud, low sun and ice. Fantastic winter skies. Thick slicks of mud.

So after making the same navigation errors we made in January we arrived just about in time at Queen Ann High School and made our way over tothe cross country field.

We were expecting mud and were not let down. Even the grass in the school grounds was muddy and squelchy. Our feet took their first proper plunge in icy water on the path to the course.

There were no other Porties anywhere to be seen other than Gert who was already making his way home with a host of small children, so it was clear we wouldn't have a male or female team.

Still we've been going to the country long enough now so we know or at least know the faces of a fair few people and it was not a lonely experience. I had the usual difficulty taking off my coat, hat and gloves in readiness for the race to come. I started right at the back as not feeling in anyway like pointless fights. I don't think this did me any harm and it meant I went past quite a few people throughout the course which is always good for morale. I can honestly say I enjoyed the 1st part of the race round the smaller loop. It was tricky underfoot but not impossible so presented an interesting challenge in terms of trying to take the best line etc. There was plenty of room for passing when needed so never felt boxed in or harrassed. In the 2nd lap the fatigue of having to high step through all that mud set in and I felt I wasn't making much headway. Still it was okay. I had to concede a few places in the ploughed field, but also gained a few going back up the hill. Pretty soon I was finished and I was on camera duty.

The men went off astonishingly fast and I had to keep moving on from one vantage point to the next to make sure and get as many different shots as I could. The ambient light was great and there were lovely vistas of greens and browns and blue trees in the distance. My face and hands froze up however despite having put on many thermal layers after my race so I was glad when the men went round a third time and finished. I still have the mud on my legs trapped under my thermal stretch tights so I guess I better go and deal with that.

Tomorrow; we're both off, so a long slow run in the Pentlands is on the cards. Hope it's dry.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Another Park Run, Another PB.

Another Saturday dawned with filthy weather forecast but a little pocket of calm and sunshine from 9 - 10 am was enough to allow the Park runners to have their race unscathed. Difficult not to think its some kind of divine reward for getting up when we don't have to.

The weather was about perfect. It was cold and sunny. Slight headwind on the way out but nothing to speak of. I'd nabbed a massive PB last week so really had no expectations - or was trying not to have any.

Its becoming an increasingly social event as well. I've seen Clare Gilchrist of Ferranti at races for years but only really got speaking to her at the park run. Also there today were John Blair, making a comeback after a few years out, quite a few Porties including Shery (who is Johnny's sister but I had not realised), Bert almighty and Kerry getting in a wee sneaky low-pressure race post 2nd baby.

Ran off far too hard because Jenni and Shery were ahead of me, clocking up a foolish 1st mile of 6.39, which I paid for with the next 2 being 7.05 and 7.04 according to the Garmin.
It being my 4th Park run all the different parts of it are becoming familiar. The familiar feeling when the Garmin beeps for the 1st mile when what I usually think is "Christ is that only one mile?", and that desperate feeling at 4K when the finish still seems a long way off and its all to play for.
Long story short I finished in 21.16 according to my watch or 21.18 according to the organisers. I must figure out just exactly where the finish is! Another chunk off my time and going sub 21 now seems truly possible. Shery streaked past me at the end and I had nothing to respond with but I'll know to keep an eye on her in the future! Jenni also set another new pb.

Post-race we went off and met Amanda and Scott to climb at Alien Rock and by the time we came back out it was cold and wet as forecast.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Rainy Long Run

We'd thought we might go to the Pentlands or maybe the Lomonds of Fife for a long easy run following the weekend's raciness but the opportunity to get up early came and went and recovery seemed more important than another day's discipline. The weather forecast said quite high winds and rain. Never encountered any high winds but it was raining most of the time we were out. What better place to go and celebrate the abundant wateriness but up the Water of Leith and down the canal with the ducks and the coots?

Racing 2 days at the weekend made it more acceptable to plod along at a nice easy pace and take in the pleasant things that were around. There were leaves blown everywhere in lots of different colours; green, gold and ghostly white! There was no lack of mud.
The few people who were out were as nutty as us and generally grinned ruefully.

16.3 miles in a leisurely 2hrs 40 mins with stops to try and take pictures of the beautiful golden trees but were using our "B" cameras and the lighting was very low and the damp was making them fog up, so it was difficult. Results above.