Friday, 29 April 2011

Hamster Face

 Its quite difficult to show swelling in a picture. I remember having the same problem with a sprained ankle, for some reason the camera just wouldn't show the full horror of it.

Anyway, I'm lounging around in bed like Barbara Cartland, doing a spot of blogging instead of preparing for the Fling. I had a couple of spells of reprieve yesterday when I thought maybe I was fine after all but as the evening went on my face started to swell up. 2am found me maxed out on painkillers, close to tearing my hair out, unable to sleep or settle. I had about half an hour of total indecision, thinking - I'll phone the out of hours dental service, no I won't I'll wait till morning, but what if I phone and they can do something and help me? So I phoned but they'd gone home at 10pm so my next option was to phone NHS24. Another half hour of to-ing and fro-ing, am I being pitifully needy? but I can't stand it! So I phoned.

I got a nice sleepy dental nurse who talked me down a bit and told me some  stuff I could do, like icing my face - well who would have thought? and swooshing salty water around in my mouth. I've always got those gel ice things in the freezer so it was easy to set up a cold pack and surprisingly nice on my big taut puffed up face. The next most important thing she told me was how to phone the out of hours dental folk in the morning. I eventually got tired enough so I could snooze propped upright with pillows which passed a couple of bleak hours and then coffee in the morning temporarily lifts you above it all a bit. The race was on to be 1st on the line at 9am. I phoned at exactly 9am and they still had their night-time message on, so I phoned straight away again and I was 7th in the queue! Guess I wasn't alone with my night time of dental hell.

So anyway they invited me up to see them and it was an enormous relief to be on my bike and out in the air and feel like I was actually going to do something about it all. Up at the dental hospital the dental nurses kept sneaking out of the rooms to see how the big match was progressing. Yeah the wedding. What a dull game that seems. The outcome decided right from the start - where's the tension? Pretty soon I got to see the dentist and as by now it was completely obvious I had an infection he gave me some Metronidazole and sent me on my merry way.

Its hard telling someone how much pain you're in - especially if you're brought up not to make a fuss. It was a real pity that I never got across to Ruby the dentist yesterday just what a bad night I'd had before I came to see her or I guess she would have known I must have an infection and I could have started on antibiotics and I'd be a day better off; but I was keen to think that maybe I didn't  and maybe I could still run the Fling and it was all going to go away. In a way it was a relief when my face swelled up because that was something undeniable - objective proof that something really was wrong.

I am reminded of a story from one of these oh-my-god-plane crash programmes Peter and I watched a good few years ago, about a pilot who was circling around one of the airports in New York in his jet and he ran out of fuel and crashed, killing himself and everyone on board. They had the recordings of his talking to the control tower, saying he  was running out of fuel but not saying how urgent it was. Just a miscommunication really. The controllers were telling him "yeah yeah we're going to get you down as soon as possible" and he was agreeing - but it was clear that they didn't know it had to be right away or never. I always thought maybe the pilot just got tired and thought "What's the point, nobody listens anyway?" - although probably he thought he had more of a margin than he did.

So I've decided, because being a fool I have this urge to believe that everything works out for the best, that I'm going to have a good Cape Wrath Challenge in a couple of weeks time...and this morning while I was waiting for it to be 9am and I was spacing about on-line I came across a job that I might want, so maybe that will bear fruit - maybe its all for a reason!

Its going to be a good Highland Fling tomorrow I can feel it in my bones, but there's no way I could do it when I'm like this. I'm too-hoo sensitive. Even going into the Scotmid was a bit too much sensory stimuli - it was too Leithy by half.

I'll be very excited to see how the race goes for everyone though.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

De la cuchara a la boca desaparece la sopa

I used to have a friend at university called Tam who's idea of a joke was to tell you the same thing over and over and then assess your reaction. One of his favourites (and mine too really) was to rub his chin and say "De la cuchara a la boca desaparece la sopa - from the spoon to the mouth disappears the soup."

I don't know whether my soup has disappeared or not. I went to the dentist on Tuesday for an innocent check-up, I knew I probably needed a filling replacing but I was not too worried about that. It turned out my dentist Ruby had a cancellation so she said she could go ahead and do it right away if I wanted. I wanted. After much drilling she shook her head and said "We are through to the pulp, you're going to need a root canal treatment." We had a brief chat about just howking the thing out instead. She is against this and I think finds my attitude a little cavalier.

So we did  a root canal treatment and I lay there like a crocodile with my mouth open for about an hour. I knew my jaw would ache after this so wasn't surprised that it hurt, along with my gums for  the rest of the day and most of the night but I thought it would be better by yesterday. However the pain and tightness in my gum just kept getting worse despite painkillers and I slept about 3 hours last night. I've been down to see Ruby this morning and she reckons its an ulcer at the injection site and that it'll clear up on its own with some bonjela. I think she's right its not the tooth - the tooth isn't sore particularly - its just all around it that's sore. In the meantime its horrible to eat and I'm only getting snatches of sleep. Is my Fling f**ked? I don't want to think so.  But I don't know. I can't really be arsed getting organised for it. Its utterly fruitless to say so but I wish I hadn't gone to the fucking dentist. I wasn't even in pain.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Pups and Chicks

Dropped past Amanda and Scott's on our way to Aberlady for a sunny Easter 12 miler. We got to meet Horatio the new puppy and the birds... Horatio was a sleepy thing when we arrived and I could have nodded off with him on the grass in the garden in the sun.

Amanda and Scott are taking it in turns to look after H. so Scott came with us for a run and Amanda stayed home.

Sunny warm Easter Sunday. Nice run. Ran out of steam in the last couple of miles. Falko's! Jelly babies. Snarl up on the A1 on the way back. On the other side of the dual carriage-way it was because there was an accident. On our side of the dual-carriageway it was because of rubber neckers looking at the accident. It looked nasty. A few people strapped to stretchers. Hopefully just a precaution...

Photos pb

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Norman's Law Hill Race

6 Porties headed up North for the Norman's Law Hill Race today. Any last minute doubts about travelling all that way for a short race were wiped out last night as Susan Thomson of Fife AC published a picture of the cake she was taking to the race on facebook. Mmmmmm. I was too slow to get a piece of THAT  cake but did not go hungry...but wait! The race!

It was one of those days where its raining quite heavily but you can see from the amount of light that's getting through the clouds that the sun isn't that far away. It was a thought to strip down to a vest -well I wore two - but despite the rain it wasn't actually cold. There were a barn-full of not very impressed looking cows at the start. The rain tipped down and we were getting cold. We had a minute's silence for Alan Milligan at the start. I didn't know Alan Milligan but the minute's silence was pretty full anyway. Its not hard to imagine standing there for someone you do know...none of us get an exemption even though we are hill runners...

Then with a minimum of fuss we were off. I felt pretty good. A bit slow maybe but strong. I didn't try to push too hard to start with and just gradually wound it up and found I was making my way forwards through the field. The road gave way to trail pretty soon and then out onto more open hill-side. The trail was fun. It needed plenty of concentration but was manageable. The race gradually steepened as we made our way up what I assume was the actual Law. I jogged whenever I could and high-stepped when I couldn't and felt  good at the top to be not far behind Susan Thomson of Fife and Fabienne Thompson of Carnegie Harriers. They both regularly beat me so I couldn't help but be happy. Susan disappeared off pretty quickly but I stayed kind of in touch with Fabienne on the way back down. Apparently there are choices to be made on the way down this hill but the only choice I made was to follow...not knowing the area I didn't have anything to base any decisions on. On the way up I'd passed Derek Jablonski who I have passed often on the uphills but always always gets me on the way back down. "This is your chance today Mary" he shouted as I went by. "I'm done in today." He is one of these fearless descenders who actually likes the Ben Nevis Hill Race, who thinks crashing down a hill-side full of boulders and scree is fun. He never passed me on the way down but since there was a choice of routes that didn't mean anything. As it turned out though, it was my day and I did beat him. He said I was to enjoy it as it wouldn't be happening again. So that's what I'm doing. Enjoying it. Hehe.

Anyway. Full concentration was needed on the downhills so the miles zipped past really quick and before I knew it I was on nearly the final straight. Fabienne was still not far ahead ( but she's got a great turn of speed - does very well in the cross-country). Meanwhile a Dundee female who I had passed on the ups had gone past too and was just ahead. We went into a field and then were presented with a choice of coming out the field at the first gate and going onto the road or staying in the field to cut the corner but climb the fence at the end. As Fabienne and the Dundee runner took the staying in the field option I went for the road option and then legged it as fast as I was able hoping I'd bought myself some time. I may have got some advantage - I suspect I did - but only so I could finish closer behind the two of them than I otherwise would have. Still, good game.

The race is billed as about 5 miles but I made it 4.42 miles on the Garmin. Since there're a choice of routes I guess it doesn't make much difference. Maybe I "followed" the optimal route!

I didn't know all the winners so can't remember their names - sorry! What did register was that Hilary Ritchie of Fife AC took 1st FV40 after running 3.21 at the London Marathon just last Sunday on a day when many people struggled and slowed in the heat. 2nd FV40 was Sarah Legge who I never saw all race, after I had thought that maybe I'd follow her to get benefit from her knowledge of the route. Some hope!
Also of note was that the first three junior males in the race received a pair each of Andrew Lemoncello's old running shorts. What a prize!

It was lovely to be out doing some hilly stuff again. Legendary Fife Teas. Andrew Stavert of Portobello continues to improve and seems to have been bitten by the racing bug because is now racing most weekends. Good to see Keith Harper out enjoying the trails. Michael Geoghegan was up from the London area AGAIN because there isn't anything better going on in the UK than what we're doing. Tony Stapley is always a joy to see. We also had a guest runner along with us, Alastair Robertson of Lothian Runners, who was good enough to forget his jelly babies in the car. All the more for the Fling.

And last and finally the sun DID come out on the way home and there were glorious views of the Lomonds of Fife and lush green fields and wooded hill-sides. Great day out.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Still Tapering

Starting to feel pretty fresh! Still no work on the horizon which is worrying in theory although also quite nice. I haven't spent so much time at home in a long time and have done some major cleaning and tidying. Today I woke up naturally at 8am because I'm not overtired anymore and my resting pulse when I got up was down to 42 bpm.

Trying to stay calm and be positive but at the same time feeling that I'm going to disappear up my Zen-like ass if I don't get some ACTION around here sometime soon.

Yesterday was pretty exciting. I read a couple of papers on ethical decision-making as preparation for a future piece of course-work on ethics, boundaries and supervision. I then set off for B & Q at Powderhall for to purchase a floor mop. We used to have one, but where is it? And how long haven't we had one for? Anyway, the one I got is the biz. In the past we had those flat-headed one's with a spongey bit on the bottom which won't really go into nasty nooks and crannies i.e. between the cooker and the fridge. This time I got  a super lightweight one with a telescopic handle and a microfibre mop-head. Swoosh, swoosh, its clean!

Today, well, today I'm allowed a run. Probably a quick turn around the Seat, Tomorrow -  Norman's Law Hill race which looks fun and its only short. Hopefully it'll take the edge off. I've got a series of interviews for my counselling course next Wednesday and I'm worried that I'm going to be manic by then.

My inner dude is telling me,  "Just ride the beautiful energy man!!!" - just as long as I don't come out with any of that shit in my interview we'll be fine.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Tapir

I'm sure this isn't an original joke but look how cute this little fellow is!

The taper, the taper, it means I can do all the things that I've been putting off. Like? Like hoovering, tidying, sorting out piles of papers, washing the windows, getting the cake crumbs out the car that are STILL there from Richard's WHW last year. (How did they get under the hand-brake?) Also I don't have any work on at the moment so I've been pressing ahead with some assignment stuff that I need to do. Its not due in for a while but I'm sure summer events will gather momentum and I won't have any time then so I might as well do it now.

OR I could be playing Scrabble on line and watching interviews with the athletes after the Boston Marathon. I have to say I sometimes have difficulty with the excessive expression of religiosity but Ryan Hall makes loving the lord fun! For Desiree Davila keeping up a steady 5.30 pace is "keeping it honest".  Kara Goucher comes off as just a little perfectionist complaining that her 2.24 marathon was slow and her hamstrings are tight.

Unless some work comes up for tomorrow I will probably make club for the first time in months and will have to suffer the pain of trying to run fast and the indignity of getting gubbed by everyone. Hmmm. Can't wait.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Short, hot, hilly, long run.

OH well we did it. It wasn't nice. A 20 miler, bashed out at a faster pace. We're in danger of putting ourselves off running to North Berwick so we actually varied it a bit, running from Musselburgh, up beside the Esk and along the Pencaitland Cycle Track.

Because we were only planning on running 20 or so and Amanda and Scott were going to come along too we planned for everyone running at different speeds. I was going to run for 10 miles or 95 minutes, whatever happened first. (10 miles). They were going to run? Goodness knows. Everyone ran something different.

Amanda and Peter hared off. Amanda's in great form and I think Peter had had enough of being "girled" yesterday so was wanting to stay ahead. Scott steered a steadier course and I was glad to drop off the back at 3 miles, because at the pace they were jogging along talking to each other my life was beginning to flash before my eyes and I was getting closer and closer to the light. Okay, that's an exaggeration. It was just a bit quick and my legs were stiff from yesterday...

So at first it was nice running on my own. And then it got a wee bit dull. And the Pencaitland cycle track is very straight and long, or at least until it turns off up the more interesting but hilly bit past Macmerry.
I tried getting jelly babies at the Scotmid earlier but they didn't have any so in a hurry I got some chocolate brownies. They went down fine and account for the odd 10 minute mile.

I turned around at 10 miles and never saw any of the team again until I got finished. Because there is a loop round the woods at Macmerry it was still possible that they were behind me on the way back - in fact I thought I heard them from time to time and I really didn't want them going past me too soon. That would be demoralising. "I hate my boyfriend and my friends" I thought to myself darkly as I plugged along into the wind, on the sandy soil, with the heat all around me, and smiled to myself, and at the undergrowth and wiped the annoying flies off my face.

Still no-one by the time I came out off the cycle path and started down the steep road past Carberry and all that. The road there is narrow and fast, but the pavement is lumpy and painful so I hopped on and off the pavement depending if there were any cars or not. I started to regret hating my friends and my boyfriend as I was getting there now and them going past wouldn't be a disaster.

But there was still nobody.

Time passed and I didn't lie down in the Esk like I wanted to and I arrived at the Quayside. I had planned for a 3hr 10 min 20 miler (although I really wanted to go sub-3hrs, but I was just too tired.). I arrived at 20 miles at 3hrs 9mins and 46 seconds. Amanda and Peter were sitting on a bench there and shouted out to me. They had taken diverse routes towards the end so had done different distances.

Scott was still AWOL but he turned up a couple of minutes later having carried straight along the cycle path to Pencaitland and not turning off at the woody, hilly loop. He had run 25 miles and had visible salting.

Now to get tapering. I have no idea how to do this, so will just make it up as I go along. I'm suspecting the fresher I go into the Fling the better.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

The RLF Hunter's Bog Trot 2011

My 1st Hunter's Bog Trot today. There was a big turn out and quite a good Portobello showing with Michael Geoghegan even bucking the current trend and travelling up from the London area for the event.

Looking out the window in the morning Arthur's Seat was all hazy and suffused with a heavenly green glow and I thought how nice it was going to be. Peter's warnings were however that it is a hard race, brutish and short. And so it turned out to be.

Very good to see the hill folk out again confirming that the summer is here. Good to see Louise Provan on the mend after a year out with injury. Even if she did have to beat me...

The famous YP gave us a safety talk before the off, warning of the dangers of "terrible tussocks", rocky bits and gravity. And then we were off. It was quite a buzz racing up the bog where there usually isn't much of a crowd. I was going much faster than I wanted to, and wheezing away. My ready-made excuse was that I'd done too much this week to be much use today. I really didn't want to hurt myself in any way.

The first ascent was the cruelest. I just wasn't used to it. My legs burned and burned. Arriving at the top at the crags didn't feel much better. My legs were very wobbly and I couldn't really push it going down hill. The next ascent was the radical road. People were walking here so I fitted in a bit of running and got past some folk, but knowing that my weak descending would more than likely mean I'd see them again.
At the other end of the rad. road the HBTs had us lose all our height before setting off uphill again to the crags. My legs were actually feeling a bit better now and I fitted in a bit of running on the way up, passing a couple of people - but I lost quite a few places on the final descent because my legs and ankles were telling me that any high jinks and they were going to give way. You really have to listen to that. I've got 53 miles to run in 2 weeks and I don't want a sprained ankle.

So anyway, like most short, sharp blasts, this race feels a lot better when you stop. YP kept us entertained with a spot prize giving while the main results were getting processed. A sample of the prizes - gym bags for anyone called James, a plastic plaque with a dog's head on it, various regional beers for those from different regions, a pink hat for the oldest was delightfully potty. I can't remember laughing so hard at a race. Then onto the main results, some top notch runners out today - I can't remember the exact line up, was it Murray Strain, Al Anthony and then our very own Gareth Green? I think the women winners were Edel Mooney, Fiona Maxwell and Catriona Buchanan.

Presumably most of the HBT team are now wedged into the pub for the night.

So, this weeks mileage weighs in at just under 58 miles. My legs are tired. Thinking of doing 20 tomorrow at a quicker pace but we'll see. I'm a bit alarmed at just how tired I'm feeling. I don't have any work lined up at the moment so could just as easily do it on Monday on fresher legs which is probably a better idea...we'll see.

Photos PB

Thursday, 14 April 2011

I had a headache but I didn't take anything ferret.

Yesterday WAS  a long day at work. 8am to 9pm, and during that time I can only remember drinking tea. There's probably no mystery then as to why today I woke up with a bit of a headache. Not a thumping headache  but just a bit of tension over my left eye. Its a shame. I so look forwards to my days off but sometimes work takes a bit of recovering from. Stoically, I went out for my run without taking any painkillers - it never got worse but it never got any better either.

I went for another home-made speed session up on the Meadows. Apparently its the easter holidays. There were an awful lot children. I didn't mind the children per se, but its tricky running past them and their mothers. You daren't run between mother and child because if the children get startled they run for their mothers even if that means running right into your path and the place of greatest danger. Like foolish sheep. Haha. I enjoyed my run but I was a bit grumpy.

Some young people had a ferret on a lead. I would have liked to hang around to see how ferrets and dogs interact in a park setting, but I was, after all, out for a speed session, so had to move it along. I did the same session as last time; ran easy up one side of the Meadows and then booted it down the other side. It splits up into very nearly .75 of a mile each way.

I did 5 times round the Meadows and then went home via the back of Arthur's Seat to extend the distance a bit. 14.07 miles in all. I didn't drink while I was out so was MORE dehydrated when I got home and my head ached still so I popped some paracetamol.

Okay, that's picture number 1 taken care of but why picture no. 2? Well I just wanted to mention that I watched the Coen Bros. film "Burn after Reading" the other night and I really liked it. I think the critics had a bit of a go at it for being light but it was exactly that quality I liked about it. It is the first time I've ever liked Brad Pitt in a film. Usually he makes me bristle and when he plays serious roles I get the impression that he's walking around thinking how good he looks - that he's shallow and narcissistic. Well in this film he plays a rather shallow, narcissistic gym-bunny and I was actually sad when...but I better not tell you that, in case you haven't seen it and you want to. It also doesn't suffer from being too long which is a great quality in a film.

My headache didn't go away so I had some ibuprofen as well and that seems to be doing the trick. And I'm trying to discipline myself not to spend too long staring into the flickering light.