Saturday, 31 December 2011


Its the end of the year and the end of the Marcothon. Ran every day in December (and the last few days of November too) partly so as not to feel left out like I did last year and partly because Peter's running took a sudden upturn following his Marcothon last December. Has a similar upturn happened to my running? Hmmm. Not discernibly. The Promathon tomorrow, which is a Portobello championship race, might tell me something. Or not. Or the Tortoise and Hare race through in Fife the day after...

Tomorrow I have kind of a boasting wager on with Jimbo Ramsay that if he jumps in the sea after the Promathon I will too. I'm about 50/50 whether to do it or not. Surely if you go in the sea on New Year's Day that means you'll definitely be lucky all year?

Pains are chasing each other around my body. I have had a sore calf, sore tendons, a sore shoulder, a very sore hand and I've now got a sore hip. That's not anything new though. I've been trying to stay on top of the pains with my new foam roller. Sometimes I think it helps and sometimes I don't. I hurt my shoulder using it. In order to get myself out for the Marcothon in the dark and rain I've worn loads of layers plus hat and gloves. All those layers make it difficult to run at all fast so I've been doing a lot of plodding and I think that that probably exacerbates sloppy form and causes aches and pains. I think some of its psychosomatic. What I need is a good race with a good burst of adrenaline and suddenly all that stuff melts into the background.

I have been thinking long(ish) and hard(ish) about what, if anything, to adopt as a New Year's Resolution. I used to have New Year's Resolutions back in the days when shops actually closed at the New Year. I remember one Hogmanay resolving to stop smoking when my cigarettes ran out and then having to turn the small town of Stromness upside down to find a fresh pack. The cigarette machine in the Ferry Inn turned out to be the answer. Of course, what I learned as the years drew by was that the ideal time for stopping smoking is not during a national drinking holiday and I succeeded in stopping many year's later, not at the New Year but on an ordinary day in September. I did so by having a plan - nicotine chewing gum and knitting - not by fervent wishing or through the magical properties of bells.

But anyway, I thought for next year that I might adopt the practice of standing on my head everyday. I have long thought that it would be a good idea to do yoga but can never find the time. There's just too many things  to fit in. I signed up for some classes years ago but never completed a whole set. Then I found a book in the library which I subsequently bought called "Yoga self-taught" by Andre Van Lysebeth. The book is a ripping good read and very convincing. I did try really quite hard to learn all the poses and to do them regularly but it slipped by the way-side. It is very hard to learn yoga poses from a book as you have to keep stopping and consulting the book again - and losing the page - and all that...

I want to give you a taster of the writing in this book. This is him on the benefits of the Head-Stand or Shirsasana;

We consider that if only one asana could be practised it would have to be Shirsasana.
Why stand on the head when we have so much trouble in learning to balance on our feet, so that our first steps marked one of the greatest days in our lives?

Man is the only being to hold himself upright: an attribute unique to him, and a fatal one at that, because man became a human being when he acquired it. We rose up from the earth and our forelegs turned into hands, which are really extensions of the brain. Set free and able to grasp objects the hand of man has become a creative tool, the only one by which he can crystallise his thoughts...

...In the quadruped (the horse or dog for example) the bulk of the body remains parallel to the ground, and gravity acts evenly on it, so that the circulation, working horizontally, is not much influenced by it. In man, on the other hand, the circulation operates in the vertical plane, and gravity exerts an overwhelming influence upon it. …

...This is the logical reason why yogis recommend the head-stand, to eliminate, instantly and infallibly, the disadvantages that stem from standing upright. (pp187-188)

He goes on to say that standing on your head is good for your posture, your circulation, your eye-sight, your prolapse (no I haven't got a prolapse). He also asserts that we age from the top of the head downwards because of the gravity thing. Grey hair and a wrinkly face... well you know he's got a point! I haven't got wrinkly legs! Not yet! So I may stand on my head everyday.

As the year is fizzling out, so am I, so I'm away to put the dinner on.

Happy New Year to everyone out there in Blogland.


coastkid said...

I have enjoyed your blog since our meet on the coast this year,
love your enthusiasm for running and although not a runner i can relate to the varied places you go,
One thing, Peter has to get his amazing wee films uploaded onto youtube as there great!,
maybe see you both again on the coast in 2012, Happy New Year!


Yak Hunter said...

Hi Bruce,

Just been over to your blog and absolutely love the films of the Pugsley gatherings! Looking forwards to next year and seeing your new bike and the films you're going to make...
I told Peter what you said.
Have a great New Year.