Saturday, 29 September 2012

Trail Monster Run

My friend Emma is over from America, or should I call her Gnarls? That is her trail name. If you haven't got a trail name, you should get one. Everyone in the Trail Monsters has one. Me and Peter are honorary trail monsters because we've done some of their races in the states so we have trail names. I am Yak, as you know, and Peter is (snigger) "The Rock". We're working on a name for Richard.

Anyway, Emma's got a 50 miler coming up late in October and she plans her training well, so she knew that today she wanted to run 26 miles. An obvious thing seemed to be to get her to run from our house round to North Berwick as that is pretty much exactly right. I'm not ready for 26 yet though, so I thought I could take the van to the end and run and meet them round about Aberlady bay. Peter and Richard ran with Emma from our house. Peter augmented his training by squeezing in a park run this morning, a last ditch effort to get a quick one in for September (its a championship thing) which ended in defeat as there was a hefty westerly wind blowing.

The westerly wind was auspicious for running down the coast. Not quite so much for me as I had to run into it to get to Aberlady bay - but I ran on the road, which is much quicker and shorter and there was a fair amount of shelter along the way. When I got to Aberlady bay, I phoned and the crew were still a mile and a half short of Aberlady town, while I was a mile the other side. I decided to run on to meet them and get something to eat at the shop.

At the shop I thought longingly of the good old ultra days when I used to refuel on chocolate and coffee. I got a banana and a (tiny) lion bar and then sat on the wall outside the shop in the sun and ate these. There was still no sign of the crew, so I went back in the shop and got a coffee. Heaven. I watched my heart-rate while I was drinking it but nothing untoward happened. Then the crew did arrive.

They all seemed in good form; sweating profusely and hungry. Pretty soon we were off again and the pace was nice and settled. They're all better runners than me, even when I'm at my best, but they'd all done considerably more than me today so there wasn't any pressure. I was feeling good and really enjoying being out in company. The wind was wild and the sea was choppy. The tide was right in so we often had to get off the beach and find our way along the narrow paths a little inland. On the beach there were lots of dead sea-birds, washed up in the recent storms. There was also an injured gannet, but two ladies were standing with it and had called the RSPCA, so hopefully it'll get rescued. I hadn't seen it right away so if they weren't there I would probably have tripped over it and Peter would have tried to feed it.

Pretty soon we were in North Berwick. Emma had her 26 miles. I think Richard and Peter will have done 30 a piece - Peter did his park run and Richard ran to and from our house. I'd run a bit over 17 - so, the most I've done post AF, and I felt fine.

We're signed up for the Aviemore half in a couple of week's time. I was thinking there wasn't any point in me doing it but now, having remembered how good it is to run in a group, I'm thinking maybe I will.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Arthur's Seat 8

Neither of us really wanted to go running today, but tomorrow's forecast is all double-fanged clouds and high winds so it seemed like we should just get out there and run.

Arthur's Seat was too busy. There was a party of - possibly dutch - school children walking up the road as we ran by on the pavement. I groaned inwardly as I heard them start to giggle and then start to run behind us. I felt completely knackered but there was pride at stake. They "forced us" to pick up the pace. The main of them fell back gratifyingly quickly but two persisted. Then one of the two even more gratifyingly stopped running and lay down on the grass verge panting. One to go. He beat me but wasn't ever going to catch Peter. As I passed he was breathing hard, so that was something.

Happily there were no more races after that. There was another herd of tourists to be broached - although our friend Amanda says we've to call them "visitors" - in order to get down onto the innocent railway path. The road back up into the Queen's Park was steeper than usual and there was a fresh wind in our faces, but it was pretty much downhill all the way after that. 8 and a bit reluctant miles completed and tomorrow is a guilt-free rest day.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Another Aberlady Day

I had a kind of scarey run last night. I felt quite quick and energetic when I set off  but after the first mile my heart-rate climbed up to near 200 and wouldn't fall. Normally it falls if I just keep running. I don't know what was different about yesterday. I had a busy day. Maybe I'd managed to metabolise all the drugs in my system and I was effectively drug-free. As soon as I stopped running it fell again to normal, so was okay from that point of view but I was worried that something new was happening that might mean I should restrict my running.

I've been able to run enough so I'm okay about waiting to see the next consultant until the 2nd week in October. I realised after last night how much my being relatively calm about the whole thing is dependent on the fact I can keep getting out and running in the meantime. So I was trepidatious today to see what was going to happen heart-rate wise. If it shot up and stayed up it would be stupid to run far...but it often takes a jump for the first mile or so and then settles down.

It was a beautiful cold, sunny day. We drove to Gullane and set out to do a 12 miler. The first mile my heart-rate shot up. I tried to not get wound up about it. A mile in, when I paused to open the gate to get on the path to Dirleton it suddenly dropped right back. Phew. And was fine for the rest of the run.

The tide was way out today so we were able to run on sand round rocky bits of beach that we normally would have to go inland to avoid. Saw some nasty looking, meaty jelly-fish. Also a very serene dead seal lying on his back looking like he was sun-bathing.

Back in Gullane, having run nearer 13 than 12 miles we realised we'd stupidly forgotten to pack any fruit so had to go to Falko's for cheese tongues instead.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ghosty Shoes

New shoes today. I've wanted to try out the Nike Lunarglides ever since they came out. They make (or they used to) the bold claim that they give you as much support as you need. As all that ever put me off getting them was they were kind of expensive, when I saw a pair on t'internet for £50 I thought I would get them.
I was hoping they'd arrive today but had given up and decided to go out a run as I'm busy later.

I was just standing on the pavement getting a Garmin signal while the old worthies from the Strathie bar stood watching me and smoking cigarettes when the courier man arrived at the main door. Nice timing. I had to go back up the stairs to change. On the internet they'd looked very shiny white which I thought would be okay but they are a corpsy grey. Maybe why they were available so cheap.

I took them out the 8 miler I had been intending to do before they arrived and they were fine. No problems so far. Pretty soon they will just be dirty looking like all my other trainers. As to whether they offer any support or not or what I don't know. They were nice and bouncy.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Okay its a cheap joke I know. Having been at a talk on Wednesday on the psychodynamic school of therapy; Freud and Klein in particular, my eye has been sharpened for things looking like ...people's bits. I found my drink bottles particularly disturbing when I looked at them afresh today. However they are light and convenient and Buchanan is of the opinion that all you need for a long run is a big drink beforehand, which meant he wasn't carrying any.

I was super-busy during the week so only had time for a couple of tiny runs. Yesterday my mileage for the week was sitting at a bit over 15 miles and I've been managing 30+ a week and didn't want to spoil it so 16 today seemed a good plan. We did the same run as 2 blogs ago but conditions were really different today. The wind was blowing strongly and the sun  was out making for an atmospheric and at times exhausting run. We nearly got caught out by the tide and as it was so far in we did some inland running which ended in the odd episode of going the wrong way, getting lost and wading through nettles that were taller than I am. I still have pins and needles from the last of the stings fading away now.

However it happens that the sand changes so much in consistency from one run to the next, (maybe the wind drying it out), today it was really deep and dry and sinky, sucking all the power out of our legs. All the while there was a lovely haze over everything and the air seemed shiny.

The last 4 miles back to Gullane from North Berwick on the road into the teeth of the wind were a real slog. At Dirleton I guess there was a wedding reception being held at the old castle there. There were people wandering around in dresses and kilts looking happy and maybe a wee bit drunk. I was sweating, puffing and blowing running up hill into the wind through the midst of them.

Back at the van, on my new cake-free regime I had a lovely banana and some plasticy tasting water.