Monday, 26 May 2014

Moody 12 miler

Things have got in the way of any proper running this weekend so this morning I thought I'd get out and see what all the rain and sunshine have been doing to the canal and the Water of Leith.

It was a moody, sultry kind of a day. The sun came out for a little while but I was not fooled. There were big puddles in the road showing that it had been raining, and there were big billowing clouds building up in the sky to show it was going to be raining. Still it was nice and warm. I paused at Arthur's Seat to take off a layer and take some photos. The sun had gone by then, hence the silhouettes.

Along the canal there were ducklings, cygnets and coots. I pleaded with them to stop scooting off so I could take a picture, telling them the world needs their cuteness, but I only got a half decent shot of one duckling. "To hell with you then" I told them and put the camera away for the rest of the journey.

8 miles into it the heavens opened and people ran for cover and it was nice to just stay out in it. By 10 miles I was tired and wished I was home. At 12 miles I was home.

Now it's the usual story. You know...stretch, shower, do some class is back on tonight. My hamstrings will be nice and stiff for that.

Peter, after his 2.50 marathon yesterday, is having trouble getting started today. He tells me he's going to work but it's 12.45pm....

Saturday, 24 May 2014

A wee mad truck

After an aptly named "long day" at work yesterday (8am - 9pm), I felt less than special today. I wanted to go a run round Arthur's Seat but there are goings on up there. (10Ks and fun runs and "festivals"). I hatched a rather mundane plan which was to drive to Musselburgh, run easy round the lagoons there and return via Tescos for a shop. I asked Peter if he wanted to come too. He didn't want to do anything hard as he's got a marathon tomorrow, but he came out for a leg stretcher.

His line of thinking was negative. I wished I had a tape-recorder, I would have taped it. "The weather looked bad earlier in the week, but now it looks worse." "It's cold, I'm going to have to wear gloves." "With the wind in my face, I'll be lucky to run 3 hours."

To be fair the forecast is not looking good. I tried to plant some positive seeds in his mind. "Just tuck in behind a great big chap. Someone going at just the right speed. You'll be running in his wind shadow thinking "this is great, I'm running 6.30 pace and it's a breeze", then you'll turn around at 18 miles, you'll have the wind behind you, be feeling fresh as a daisy and it'll be spr-oi-ng!!!" I had to use arm movements to indicate the motion of something being fired out of a catapult. At least I made him laugh.

Coming back into Musselburgh I put the finishing touches on my mental painting of his marathon tomorrow. "You'll be running along here and Freddy Mercury will actually have come back from the dead to sing "We are the Champions" to you." It was an inspiring pep talk, if I say it myself. I'm available for hire.

Anyway, it was a pretty dull, grey day and there was nothing much to see but we both liked this little wooden planter truck thing...

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Wide open spaces

I was working at the weekend, so today was kind of my weekend and you should go somewhere at the weekend so I went to Gullane. The sun had gone for the day by the time I got there though, and it turns out the Konditormeister is closed on a Tuesday. I had a little niggling guilt as I have stuff I have to do, kind-of-weekend or not. Conditions were not ideal

There was a bit of a cold Easterly blowing, so I headed east first, to get it over with. There was nobody much about and lots of wide open spaces. When I got down to the beach, having run through Archerfields, I had the wind behind me, but the sand was fine and powdery, making for a tiring surface to run on. Still I was enjoying the muted colours of the sand running into the sea which eventually turned into sky. My solitude was broken only by an enormous troop of walkers at Gullane. I don't know where the hell they came from.

Tired of the sinky sand I ran up to  the top of the hill towards the golf course. I hadn't been there since all that shenanigans with my heart nearly 2 years ago. It was nice to think that all I could find to be wrong with me today was the slightest of achilles niggles in my left foot - something which I think comes from driving. It's my clutch foot.
It was a nice run down the grass into Gullane past the big houses and into the Co-op for a bottle of water.
I guess I better do some of those things...

Monday, 19 May 2014

Recovery run in the sun

Thunderstorm last week

I worked all day Friday and over the weekend so it was nice to wake up and know that I didn't have to go to work for anyone else. I've got plenty to do here but I can shape it the way I want to. I did a nine miler round Arthur's Seat yesterday morning, throwing in lots of hill sprints. My legs were pretty shagged for the rest of the day and were still sore when I got up this morning so I went out an easy recovery run with camera and money and stopped to take pictures and got some things in Leith that I needed while I was out.

Very nice out in the hazy sunshine and I got a few unsolicited smiles. People were just in a good mood I think.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Beautiful Morning

This is the nearest to being on holiday I've been in quite some time. With a new job starting in June, there's no need to worry too much. I'll do the bank shifts I'd already agreed to but there's no need to go looking for any more. I've got uni stuff to do but the deadlines are not too urgent. Studying has become a little bit of a farce lately but I'm going easy on myself, - at least I'm doing something! On Sunday, after a lot of preliminaries, by 3pm I had sat down on the sofa to do some reading, but unfortunately was swept away by an enormous wave of tiredness and had to sleep for an hour and a half. By the time I woke up it was time to be thinking about doing the dishes and making something to eat. I'd missed my opportunity.
Yesterday, after more preliminaries (it does seem to be preliminaries that are the problem), I had myself seated on the sofa by 2.10pm, all ready to do some reading. This time, however, not only was I sleepy but I had to leave the house by 3pm to get on to my next thing...

This morning I woke up at 5am. Far too early but I wasn't getting back to sleep, and it looked like a really nice morning, so I got up. It occurred to me that I could take a trip to Gullane and go a run round the beach.
So that's what I did. The air was cool, the sun was shining and there was a fresh sea breeze. There were a lot of very good smells coming out of the undergrowth, making me reach for my camera before I fully realised that it wasn't what I was seeing that was so pleasing. I don't know what the smells were. Green things...

When I took my camera I knew it's been a while since I charged up the battery but I couldn't be bothered faffing. Standing on the wooden bridge over to Aberlady bay, trying to persuade the camera to focus on the light ripples in the water and not the muddy bottom drained the battery and the whole thing shut down. I was half disappointed and half relieved. Maybe I could just get on with my run then?

I thought I'd squeeze a few more pics out the battery when it had been off and warmed up in the sun for a while, and I did. There was more to see, but it was nice to just keep going.

So after  getting some veg for tea at Tescos and olive bread (yum) and mackerel for lunch, and after blogging. All I need to do is some stretching and have a shower and maybe have a little snooze to make up for the early start and then I can get right down to some hard graft, some serious studying. I'll probably read quite a lot.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Toe Business

"artist's" impression (no camera)

I had a bit of a pain in the front of my foot before the E2NB race and I kind of knew it wouldn't be improved by a 20 mile road race. The pain has become more focused and seems to belong to the knuckle of my freakishly long second toe on my right foot.

On Sunday I went out a recovery run. It was a painful shuffle. Yesterday I eschewed all running, hoping that dotting around on my bike to get my day's chores done would do something to aid my recovery and preserve my toe. Still I was limping by the end of the day.

Today Mr Toe was still sore right from the off. I thought gloomily that I could go another bike ride or go for a swim...even checked out the pool opening times. Then I thought "to hell with it, it's probably just a spot of arthritis, I think I'll go for a run!" So for a run I've been.

The sun has come back out at last and Arthur's Seat was glorious. The grass and trees have gone a crazy, shiny green with all the rain. The sky was a happy blue. The sun was out. the gorse smelt like coconut. The birds were singing. It was heaven. My toe was a wee bit sore but I didn't care.

Rather than go any kind of a long run it seemed to make sense to do some short hard stuff. High Intensity Interval Training.  So I did some strides as a warm up and then did 5 uphill "sprints" up the easy end of the radical road. I was going to run to the top and then I thought I would run for a count of 200 paces (left and right) and then I thought 70 paces would do. 70 paces coincided with some stones crossing the path so gave a recognisable mark to work with.

It was easy and fun. I lie. It was hellish. But the first one was the worst.

So I've enjoyed being out for a run. Too busy to run tomorrow so I'm hoping any damage I've done will be fading by Thursday. In the meantime I plan to go and get some rub on ibuprofen in the hope it's just a bit of inflammation in my toe joint...

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Edinburgh (Portobello!) to North Berwick Race 2014

Enjoying a joke with myself! (What was I thinking?)

Edinburgh to North Berwick Race yesterday. Except, while telling non-runners about it I realised it isn't really the Edinburgh to North Berwick race any more is it? More like the cat and dog home to North Berwick.

I have somehow turned into someone who wakes up early since the old racing days, so 11am is too late for a race start. I set my alarm for 7am, was up by 6.15am and by 9.30, when Kathy and Graeme were coming to pick us up I was hungry again so I had Peter's duo Boost bar he had hidden in his "UltraBox" (This means nothing to me...)...a box of food evils you're only allowed if you're going to run 35 miles and whip yourself with a birch twig. It didn't even touch the sides to be honest. The first 4 calorific miles of the race were already spent and it had not yet begun.

The Portobello presence was a bit overwhelming and after a little while my spider sense told me that Emily and Jim MUST be hiding outside near their car as I had seen nothing of them.
I went to find them and they were there, with Jim Scott. I realised that for some reason my heart rate monitor had chosen this morning to die and Jim joked that maybe next year's race would be called the Mary Hunter Memorial Race. That was a comforting thought. I perhaps shouldn't tell this story, so I'll cover my tracks somewhat, but there's a big race in the lakes that is run as a memorial of a fell-runner who died as he ran. The trophy is a replica of one of his Walshes cast in bronze. One of our friends down in the lakes has won this trophy a few times but he finds it a bit disturbing so he keeps it up in the attic for the year until it's time to take it back again. If the E2NB became the Mary Hunter memorial race I would like the main trophy to be one of these glow in the dark  Catholic Icons that light up. In fact I'd like it to play a tune too. In fact I'd like it to be like my old Dracula Savings Bank where if you put money on a slot a hand comes out of the box and snatches it. As us young people say "I'm just saying!".

Anyway, I didn't die on route although my HRM never came back to life. In fact, I found I was running well. (For me) I was a bit tired and hungry and I've got sore toes on my right foot which were bothering me a bit - but I don't think it's a running injury particularly and I don't think running makes it much worse.
I was delighted to go under 8 minute miles for the first 10 miles. When I first started racing I remember going under 1h 20 mins for 10 miles for the first time and being thrilled and I felt a similar feeling again.

Miles 10 - 15 didn't flow quite so well. Miles 15 - 18 I spent a good bit of time trying to work my way around a stitch. I never quite mastered it and it never got really bad so it was a case of living with it.

The last 4 miles or so I started to pass a few people who were stopped with cramp or injury. This made me grateful for my still functioning legs.

I didn't enjoy the last 2 miles but I wasn't desperate for it all to be over either. I wouldn't like to do this every day but I enjoyed it too. There was lots of support and shouts along the way.

I'm not sure what the next race will be. I'm not sure what the point is. I thought I could sneak 10 points for the O45 Porty championship series but Kathy Henly cottoned on to this and came along to steal first place despite having done the Fling the week before. If I'm not going to get reward in the form of points or prizes I would rather be running on a nice trail, that's for sure. And it has to be kind of long because I'm not interested in trying to run fast.

I meant to say....if you look at the Garmin thing up the top you'll see I had some more freak jumps in elevation to c.21,000ft. This might have something to do with me being a Catholic icon but I'm not sure. Aileen Ross has been experiencing similar phenomena. I would suggest that there might be worm-holes along the coast of the Forth.