Monday, 10 November 2014

Birthday Weekend

It was a busy week and I was glad to see the back of much of it. Friday, 12.15pm I breathed a sigh of relief at work and headed home. Time to get on with the important task of having a birthday. This consisted of going to TK Maxx and buying 4 melamine plates with portraits from the old masters on them. (They just had that have to have quality) and a fleecy throw for sitting under watching the telly. As winter progresses Buchanan and I are resisting the siren song of the heater and acting like we're back in Nepal, wearing our hats indoors. I'm not even as skint as I have been for the last few winters but there's something about not wanting to give my hard earned cash to the evil power companies. Plus maybe there's some nostalgia for Nepal. There's nothing better than a cold, sunny, still day, with just a hint of wood smoke in the air...

At night we went out to meet my oldest sis and her husband. We had an Indian meal and I somehow put on 2 and a half pounds in one sitting. How does that happen? Presumably something to do with salt and fluid retention. It takes 3,500 to gain a pound of fat, and I didn't hold back but I didn't eat 8,750 calories either! We didn't even have pudding....anyway

I was out way later than my normal bed-time but I still stubbornly woke up at 5.30am, so I was tired, even though I was in a good mood. I had been thinking about doing a 15 miler round the lagoons, but when I went out I didn't really have the long run I headed up to the Meadows instead to do my quasi tempo run. Why quasi? It's my modo operandum!'s a "kind of" tempo run, because I don't really know what tempo I'm going for, nor do I have a heart-rate in mind. I just get up there and give myself a lecture something like this.
"Alright boys. (?) I want you to go a bit faster than usual for three laps, without burning up. Do you think you can do that?"
It has actually been surprisingly effective. I've done a series of them and have found myself getting quicker on almost all occasions except when there are clear reasons for a poorer performance. The last clear reason was a night at Ben's house when we stayed up late and drank wine. On Saturday I didn't have a hangover. (I seem to have stopped drinking.) But I was tired and I forgot my remit a few times, being distracted by thoughts of the week and what-not. I saw (passed in fact) Andrew Jeske who was accompanying another runner. He shouted out "Is this how you're spending your birthday weekend?". Indeed it was.

We watched Shame at night. We'd taped it off the set-box a little while ago. I liked it's brooding grimness and the way it hinted at trouble in the family of origin of the brother and sister without ever revealing any details.

Sunday, and Peter was away on a Tynecastle Bronze. This is a challenge set by the entirely original mind of Graham Henry - to mark 100 years since the 1st World War the participants are to run an ultra of over 30 miles which at some point passes a war memorial - and that is to happen every single month for 4 years. I think all the participants are still saying that they are NOT DOING THE CHALLENGE and yet they have been drawn in, and have done it so far since it started in July. God alone knows what will be happening in 4 years time. I think that we'll live in a watery world with small islands of ice with polar bears on them. And with my developing cold water swimming skills I will be at home in the brave new water world to come...

So what I'm saying is I didn't go. Instead I went a run myself round Gullane point. The flat bit up near the marsh grasses had flooded so I found myself in a world of water and reflected light. It was very still and peaceful and I loved it. A huge gaggle of geese flew overhead making that noise they make.

It was cold but when the sun came out it was nearly warm. I was in good humour getting booted and suited up for my weekly dip in the sea. A woman stopped me and asked my why I was "dressed like that". I said I was going for a swim. She said "Oh I thought you  might have been one of know the ones that stand on a surf board and hold a kite..." I looked around myself in bewilderment but there was no equipment, only me. "No I'm just going for a swim." "Oh I see" she said and scurried away. Her husband had long since legged it.

The sea was lovely and calm, but the cold soon drains you, or maybe it's my swimming style. I'm still smarting from Peter's comment that he can see that my swimming isn't right but he doesn't know what to tell me to help. He said he sees me and he thinks "No, no, not like that..." The worst of it is he was being sympathetic. It has taken the wind out of my sails. 

So today it was another beautiful, sunny day and I thought I could make up for ducking the Lagoon run on Saturday by doing it today. That was my intention but I got distracted by other things. By the time I set off it was 11am and I was already ominously hungry. I told myself it could be one of those low carb runs that are meant to make you burn fat and ultimately become a stronger runner. By 6 miles it wasn't funny anymore. I was just plain hungry, so I turned around. 12 miles done instead. It was a lovely, lovely day.

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