Sunday, 14 December 2014

Valda and the Wintry Weekend

On Saturday neither of us were looking forwards to going in swimming. Stepping out the tenement door onto the icy streets was hard enough. Maybe it was time to play a wild card and not go in. We could decide that later though.

Getting out the van at Gullane to go for a run wasn't easy either - but maybe half a mile into it we were cheering up. Cheering up and talking rubbish. This time of year lends itself to the surreal. I think because escape is so appealing. I told Peter about a character from Mandy magazine called Valda. She wore a crystal round her neck that gave her new powers when the sun hit it. I kept finding myself thinking about it when I was running up the side of Arthur's Seat, out of the dark shadows and in to the sun.... I googled Valda to see if other people remembered too. Perhaps unsurprisingly there were a wealth of geek blogs about old magazines and cartoon characters and I found someone who appreciated Valda more for her short skirts than for her super-powers.

As soon as we got the cold wind behind us it was quite enjoyable running. There was no-one to be seen and the wind had raked the sand so there was no sign that anyone had ever been there.

Back at the car there was nothing for it. We suited up and got down the beach. It was so cold. We did a lot of shouting and very little swimming and got out again super-quick. We might have been better off just running in and out again in our running kit....

It was exciting though, and made lunch very good. We didn't do much for the rest of the day.

Today was the Chirnside XC. We got a call from Willie J at 8.30 asking if we were going and if we had room for one we picked up Willie at Musselburgh and made our way down the A1.

The sun was out for the some of the time, which was cheering, the wind buffeting the car was a little daunting. When we arrived at Chirnside Football grounds, at the top of a hill, it seemed far too cold to ever take our jackets off. It took focus to take some clothes off and start warming up.

The organisor was lovely and apologised for all the mud. "I think it was all the ice last night - it's made it very muddy" he said scratching his head. We expected mud though.

It was hard deciding what to wear - or really it was hard to take anything off. I figured I could wear a vest if I had another vest on underneath. Peter had a spare one so I put that on. That and his gloves. I had left the house with no kit alternatives. I had been avoiding thinking about the running at all.

The first mile and more was all downhill. I hoped I might capitalise on this but instead everyone else did....Oh well. I slipped backwards a bit, not liking the stones at the edge of the ploughed bits...then there was a long flattish bit. I thought I might capitalise on this. But other people did. They went by me. Oh well. Only when at last I came to the uphill did things start to go more my way. Ahead I saw Anne Hay was the only person who kept running all the way up the short, sharp steep bit. "That's the spirit" I thought and did the same when I got there. One other girl came with me but I thought she was breathing too hard and would probably overcook, and I think she did because I never saw her again.

Then there was quite a lot of grim running through claggy ploughed fields. My feet (and those of those around me I'm sure) were getting heavier and heavier as my feet were picking up mud wedgies and not letting them go. Right on the bottom of your feet would be the very worst place to put on weight I think, mechanically, - levers and all that. Which is why I sensibly pop it on my tummy generally. It was an odd and interesting kind of challenge though. You're in a race - suddenly your feet are much, much heavier than they were when you started - what do you do?

I think you use your core. I think I used something deep inside that doesn't usually come into play in a race! I had no appetite for cake and tea at the end anyway.

It was a great course and I think we were in England. A realisation that struck me when one of the marshalls had a kind of Newcastle lilt. "Good running lass...keep going." I appreciated being called lass...

So now...the weekend is slipping away! I had better go I guess because my legs are still caked in mud, but I put my tights over them so it wouldn't drop all over the house as it dried. I know, practically OCD!

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