Friday, 24 April 2015

Compendium of Bloggenpish

 How do you get in this door? Or is it an "out only" which case, where do the people inside actually come from? I'm just saying...

It's been a wee while since I blogged. And not really because nothing's been happening. I don't  know why really. Maybe because I didn't have any good photos.
I thought I'd take the bus to work today and then run home. It's about 6 miles if I go the most direct way, but there are plenty of ways to expand it. I took my camera and acted like a tourist on the bus. I still find it quite exciting taking a bus along Princes Street and looking at everything. I'm from Orkney, remember, where, when I was there, there was one roundabout, one set of traffic lights and no double-decker buses at all. I don't think I'd have been able to contain myself when I first came to Edinburgh if there had been trams too. It's just as well they held off....

Last week I was going to write a blog called "Electrolytes and the Diarrhea Kid", partially just to get attention and partly because I had a surprise bout of "delicate digestion" which made me rapidly reassess my marathon training strategy.

I say strategy, but for some reason I have dived (diven?) head-long into doing lots of long runs and my legs have been getting increasingly sore and heavy and my pace has been getting worse and worse. I had a peep at what I was doing last year this time before the E2NB race and saw to my horror that I wasn't doing nearly as much volume but all my medium length runs (12ish miles) were way faster than this year. I decided to cut back on my mileage and take it easy. I have E2NB again in a couple of weeks time so it seems reasonable to do a taper for that and then a couple more weeks highish mileage after it and then taper again for the Edinburgh Marathon.

It has taken over a week for my tummy to start to feel resilient again.

I have a Gestalt Therapy weekend ahead. Don't ask. So I won't be able to get much running in. I reckon I'll get up early on Sunday morning and run 10 or so if I can face it. That's why I took the bus run home and get some miles in...

I started out taking photos on the bus, but then I got interested in the people. I was sitting right at the front and on the other side there was a pale blonde girl, listening to music. Around Haymarket she got her makeup out and started to plaster her face with powder. She really mashed it on. More like she was white-washing harling than dusting a face. It went on and on. She clearly wanted to make sure not one millimetre of skin would be on show. Then she painted on pink cheeks. I was finding it hard not to watch too keenly. It was a relief when she got off. Apparently face skin's a no-no at the moment. You heard it first here. Then a slightly chubby wee boy got on. Maybe 8 years old. He looked kind of normal. Near to my stop he saw a friend at the bus-stop waiting to get on and started to wave vigorously...very vigorously...his friend came up the stairs.
"Yo man, wazz-up?" inquired the friend.
"Birth...babyness...screaming..." intoned my seat mate and I began to wonder if he was not well.
His friend raised his eyebrows. "Fraser is teething" was the explanation. They both nodded silently.

I feel there's a lot of things I've been missing out on. I might get the bus again next week just for the experience.

I had a nice run home. 10.5 miles. It was over-cast but hot and humid.

There are things afoot at work so maybe I'll be getting funded to do another course but have to work an extra day too. It's good in a way. But I love my freedom. And I've just discovered a fun way to end the's all swings and roundabouts....

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A game of two halves

Last weekend - that's so last week - but I couldn't blog it at the time because as fate would have it our router died and I spent much of my treasured Sunday morning talking to a lady from India- she may have actually been in India - I don't know - neither of us were in the mood to converse much.

On the Saturday the forecast had been for high winds and very mixed sun and rain - and low temperatures. The obvious but exceedingly tedious thing to do was to run to North Berwick. We decided to jazz it up by making it a race. Peter and I would set off at the same time but I would drive to Musselburgh and he would run. We would try to meet up about Aberlady. How you try to do this kind of thing would take much calculation, or my preferred method, hand it all over to the fates. It worked out pretty well.

The weather was kind of wild but okay until I was coming out of Prestonpans and running beside the Power Station and into Seton Sands. The sky behind me darkened deeply and I could see that things were going to get tricky. I couldn't remember why I hadn't brought a water-proof - but I hadn't...and I was in a running vest. The cloud released its contents, and to my surprise, it was hail, sharp pellets of hail on my poor cold damp bare skin. I was going to take a picture but the hail intensified and I ran for cover instead.

Rescue was at hand. The kind ladies in the The Studio hair stylists opened the door and called me in. In seconds I was warm and dry in the perfumey air of a hair-dressers. I stood and watched forlornly as the hail rattled down. They offered me a seat and water and coffee God Bless Them. Go there and get your hair cut! If Peter didn't cut my hair I would go there! (Ahah, I hear you say. That explains a lot.)

Anyway, who knew, or could have factored in the hail storm. At the same time, it turns out, Peter was having a blister epic in Prestonpans and was in a cosy chemists sticking plasters on his feet as the hail bounced off the pavement.

Soon the sky cleared and the day was bright and beautiful - although cold and harsh too. Just before Aberlady I heard the characteristic outbreaths of a running PB and I knew that we had liaised.

The rest was a slow bimble on tired legs along the beach. Another Saturday. Another 20 miles done. I'm on temporary wi-fi internet, which is a bit dodgy, until we get our new router.

Peter has far more photos and the other half of the story, if he ever gets round to posting.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Radical Recovery

Finally the sun comes out. Today I planned to do an easy recovery 5 miler so I'll be refreshed to try and run a bit harder tomorrow. I got over-excited in the park though. I started out leisurely, but it was so lovely - the sun being out, the gorse smelling of coconuts, the Pentlands in the distance - that I extended it a bit. Then, when I was running down the grass from the Commonwealth Pool entrance to the park I looked up at the radical road, which was still in deep shadow, and I felt strangely drawn to go and run up it.

I haven't done this for a while. The cool of the shadow helped. I was soon gasping my lungs out. In a way it's very freeing. No need to think anything, just keep moving and breathe. I saw 2 runners coming down towards me, one, who had a little goatee and sounded like he was from Kentucky, said "It's easier goin' up than comin' down!" (Debatable, but the way he said it was friendly.) The other just gave me a friendly wave as he deftly dropped down through the clumps of tourists making their way up.

By the time I got home I felt wrung out rather than recovered, and I'd run more than 8 miles rather than 5. But I had a big fat smile on my face. I must do that radical road a bit more often.

In other news, Peter has been making pizza dough. It was encased in cling-film but broke out both sides in the night. How can that be? It's in the bottom of the fridge!

Saturday, 4 April 2015


Long run time today. How do you keep it fresh? I've signed up for the E2NB race (unbelievably. I've cancelled a trip to London to do it. I don't even understand why.) - so I think I better stop using that route as my training run, or it will be unbearable on the day.

Peter reminded me about the Pencaitland cycle track. You can squeeze a 20 miler out of running up the Esk from Musselburgh and then out the cycle track until you get to 10 miles and then turning round and heading back. I was going to do that. But I HATE it. Oh dear. So when I was lying in bed last night it came to me (I think maybe inspired by Stuart Hay writing that he does loops for his long run so he can get a drink without having to carry it) that I could do 2 loops of the Gullane 10 miler (which ranges anywhere from 10.5 miles to 11.5 miles depending on the route and the tides).

I could park the Berlingo in Gullane, fill it with goodies and get a coffee out of Falkos for half way round. That thought sealed the deal.

Still, doing loops is quite a thought - or rather I avoided the thought as much as I could. The thought "I'm going to be here again later, with sore legs." I also partially doubted if I would do it. But who needs a vote of no confidence like that in their head? 

The first time around went well enough but there was something about the track through Archerfields. I didn't like it. "I'm not coming this way next time." I thought to myself, knowing in thinking that that I was dooming myself to inventing extra bits right at the end of the run when I was tired, just to make up the distance.

As I approached Gullane I was mistrustful of myself again. Would I really go out for a 2nd loop. or was I just going to eat too much in the back of the car and go home? Before setting off this morning I bought some almost supernaturally sweet coconut jammy (Mrs Crimbles 6 large Coconut Rings) things. I had one with a cup of coffee before I set off and could feel my teeth melting in my mouth, and diabetes setting in. I also bought some rather boastful 'Protein Flapjacks' at the Co-op. Looking at the nutritional information they could equally have called themselves "Fat Flapjacks". I wonder why they didn't. 

Anyway, what I wanted to tell you was that my initial plan for half time was to eat more Coconut Jammy Rings, but by then I was longing for something a bit less intense. I settled on a huge raisin brioche bun thing from Falkos, to go with my coffee. It was much less sweet and went down nicely. But then there was still room in my pudding tummy, so I had another of Mrs Crimble's warm diabetic delights. Holy Moly. Then I had to go out for my 2nd loop. I couldn't have gone home after that. I couldn't have looked myself in the eye. I took another one, wrapped up in a bit of paper bag, in case I needed anything else late in the run, but I needn't have bothered. I was still having a massive sugar rush 10 miles later.

It wasn't a spectacular day but it was nice enough. The birds were singing ceaselessly as the long grasses rustled. The 2nd time round Aberlady bay there seemed to be more crows.
There were also lots of people. Some of them are friendly and some of them stand way off the path as if I was a stampeding rhino, not a slip of a girl. I find it perplexing. And some of them look at you like you've been poking bunny rabbits' eyes out for fun. I get impatient with the public. I know everyone does. I wished they'd leave me alone with their eyes and their attitudes and their trekking poles and their smiles and their reproving looks. Just when I'm damning them all silently to hell then someone is nice to me and I carry an added burden of guilt. Leave me alone. Can't you see I'm on my 2nd loop and my legs are hurting? It was a relief to get down to the almost empty beach. I didn't sleep that well last night and I've had a lot of coffee to compensate. Some of my thoughts slip out my mouth as short phrases. I'm getting just like my dad.

And then I get past Gullane beach and it's time to figure out how I'm going to squeeze another three miles out of the landscape without going the Archerfield way. So, I go through the Jimmy Saville Woods and it is not far enough and I realise with a sinking heart as I near the Gullane car park that I'm going to have to finish off my run with a steep uphill and down the other side past the big houses that I wish I owned and then along the main street.

I always like when my Garmin says 19.66 because I can pretend that the next few fractions of miles are years of my life going by. It diverts my attention and takes the sting out of my legs. I miss 19.66 but catch 19.67...I am one years old, the next time I look and it's 19.82, I'm leaving school...It's 19.88, I've graduated, I've moved down South...19.89...I'm back up again...19.99, erm, partying, 20.02 I'm a nurse, 20.15 that's now and 20.20, I'm back at the car!