Saturday, 31 December 2016

Hogmanay Havers.

I never showed you my Christmas Tree.

The day after boxing day Peter went a long run with the bigger boys. I had half an idea I would go for a 'dawn raid' in the Pentlands. Since dawn is about as late as it gets at the moment it didn't seem too challenging and I'm usually up and about fairly early. However, I got absorbed in something and the time got away. I needn't have worried because the sun never really got above the hills and I was mostly in cold, damp shadow. I went the low level route from Flotterstone up the road to the Howe and then down the other side, along the reservoirs and back over between Black Hill and Harbour Hill.

There were quite a few cyclists out, dressed up warm, but not many runners. As it happened, when I did meet runners, as I drew close, I realised that I knew 50% of them. Kerry was out doing more than she had to for a marcothon run.

C-c-cold. Cold enough so I wore my jacket for 3/4s of the run. The dawn hasn't dawned yet and it's 10am.

tantalising light on the top of the hill ahead

There it is.

After I'd finished I went to IKEA - probably a quiet day at IKEA but a bit of a contrast to the lonesome hills. I hadn't eaten or drunk anything and I'd been out running for more than 2 hours so I thought I'd maybe go to the cafe. When I got there, however, it was too complicated. There were instructions for how to use the cafe. And there was a huge queue. And it wasn't moving. I didn't even know how to work the trays. So I headed off to go and get what I needed and get home instead. I was a bit low blood-sugar I think and my brain wasn't working. I followed arrows pointing the wrong way to get into IKEA land and ran into Mike Lynch, almost unrecognisable in civilian clothing. He said he had to hurry to catch up with his family, but I don't think they were there. I think he was there on his own.

Peter came home much later, clearly drunk but trying to act like he wasn't.

The next day I suggested a run to the Modern Art Gallery - not through some great love of modern art but because I wanted an excuse for strong coffee and sweet cake.
Peter has covered the art in his blog and I have nothing further to add. Except this. Pah!!!

Okay, a little bit to say. I didn't even bother taking a photo of the downstairs art. A giantess had got a roll of cottonwool at Superdrug and taken her make-up off with it. Then she'd left it lying around on the floor.

In another room, someone had been a little bit sick on a clear-plastic umbrella.

The least impressive was a zinc sheet with some uninspiring stones placed on it. I worked in archaeology for a while in my early 20s while I was trying to figure out what else to do and I made more beautiful art with the soil and my trowel.

My biggest problem with this is that I've been trying to get round to doing a few things around the house for ages and I just can't - and someone has gone to the trouble of doing this. This took time and effort. A terrible waste of time and effort, and of a nice room.


I was trying to get Peter to look wistful but this was the best he could do.

Peter says this is rubbish but I still like it. 

Not sure. I think it's a Goth band.

I went back to work for a day, which was a pleasure really. No sooner have you thought "On no, I have to get up early and go to work all day", than you're off again for another few days. This is a rhythm I could get used to. Plus it gave my legs a chance to recover from running too much. I don't normally run every day but, without really planning to, I'd run for the last 6 days, just because I had time, and it was good to get out the flat. Anything rather than sorting things out there.

Today we thought we might be brave and go and do a Park  Run. I got up early especially. But when I tried waking up Peter for it he said it sounded too windy and went back to sleep. I didn't spend much time trying to persuade him. It was too windy. We went to Gullane for a run around the shore there.
It was grey and blowy.

The little sanderlings are nimble and hard to see against the sea.

Cheeky. I tried to take their picture and they turned their backs on me.

So it's the end of the year. I am too hungry to attempt some kind of summing up. Strava provided me with some stats. I ran 1819.4 miles, ascended 99,072 feet and was 301 hours and 54 minutes doing it.
Thanks for visiting, and good luck.

Monday, 26 December 2016


TMI. My new camera shows my snotty nose and nose-hair. Don't look at the close-up.


I need to get blogging because the photos are mounting up, even though I don't have anything to say.
Christmas eve came around. It was good to be off work. It was blowing a very cold hoolie but the light was nice. I'm enjoying having a new camera with more lens power.
Falkos was closing at midday and we weren't going to make it, so in a change of script we got coffee and pastries out of the Scotmid across the road before setting off. I was a bit worried we would peak too soon - somewhere on the bypass on the way to the beach - and by the time we got to Gullane we'd be spent. I was half right. A heated argument sprang up on the way there in the car. Peter was going on about wars and religion and I was saying IT'S NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION, IT'S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE HAVING NO TOLERANCE FOR THE OTHER PERSON'S POINT OF VIEW.
It was good to escape out into the open fields and the biting wind and the landscape. We saw an orange Fatbike coming towards us and were delighted to see Jason atop it. We chatted as long as we could stand the knifing wind.

Pretty much as soon as we were on the beach we had the strong wind behind us, which was the plan, and we had the place to ourselves. Very good to have a wind-assisted fly along the beach and have the only footprints be ours.
We ran just shy of 11 miles and then headed back into Christmasdom. We literally didn't have anything in for Christmas tea so we had to stop at the Tescos. Tesco Leith had introduced some crowd control measures in the form of queue guards. I think our queue guard was a bit giddy from being there all day. He told us he hoped a fight would break out because it would be exciting - and then he caught himself - and said "and that it would be over in just a couple of minutes without anyone being hurt of course" with a big smile on his face. We quite enjoyed the queues up the aisles, admiring all the different kinds of cereals and noting that quite a few people had ditched their chocolates and drink on the shelves. The queuing seemed to be giving people the chance to have their buyer's regret early. Tescos take note.

This was actual Christmas. It was warm!

On Christmas day I had to run more than 8.4 miles in order to reach 30 miles for the week. And I had new Inov-8 X-talon 212's to try out, so I wanted to run off-road mostly. We ran the perimeter of the park and then went into the park proper and ran over the Crags and then up to the summit. I haven't been doing much in the way of hill running for ages and my legs were still wazzed from the day before, so it was kind of a slog. An enjoyable slog, but with burning legs. I am so used to wearing Hokas, I think, that shoes with thin soles are hard going. The X-talons were very nice and grippy in the mud though - and - well - they look so lovely. I got them at a bargain price of £45 on Wiggle. When I took them out the box and saw how they looked I tried to buy another pair right away. They were the most beautiful shoes I have ever seen. Sadly, or perhaps fortunately, there were no more at such an extreme discount. 

Later, to mark Christmas day we augmented our normal tea with sprouts. I love sprouts always but am kind of forbidden to have them, or Broccoli, because they "stink up the flat". Of course I'm not forbidden to have them. It's not some kind of Draconian regime I live in here. I just have to be ready for a bit of arguing. I often give up just to keep the peace - which is a shame for my colon. One's colon loves cruciferous vegetables. Peter augmented his usual dinner with whisky and Port and declared these a wonderful antidepressant. He had suddenly had the revelation that the filthy mood he'd been  in for some time was in fact depression. Alcohol was in fact the cure. Kind of a dangerous revelation that. We'll see how it plays out.

I don't mean to be rude but this lion above the Queen's Gallery doesn't bear too much scrutiny.

I didn't intend to run today as the weather looks better for tomorrow. Peter's going on a longer run. I'm planning on going a shorter longer run, tout seul, so I thought I might take the day off today and rest my legs. But then it was today and there was no way I was staying in the flat all day. And there was no way I was going to any Sales. And I'd thought about taking my bike out but the gusty wind would have made it difficult - so off we set up Arthur's Seat again.

We had lots of clothes on as sunny spells were interspersed with nasty, sleety squalls. It turned into a lot of high energy fun; trying not to be hurled by the wind off the slippery rocks at the top of Arthur's Seat and broken on the hard ground,  far below.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Binning Woods Race and a Sunday Run

Peter - on his knees, but not done yet. He arrived with
5 minutes in hand to get his monkey suit on and run.

Yesterday was my first race as an F50. The occasion was a race in Binning Woods organised by Megan Wright to raise money for dementia research. I have been dodging and DNSing races for some time, and was tempted to do the same with this one, except it looked like a nice, low-key event, and Peter was planning to get this month's Tynecastle Bronze in by running with Clare Gordon who was celebrating her approaching 40th year by doing a 40 mile run with friends. Their plan was to run the last 5 miles running Megan's race. I knew that the poor, old fella would be a bit ragged after this and would appreciate a lift home. So I did some paperwork I had to do in the morning and set off for Binning woods about 12.30.

I don't think I ever used to notice how dark the winter is but now I do. Carrying a camera brings it home. Your eyes adjust to the low light but the camera does less so, unless you've got a big fancy one. I recently upgraded my camera and so I've got a longer lens than Peter; something that has led to a bit of tension in the home. I wasn't wielding it with much skill at the race yesterday anyway. 

Thankfully Bob Marshall was out taking photographs of me looking much happier than I really felt. Well I wasn't exactly unhappy, but I got a bit bewildered in the woods. It was very, very busy at the start of the race as there was a mix of children, adults and dogs. It being a woods there were quite a number of trip hazards as well - you know - little tree stumps and rocks in the grass, muddy bits, malevolent twigs. I was watching my feet a fair bit and as I'd been working hard for ages, when my Garmin beeped, I assumed I'd covered 2 miles but not noticed the first one. As it beeped the third mile I had a look down to see how I was doing and realised I'd only run 2 miles! Jeezo. 5 miles started to seem like a long way. If I'd read the race instructions I probably would have realised that we were doing 2 laps of the same route, and there would have been no mysteries. But there were mysteries. My brain told me we were going a completely different way the 2nd time round and as I saw we were  finally approaching 5 miles on the Garmin, I picked up the pace, confident I could hold it for just a few 100 metres. The only problem being there was still more than half a mile to go, so I sped up, slowed down again, and then I got one of those decisive signals that it was time to go to the toilet. I'm proud to say I'm over 50 but I can still hold it for a certain amount of time. I know. TMI. I can't help it. Or I don't really want to.
When I got over the line I made for the woods and communed with the bears and felt better.

There was a pretty good quality field out and I was proud to hear so many pals getting prizes; both the Hays, Nick Williamson and Willie Jar super-star to name a few.

It's been a busy week, and I haven't been able to run much but I've got in the way of running at least 30 miles a week. With racing yesterday I only had 18 miles on the clock for the week, so really needed 12 today.
My legs didn't wanna run particularly, and Peter really wasn't needing a run, having clocked up something like 42 and a half yesterday, so we were late setting off today. Not that late, but just after midday it already looked like dusk. We were both a bit tired and narky. I blame all the dark. I've definitely been noticing a sense of humour failure in the last week or two. If we don't watch it Peter and I can start a rash of arguments and unless one or other of us is gracious enough to stop it goes on and on. He said some rude things about the lovely fluoro pink top I was wearing, so I...I can't remember what I said...just something rude you know? Then we had an argument about who was fatter. (He is.) Then some other stuff. We were both tired. And it was dark. A dark grey sky stretching towards the horizon. At the horizon there was a little streak of brighter sky. I said maybe the west wind would blow that our way. "No!" opined Buchanan. "It's going to be grey all day." I looked at his thick wooden head and thought how I'd like to punch it.

Some cake and coffee at Falko's raised the mood a little and we set off.
It was never a wonderful day and we were both sore, but running raised our spirits and we stopped fighting.

Lovely crows enjoying the perma-twilight.

Poor ducky thing.

Beautiful baked beans trees.

As we were nearing the final stretch it became clear that I'd miscalculated so we had to put in some extra loops to squeeze out an extra mile. Not easy on sore legs. But we did it.

On the way home some entitled arse-hole in a BMW blew his horn at me because I hadn't joined the roundabout just when he thought I should. I was for stopping and going back to have a word with him, but Peter wouldn't let me out the Berlingo. He said he was too tired to fight.
Oh well, another time.