Sunday, 23 July 2017

Wet again!

It was supposed to be drier today and we were going to go to Gullane. However, sometime during the day yesterday the evil masterminds at the met office switched up the weather and said that they were putting on another show of rain for today. Jeezo. Buchanan absolutely hates the rain. Me, not so much, it can be nice. But I've got a cold and a cough and it's not really ideal going out and getting a soaking - although it is actually a bit more appealing than hot and dry. My peepers don't really like the bright sun at the moment and my dry, itchy lungs were welcoming the humid air.

Looking out the window wasn't that inviting. On the roof across the way I could see a bedraggled chick huddled up against the stair rods of rain coming down....

Arthur's Seat in all its glory.

Arthur's Seat had disappeared so it was really an act of faith to head over that way. When I got there it revealed itself little by little. By then I was enjoying running. The air was soft and furry and it was warm. Buchanan had opted not to run and I was a little relieved as he hates the rain so much it was possible that he would go on about it the whole way round. With my compromised vocal chords I can't even really tell him to shut up  reason with him.

Why the long face? It's genetic.

Scotland's Edinburgh Castle.

It was misty up the seat, and there weren't many people - which was good. And the people that were there were generally for being friendly.

Back down at ground level at the parliament the streets were clearer than usual. The tourists had packed themselves onto the tour buses and were now being driven around getting their heads filled with bollocks  history. I wouldn't want it always to be so wet but it has its merits.

Saturday, 22 July 2017


I had signed us both up for the Musselburgh 10K, which was today. It was never something I was looking forwards to much. After the 7 hills I thought I'd drop the mileage and do some 10K training....whatever that means. But I didn't. Then at the end of last week Peter came home with a cold and by Monday I had it. Yesterday I started coughing and that was the end of thinking about still doing it as "a training run" or "a social" or under any other guise. Anyway it was peeing with rain. I didn't even want the free ice-cream at the end.

Peter could have done it - but he didn't. Instead he enlisted me and the Berlingo to go across town and pick up some equipment from a job he has been doing round the Balerno side of Edinburgh. Since we were going past there anyway it seemed like it would be churlish not to go for a run in the Pentlands.

It wasn't that easy to get out the car, quite frankly, but there is something amusing about going out in bad weather. The car park was refreshingly free of cars. We set off up the hills into the...blank. Up the top everything was blank. And wet. And slippy. I was wearing some Inov8 ultra something shoes (there's a whole story behind them) - and they weren't that great for grip - or contouring - and then they weren't that comfortable on the nasty rocky road between Hare Hill and Black Hill on the way back.

I think my lungs quite liked the moist air. They are hot and coughy now though. I got a good night's sleep for the first night in ages last night and woke up feeling better - so I'd like some more of the same thanks. Better go and have a shower and all that....

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Sultry Saturday and Solitary Sunday

On Saturday it was raining in the morning so we sloped about until it dried up round about midday.
Going outside we were surprised how warm and humid it was.
We got to Falko's late and they were out of scones - disaster. 2nd choice raisin brioche was also gone - so we shared a cheese tongue and a pretzl, had our usual start-up coffees and got moving...and stopped...and got moving...and stopped.
My legs always seem to be super-stiff on a Saturday. I can't quite work out why. Can a long day at the office do that to your legs? Apparently it can.
I've discovered that when we stop to take photos after a mile or so, when I start again my legs will have eased off considerably. So I decided to have a stop anyway even though there was nothing much to photograph. The light was kind of dull.
Peter was bemoaning the lack of butterflies and wondering loudly where they were. I said I thought they just go to ground - close their wings and you can't see them. They were actually everywhere, listening. He perked up at this thought.

Round the corner at Aberlady nature reserve we went off-piste for a while to a bit of scrubby grass-land where we met the toad last week. Peter was surprised and pleased to find common blues in the undergrowth and bounded around trying to photograph them. I was trying to figure out what was so nice about the landscape - all the grasses in the foreground with the sea in the distance and the shape of Arthur's Seat in the far distance.

When we eventually got going again my legs had seized up and had to be warmed up all over again. There was quite a stiff west wind blowing when we got down to the beach so we raised the pace temporarily.

Then we went back to mooching when we got back on the grass and went down to the shell beach to see what was doing there. We were out for 2hrs 17 but ran for 1 hr and covered just over 6 miles.

It's a good way of relaxing though. Coming back into town we went past Tescos and all that Saturday hell. There were "Hibees" all over the place. I thought all that was over, but apparently it's started again.

Today Peter was heading off for a 35 miler with a few like-minded pals. He did encourage me to come along, to be fair, or said I should come along and run "just 20". I have no desire to run "just 20". Ever since the marathon 2 things have been running concurrently.
One thing is that I keep forgetting I've done it and I find myself looking at my pace when I'm out and thinking ruefully "I need to run a quicker pace than this for 26 miles if I want to go under the 4 hours". Then I realise I've already done it! It's alright. You did it. Dear Mary, please catch up with the news. You have done your marathon for the year and you did manage to go under 4 hours. So relax. You can run as slow as you like. Except at the Musselburgh 10K next week. No, including the Musselburgh 10K next week. I've decided that that's just "a social", not a race.

Number two thing is that I hate the thought of running long. I think the Hoy half was the furthest I've run since the marathon. And I definitely didn't want to run that far. I'm just not interested. Most of the time my legs are sore. It would be nice if they stopped being sore, but I don't know what to do about it. I've bought them a new pair of Hokas actually, so that might help.

So today it was me tout seul. After some deliberation I decided to go and run 10 miles round Arthur's Seat. (I thought that afterwards I might come home and do some tidying, although there hasn't been any sign of that happening yet.) It's a very different proposition with no Buchanan. I didn't take a camera so I didn't need a rucksack. I set off at a steady pace and didn't stop once. Most of the roads around the seat are closed to traffic on a Sunday and I couldn't approve more. It's so nice. You can hear the wind in the trees and the shrubs and there's an increasing amount of wildlife around. I wish they'd just go the whole hog and close the roads completely - but it's not bad as it is.

My legs were fine for the first 6 miles and then started to protest a bit after a long downhill. Then, on the road up to the top loch there was a bunch of tourist cyclists on hired bikes so I kept my focus by trying to beat them all to the top. This is kind of a cruel game because unless you're a cyclist and a runner (and by the looks of things, these people were neither) you don't really know that on the steeper bits of hill it's more efficient running than cycling - and it's mighty demoralising having someone run past you when you're puffing your way up a hill on your bike. So what I'm saying is I soothed the pain in my legs by enjoying making some cyclists feel inadequate. A lovely story.
But it passed the time. And I beat them all by the way. The last 2 and a half miles are pretty much downhill.

So since then I've had a big lunch which is a shame because I'm kind of fat at the moment and I keep meaning to eat less. And then forgetting at meal-times.

I'm off tomorrow again. Please don't tell anyone that wants anything. The sun is supposed to shine all day.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Full (moon) Weekend.

Saturday rolled around and the sun was shining. Unusually, though, we had a party to go to in the late afternoon, so we weren't able to dawdle just quite as much as usual. It was a shame because the sun was shining brightly and a new week had brought a new selection of butterflies for us to chase. I laughed at Peter when he first started butterfly hunting, but it's engrossing - and needs a lot of time and patience. And skillz.

Classic butterfly shot.

Highlight of the day was hearing an extended rustle in the long grasses on the Aberlady nature reserve. I thought maybe I'd get lucky and see a mouse - but the rustler turned out to be a beautiful little toad. His warts are quite obvious in the photos but actually he was so little he looked smooth. He seemed to like his new vantage point sitting on Peter's hand and was in no hurry to get away.

So fast forward - we caught a train and went to a party in Bridge of Allan and I drank more in a few hours than I have in the last 6 months and ate two kinds of cake. Just passing the time you know. We got the 10 O'clock train home and I tried to take pictures of the moon out the window. 
Saturday night was in full swing by that time though and I nearly made a new friend with a big gash in his forehead at Stirling Station. I had to withdraw eye contact radically in order not to further encourage that particular connection. The train filled up with teenage girls with nearly no clothes on and young tattoed gentlemen. The train staff reminded people gently that drinking on the train was to stop after 9pm, but they only said it over the tannoy. I don't blame them. Nothing much happened though. Most people got off at Polmont, presumably to go back to the young offender's unit for the night.

Oh dear I've turned into a grumpy older person. I don't know what happens. Your aura gets bigger and your desire for other people to be in it gets smaller. I was probably already progressing to the hungover stage and I felt encroached on by city night-life  and its drunken denizens. I would rather have been out on the nature reserve at Aberlady, communing with the toad under the golden summer moon.

None of this was helped by Peter - who drank a lot more than me - deciding to tell me all about some program he'd seen "by mistake" where a man chooses from a selection of  naked ladies who are revealed slowly from the bottom up. When he has his preferences whittled down to two ladies, he is also asked to remove his clothes and the ladies are asked to give their opinion on his willy. Peter, who had warmed to his topic, opined on several occasions that it was "The end of civilisation."
He was at that stage of drunkenness, where, when I expressed the opinion that if he didn't like it he could have put the telly off, he took this as a sign that I hadn't properly understood and started to explain the whole thing to me again. Oh holy crap.

So anyway. Fast forwards to today. I woke up and got up very late for me. I was afraid as I went to bed that the heat and my hangover would keep me awake, but I needn't have worried because I slept deeply and woke up late.  
I really wanted to get back out to Gullane and pick up where we'd left off the day before, but this time without a time limit - but the weather forecast had radically worsened and it looked like it might be a long trip to go and run around in the rain. So we settled on running locally. I thought we could do my Arthur's Seat 10 miler.
I usually try to do this at some kind of pace and set off with that intention - but Peter and I both had our cameras with us and when we got to the Queen's Park there were swallows darting about the grass. I had only brought my waterproof camera, which can't cope with a gloomy day or any kind of distance, so I found trying to take pictures of the swallows pretty fruitless. We moved on.

It wasn't as rainy as the forecast had predicted and both of us were enjoying being out. The rain there was had discouraged 'visitors' so the park was pretty empty for a Sunday in summer. There was a lot of stopping to take photos, and all thoughts of 'pace' were gone. I saw some kind of a weaselly thing and in my excitement put my Garmin off and forgot to put it on again, so I lost about half a mile. We had taken meal worms in the hope of finding our friend the robin that had come to see us on a park bench several weeks ago, but sadly, although there were lots of bird noises, nobody wanted to come and eat our worms. Oh well. Popularity has a way of fluctuating.

And now I am feeling hungovery again and must go and sort things out. The weekends go past too fast.