Wednesday, 31 January 2018


3 running days and a rest day have passed since I last blogged, and I'm mostly better. I went out for 6 miles on Sunday on my own and my legs were better than the day before but still kind of sore. I iced them when I got back to the house and wished I had the determination to take them to Portobello for another dip in the sea. My legs felt a lot better after their paddle on Saturday. I would have driven to Porty but there's almost always a traffic jam along Seafield Road at the weekend. I have no idea why. I don't know where the people are going. I only wish they wouldn't.

Perhaps because of this we went back to Gullane on Monday. Again my legs were easier and I got another wade in at the end. It wasn't so hard to get in the sea this time, although it was just as cold. I think the pain is kind of addictive.  I wish I lived right next to the sea and could do this after every run. They felt so good afterwards.

Tuesday is pretty much always a rest day as I'm at work from 8.30 - 6. Today I thought I might be able to get a long run in to make up for the one I missed at the weekend. Manchester isn't far off and I haven't gone over 15 miles yet. I took a Camelbak and something to drink in case my legs felt just fine  but was ready to back off if they didn't. They are nearly normal but by 5 miles I was getting pains so I thought I'd cut it short and live to fight another day. So 9 miles today. Hopefully they'll be robust enough to take a long run at the weekend.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Nature Cure

I tried going out for a run on Thursday morning, but it was short-lived. Sharp pains up the side of my right knee told me to pack it in or I'd be off running for a month. So I gave in. I was better than I had been on Wednesday. I never have time to run on a Friday so I knew I wouldn't be trying again until Saturday. Cycling is fine and I enjoyed the commute to work on Friday just to get some time outdoors.

Today I went a run up the street before we headed to Gullane. Both knees hurt more than I wanted them to but I figured my legs would loosen off as I went.

At Gullane it wasn't great. I had a dull ache in both knees that wasn't getting worse but wasn't getting any better either. Stopping and stretching would loosen them off but then they'd tighten up again.
Once we got back to the beach and nearly back to the car I thought I should go and use the sea as an ice bath. There was no way my compression tights were for rolling up so they had to come off. I'd forgotten the sheer self-harming buzz of going in the winter sea. First time in it was like someone was squeezing my legs in a vice. Second time in was a little easier. Third time in wasn't hard at all and afterwards my legs felt very - fresh!!!!

They're still not too bad now, which is a good sign. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Peter's off on a 30 miler with the big boys which takes the pressure off me.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Saturday and Sunday.

It's been a funny old day today. I've done something or other to the tendons or SOMETHING at the sides of both knees. I think it's the IT band attachments but it might be something else. Anyway, it's hard to bend or straighten my legs, which means it's hard to walk. I felt it yesterday but I was at work so I didn't care. Cycling to work was fine, although going down the stairs carrying my bike wasn't. I've got a bit of a wrist too. It was getting better but seemed to want to get in on the act so it flared up (I think it's also the tendons, from creeping along with my brake hand ready on the icy cycle-paths on the way home from work in the dark). Yes I know, I'm an old crock. It was kind of timely. I was almost toying with the idea of signing up for Devil of the Highlands and then all this and I remember just how very wrong things can go! So I had today off but had to accept pretty soon once I'd levered myself out of bed and shuffled through to the kitchen that I wouldn't be running. What a waste of a day off! I scoured the flat for ibuprofen but there was none anywhere. 

I found some old diclofenac at the back of a drawer which someone gave me to try when I hurt my back - then I read the list of warnings - about the sudden heart attacks and all - and I didn't take them - so I'd never had diclofenac...I was desperate. I at least wanted to be able to shuffle round the flat and ideally go to the shops as we were running out of everything, so I popped a 50mg tablet and braced myself for the heart attack. Happily it never came. 

I don't think it did anything for the pain either though. I think it made me feel spaced out. Anyway, don't try this at home kids. If you find any tablets at the back of your drawer, throw them away or tell an adult, or both. Don't just take them.

I puttered around the flat and cleaned out a drawer which has been a home for free-range black peppercorns for some time. Years, I would guess, as the packet they'd burst out of said they were best before 2007. I washed the dishes. My legs didn't really feel any better so I scaled back my plans and decided to take the car to Tescos.

I thought Tesco Leith might be alright during the day - less busy and perhaps not so teeming with drunks. Instead of drunks there were schoolies. It was a major piece of mis-timing and I will never go there at 1pm again. They had staggered the automatic doors so you had to go through one on the right and one on the left, which was presumably to slow down thieves. I don't really know. It just didn't make anything easier with my two funny legs and a funny wrist.

Actually I've been watching a lot of Homeland. It's possible that my legs have come out in sympathy with Peter Quinn. My Peter has become jealous and angry about how much attention I'm paying to Peter Quinn, but I can't help it. It's a disaster. He's psychotic and he's had a stroke and he's rattling about in a flat in New York going as mad as a brush and nobody's talking to him. "Will someone sit down and talk to that man!" I'm yelling at the telly, and Peter's telling me to calm it. "It's only a television play" he smirks.

Anyway, I got my Tesco shop, thanks for asking. The woman in the queue ahead of me was buying a wine box of Liebfraumilch. Yes honestly. It didn't give me much time to get all the things out my trolley and onto the conveyer belt with my dicky three out of four limbs. The girl at the till was going to do that thing where she hurries everything through before you have time to pack it so I put my scary face on and she didn't. Amongst all the other things I had got some ibuprofen - I didn't know if they'd help much but they did. I've had a big sleep and woke up able to bend my legs. Hurray!


So Saturday - probably responsible for my funny legs, was glamorous but kind of unwelcome. There'd been a big snow-fall so we went to the Pentlands. Peter was over the moon, but I really wasn't. The snow was deep in places and I was floundering. We were doing a lot of walking rather than running and I was keen to get some running done as I hadn't been able to do much during the week. We had some disagreements about route choice. It took us 2 hours to run 8 miles.

On Saturday night I dreamt I had a marathon but I hadn't done the requisite preparation, and I woke up to note that it was true! The Manchester Marathon's on April 8th and I've done very little. My legs were tired from Saturday but I planned a 15 miler to try to start upping the distance of my longer runs. Peter doesn't have to worry as he runs at least a 30 miler every month. But I don't.

I was quite pleased with the run. It was a very dull, grey day and forecast to start sleeting at noon. We were a bit slow off the start line but did make it out while it was still morning. Going round Leith Links someone approached from behind and it was Aileen Ross who I haven't seen in person for ever so long. We shared about 400 meters of chat before she headed on to Porty and we turned to get the East Wind behind us and be blown along to Cramond. 

By 7 miles my legs were sore. I did what I could to change position. It was a relief going uphill from Cramond just for the change of posture. Running back along the cycle paths was a bit dicey as there were the odd patches of ice still. I wasn't loving running by Inverleith Park and 12 miles but I knew it was only 3 home and I passed the time thinking about what I was going to have for lunch.

Scrambled eggs on toast. It was heaven. And a cup of tea. And then a sleep on the sofa. Nice.

Striding out!

On Monday, my legs were kind of sore, so I didn't push the boat out, or so I thought. I went a wee run round Arthur's Seat and didn't push the pace. The rest is history. My legs went on strike. I hope they're better enough to go for a run tomorrow....

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Sunday long day's journey into night and today's snowy Yaktrax run.

 I have to get a move on because Peter's working kind of hard this week. Well so he tells me. So I have to cook the dinner. Still I've still got pictures from Sunday and there's more from today.
On Sunday we took forever to get moving. People were already celebrating their Sunday run on "the book" before we were even yet out of pyjamas. It was cold and bleak and Richard Hadfield had been going on about Arctic Winds, which wasn't encouraging. But we needed to go out and we wanted to run medium long. Eventually we found our respective backbones and got out the house.

After a mile or two of running into the despicable wind we were warmed up and fine. By 4 miles we had the wind behind us and we were even better. It wasn't a day for seeing much though, and it wasn't a day for hanging around. We kept it to a minimum. There were a surprising number of people on this usually deserted stretch of beach given how harsh it was.

We carried on past the turn off for Archerfields and headed for Yellowcraigs which committed us to 13 and a half miles or so. The light was already fading.

I generally avoid running later in the day these days, but I did quite enjoy it. There was a frisson of fear and excitement running into the dark woods. Your ears prick up at noises you wouldn't normally pay attention to - twigs snapping, dogs barking, headless horsemen behind you, that kind of thing.

It all got quite spooky. Which is quite helpful for keeping the pace up. We got back to the car without the zombies catching us. But we were late home, having to stop in at Tescos on the way. We were both pretty tetchy by the time we got in, being tired and low blood-sugared. We had our tea sometime after 9. I went off to bed soon after and slept very deeply and had no interest in getting up when it was time to. Peter discovered the next day that he had actually forgotten to have a shower. I don't know what tipped him off to this, and I don't really want to know.

Anyway, that all seems a long time ago. Two stretches of work have passed since then. It had snowed quite heavily over night so I headed out this morning wearing my Yak Trax for the first time ever. I bought them in the sales after the winter of 2011 and have not even had them out the box. But the pavements were all looking coated with ice when I looked out this morning so I thought it was time to give them a try.

I didn't have much time as I had to be places and do stuff - so I just went a wee tootle round Arthur's Seat. I was impressed with the YakTrax. They were easy to put on and made the pavement fine. I didn't know what a difference they had made until I was out later in my  normal shoes and I was slipping all over the place.

I was against the snow, really. If there'd been a vote I would have voted against. But nobody had asked me and in retrospect I'm glad because I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the heavy dark skies and then the contrast when the sky cleared and the sun came out. There were even skiiers up the seat.
I couldn't hang round long and had taken my B camera in case of upsets. I would have spent a lot longer out otherwise. It looks like it's all melting now but there's more forecast for overnight.

I hope it doesn't all get too exciting for the Feel the Burns Hill race on Sunday.

That's a fat looking left knee. Must be some mistake.