Sunday, 25 February 2018

Long run

Well you know it should have been 20 but 18 will have to do. I started at Gullane and ran east round Aberlady Bay and then back into Gullane. I thought if I took the east wind in the face on the road that would be better. Before Gullane I was asking myself "what's my motivation for this?" though. It was only 6 miles in. I stopped and had a coffee and a pastry out the Co-op. It was crunch time. Was I a runner or just a food-eater?

I tried to accept the void and run on. The oh my god there is no part of me that wants to run a long run void. I just couldn't bail out of another one.

Part of my plan was that I'd get the unpleasant part out of the way so that by North Berwick it would be a nice run along the beach with the wind behind me. That worked well. The sand was beautifully flat. For some reason I was attracting all the puppies. "It'll be your smell" says Peter. Yeah, thanks.
He wasn't there though. It was afterwards he said that.

I thought the run would only be 18 miles but I thought I might have the strength of character to tack on an extra two when I got to the car. It turns out I didn't though. I also thought I might soothe my tired legs in the refreshing sea when I was finished, but it would have meant guddling about changing into something else. My leggings are too tight to roll up. That's what happens when you're a cheapskate and the smaller sizes are on sale.

Anyway. I'm glad I've done it. Time to do something else.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Another not long long run and an extraordinarily happy Parkrun.

Again on Wednesday I was going to go a long run. Peter and I set off to Aberlady nature reserve and we planned to run to North Berwick and back a different way. It was very bright but also cold and although both of us were glad to be there, we both felt tired. It was unsurprising for Peter with his two 20 milers at the weekend, and it wasn't that surprising for me. The tide was out and there were things to see - the best find was starfish along the tide-line. I'd heard, a bit enviously, twice recently about there being starfish(es??) washed up on Porty beach, but I hadn't seen any.
As we got to Yellowcraigs the thought of running to North Berwick just seemed like a drag, so I suggested we cut it short. It was no skin off Peter's nose and I'm really trying these days not to make running a chore - so we headed back and ran a little under 14 miles instead.

On Wednesday evening we got the good news that Michael has got the all clear after doing a winter of chemo for lung mets. He pretty much told us he was going to disappear for the duration so we'd heard almost nothing from him since we'd last seen him just before it started. We'd both been wondering what was going on and thinking it was time we heard from him.

Peter went a run with him on Thursday but I had to go for my 2 yearly cardiology check up at the WGH before working in the afternoon. I was hoping they would just discharge me and it looked like it was going to go that way.  I've got an abnormal ECG but they were going to write me off as a freak of nature and let me go - but they sent me up for an echo cardiogram just to be sure and it came back a little bit ambiguous, so now I'm going to get another MRI and maybe do another 24 hour tape. The doc also said that to be on the safe side I should avoid strenuous training. I assured him I've been avoiding that for quite some time now! "Strenuous" is kind of subjective anyway, so I feel I have some wiggle room. I was a bit sad about this, it would be nice to feel I could really push it without worrying. Oh well.

Anyway, Peter was away to "lead" a 30 miler today. (God help his followers.) I had been out for a run early last Saturday morning as I was on a course all Saturday and Sunday, and had thought at the time that maybe I should go and do a parkrun soon as it was actually nice being up and out at that time in the morning. The people that were up were smiley and friendly and the birds were tweeting in the trees. That kind of thing.

So then Peter had said to Michael that I'd said I might do a Parkrun and Michael had messaged me to say he'd heard I was definitely doing the Parkrun. I still wasn't sure, but I was tempted. This morning I couldn't see any good reason why not. The weather couldn't have been better. Unusually, there was an east wind, which is preferable for Parkrun as it means you get a help on the way home when you're tired. So I had some coffee and jumped on my bike and went to do it.

Michael had to wave at me to get my attention because I was in a trance, and he's changed his hairstyle. We went for a warm up run and got into the usual blethers. He always makes me run faster than I normally would without my noticing. We got a good 2 miles in and only made it back just in time for the start. I was remembering that I wasn't to strain myself, and took this advice to heart, so stayed comfortable for the first mile or two. It was a PW ultimately but I've never paced a Parkrun so nicely. The first mile was 7.59, the next mile was 7.51 and the third one, with the aid of the east wind and a bit more effort from me was 7.40. I felt my breakfast for the first time in the third mile - just saying hello, the ghost of a stitch - but it never got any worse.

It was about 24 and a half minutes which would have pissed me off just a few years ago but I'm always happy to see the underside of 8 minute miles these days. I am actually quite impressed with myself. I had a minimum of leg trouble too, just a funny wee tweak in my hamstring that I've felt recently, but it didn't stay around.

Afterwards I got to see Douglas Young who I haven't seen for ages, and also got to catch up a little bit with Amy and Bert. I went away with a big happy smile on my face.

A lot of people were away doing other races and I was glad because I just didn't want to get that racing feeling. As it was I thought very little while I was running and I liked it.

I cycled home via Tesco's Leith, and on a whim took a short-cut through the Kirkgate with my bike. I'm glad I did because, bizarrely, there were some people there with a tent and an array of birds of prey. It seemed like a very odd thing. They were raising money for the upkeep of the birds by offering to take people's photos with the birds for money. The birds looked in pretty good condition although don't owls usually sleep during the day? I can't imagine they liked Leith much, but the punters were well behaved around them. I didn't have any money so helped myself to some pictures with my own camera and toddled off to do the shopping.

That is all for now. :-)

Sunday, 11 February 2018

A Trilogy of Runs

On Friday we went to Gullane. We were late getting out the house and lacking oomph so despite having coffeed up on some no.4. strength beans before leaving, we got more coffee and a scone at the Village Coffee House when we arrived. Peter has a new wetsuit he wants to test out (which seems to be as thick and strong as tissue paper), so we had taken the wetsuits. As soon as we sampled the cutting winds outside the van, however, we cancelled that idea in our heads. The run, once we got going, was exhilarating though. 

I hadn't given much thought to whether I should do the Carnethy Hill Race or not - but the last thing I wanted to do was set myself back, so I decided then I was definitely going to skip it. Almost as soon as I'd made this decision, my legs seemed to feel back to normal, as if I'd secretly been malingering in order to get out of doing the Carnethy. Whatever. The sun was very low, the wind was strong, we were quite high from too much coffee, and we had fun blazing along the beach. We've been trying to master a double jump shadow for some time now but I have real trouble getting off the ground.

I went for another wade in the sea at the end of the run. Peter was so cold he had to gallop up and down the beach so there are no pictures.

So Saturday was the Carnethy Hill Race and Peter was away to do it. I had no idea what to do run-wise so I went out around Granton. I was almost relieved that I still had to stop and stretch a couple of times - that I had not entirely made up my leg troubles. While I was in Granton I was tempted out onto the pier there. You have to watch your feet as there are some big cracks between rocks and the penalty for getting it wrong could be taking a header into the Forth. There was a very fresh wind out on the water though, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Today, again, was an effort to get out the house. We'd kind of thought about going back to Gullane but it seemed like too much hassle, so this time we headed to the Botanics with tempting nuts and meal-worms to charm the birds and squirrels out of the trees. However, we actually had our best nature experience before we got there. We went via Inverleith Park and unwittingly started a three-way war - mallards vs. gulls vs. tufted ducks. There were some crows shouting out from the side-lines but they never got their beaks dirty. The gulls won effortlessly using greater air skillz and better team-work.

Even though we'd packed our duvet jackets the Botanics were just too cold. (Not allowed to run). And I find the Sunday people irritating. Churlish, I know. Churlish as hell. And I don't even have a hangover, and almost never do. People just go about talking and blocking the path. RRRRRAH! Peter had just tempted a very cute squirrel down from the woody heights when we were mobbed by some French enfants, and I had to pretend I didn't want to lob them into the undergrowth. But I did. (Want to, not lob, just for the record.)

So the Botanics are always good, but on a Sunday in early February is not them at their best.

It was good to get home and eat soup and toast.

I better tidy my room and do the dishes.....