Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Grapes of Wrath

I have been struggling for a couple of days with a dilemma which has stopped me from blogging; the two horns of the dilemma being approximately openness vs. discretion.

My initial response was for openness but Peter favours discretion, and I recently came across a description of someone who feels they have to tell everything on the web as having "no filter", which gave me pause for thought. However, as a healthcare professional and as a human being I feel that people would benefit from being less embarrassed about their own bodies and that one of the great things about running is that running hard leaves little room for self-consciousness and worrying about how you look. It also leaves little room for being too precious about natural functions - something not well understood by the non-running world, hence all the hoo-ha about Paula's rather tidy road-side toilet break.

Well that's a lot of preamble. What can it possibly be? Haha. I've not been running for a couple of days cos I've got piles. Owww! My bottom hurts. There it's out. I blame Gordon's hill session on Wednesday, I don't know what happened,  it worked something too hard and now I have a companion in my I'm taking it easy and using my ass medicine. It would be good if this thing could be resolved before the marathon in a week...

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Last Long Run

Its two weeks 'til the marathon and we are way short of long training runs so we really had to, somehow, anyhow, knock out a long one today.
Neither of us were really feeling like it. We drank a couple of glasses of wine last night and watched a film, stayed up late, and made not firm plans for today.

Once up, (I was dreaming that I was supposed to get a cheque from my uncle but I kept not getting it), I still avoided the thought in my head and Peter got up about an hour later and still we didn't really discuss it. Finally I said "I'm going to text Amanda and see if she's gone her run yet" and as luck would have it, she'd been waiting in on a tradesman and so been held up.

There are too many variables to take into account to plan a long run for Amanda, Peter and myself so we didn't really plan it. I said when I'd be setting off and how fast I'd be trying to run. Amanda would set off from Musselburgh at some point, Peter would give me a head-start, and then we'd all head for North Berwick with our phones on so if we didn't meet up at some point we could communicate at the end.

I was a little hungover and a bit creaky from Friday so gave myself a mile's grace and then tried to knock out a consistent pace. It was pretty hot so I was soon dripping with sweat, particularly from my face which I'd sun-creamed up. The wind was firmly behind us which was nice so the day was favourable for running down the coast. Dodging the children and bicycles on the prom is a lot easier on fresh legs, so I prefer running it this way. Also, the scenery gets nicer and nicer as you head out to North Berwick, whereas coming back the other way I have a kind of heart sink as there are more cars, more people, more houses, more fumes...

I had a bit of a storm in my head about trying to keep Peter behind me, which probably kept me going, although I wasn't the most relaxed. Just after Lidl at the Pans I saw Amanda pop up from behind a hummock of grass. She was maybe 2 or 300 metres ahead, and I wasn't 100% sure it was her. Communication was impossible and there wouldn't be any point in her waiting on me only to drop me again almost right away.

A little while later I heard the familiar blowing noise of Peter approaching. I had held him off for the best part of 10 miles so that wasn't bad. We exchanged words and he went past and on to catch Amanda. (She held him off till Gosford House.)

I kept going fairly steadily for the next 4 miles or so but by the time I was coming into Aberlady I was falling apart. I took some time out to buy a can of Red Bull and a can of Fanta. I chugged the Red Bull right away and then had a bit of Fanta and poured the rest of it into my water bottle. I had blue Powerade already in the bottle so perhaps inevitably it reacted with the orange Fanta and a green spume erupted in an arc out the bottle and all over my shorts and my hands and my Garmin. The bottle was all slippery then so I dropped it at the side of the road and a passing man said "Clumsy.".

Yuk. I ran another bad mile and then the caffeine kicked in and started helping me a bit so groaning and feeling sorry for myself and pulling faces as I was alone I hurpled on down the long road to North Berwick with the sun beating down on my dripping head.

As I came into Dirleton my phone went and as I had to stop to answer it and being in a bit of a mood from the sun and all I swore as I looked at it and then noticed the pub garden full of senior citizens witnessing my display of ill manners. Peter was texting that he and Amanda were at the beach and I texted back "Which beach?" and then thought better of it so texted back "@ Dirleton will phone when @ nb" and shuffled off.

Another couple of miles on tired legs and then I was hailed by Isobel Pollard on a bike and then shortly after by Peter and Amanda strolling up the road. In 10 minutes we were on the train (but what about my ice-cream?) and a few minutes later we were heading back through the lovely countryside. Amanda put Mystic Meg's horoscope page to good use by sitting on it as she was still wet from going in the sea. Peter had brought a change of clothing as hates to be wet for long. We swapped stories of aches and struggle until Amanda got off again at Musselburgh.

Then home, pushing our way through the heaving crowds of festival "visitors", via Scotmid, our reward being quorn burgers and fried eggs on toast. I think you'll agree my egg bears an uncanny resemblance to Jesus weeping tears of blood.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Glen(dis)tress - The Black Run

Amanda was going down to Glentress for a run on the black run (c.15.5 miles running) and I had the day off so was going to go too and then Peter got the day off so we were going down as a troop. Scott's still recovering from knackering his ankle on the evil Lairig Ghru and declined our company, but when we were up on the trail and remembered just how rocky it is we were glad he hadn't come and risked a re-sprain.

I had done an amazing job of changing the memories I had of this run. When it came up as an idea I was thinking it was a bit hilly but very doable and felt no fear. Only when I was up on the trail and only in the latter stages did I remember that the last time I ran it, with Scott last year - I eventually cracked and begged Scott could we please take the escape route direct to the cafe rather than run anymore trail? He smiled ryely and pointed about 400 yards ahead where the cafe was in plain view. Damn. Exposed!

The time before that I ran it with Peter and we got be-nighted and then lost our way in the middle of winter and wandered like Hansel and Gretel, at the mercy of the wilderness, until destiny kindly showed us the way.

This time I was surprised from the outset how unwaveringly uphill it is, - 2 miles clicked by and we were still going more or less uphill although the angle was easing. Amanda is in fine form and Peter can obviously easily outrun me but they were both being kind and weren't pushing the pace overly much. The point of the run was just to be out and about, Amanda's serious long run'll be on Sunday. About 6 miles in you top out, at which point the memories I'd taken from before were that it's downhill all the way. I must say I wondered how this could be as there was still another 9 or 10 miles to go, but trotted on, my legs a bit weary now but in fine spirits.

The path is very stony at parts and it slowly takes a toll on your legs and feet. I guess there's not so much pounding on the uphill but on the downhill it started to tell. Peter and Amanda are both natural descenders so they zoomed off and I contented myself with keeping a steady pace and not over-braking, which can be as tiring on your legs as anything. I went from enjoying it to kind of enjoying it - then I came across the next set of uphills which I had carefully edited from my memory banks - and they went on and on and on. I topped out at the place where Peter and I had gone wrong in the forest in the dark and Amanda and Peter were whileing away their time by chatting to a father and son set of mountain bikers who were out for the day and the only bikers we met on the black run. (There were more lower down.) We set off again - uphill! - and so it went - and I got slower and slower and slower and all the time it was killing me because I felt I was holding the others up. Felt like a real slug. At about 13 miles P and A were waiting for me and I cracked again. "I think I'm going to take the most direct route to the cafe!", but they pointed out that it was uphill so I let out some verbal protest and teetered on. Shit my feet and legs were sore, and still are, and I am only somewhat soothed by the fact that Amanda and Peter found the same thing. That's a tough, tough route.

Thinking about it there's kind of a tradition of going into the woods as an innocent and having a nasty surprise; I'm thinking of Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks AND Little Red Riding Hood. Like all of them I survived, and my reward was that the cafe (excellent cafe) took plastic as I was praying it would and fried egg on toast and coffee and Irn Bru and cake went down I don't know. It was the best thing. The very best.

The father and son mountain bike team came over and chatted and told us about a very interesting race. (After the son had shown us his war wounds from mountain biking yesterday. Ouch! Chopped up arm and shoulder and tummy and leg.) The dad runs with Saddleworth Runners and he told us every year they have a trail race called the cake race where there is a competition for the best cake baked by participants and then the race winner wins the best cake. All the other cakes get chopped up and eaten after the race. Does that sound good to you? Think it should be a championship race.

Another biker came over  and hailed us as Porties. She's not been coming to club but has been running and was telling us she's doing the Monster Race soon. She knew who we were from the web-site. 

Anyway - Beware of the Black Run at Glentress! It trashes your legs and then wipes your memory.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

This Plumber's World!

I missed the club session last night because I was getting withdrawal symptoms from having trouble with my water. Scottish Water did come up yesterday and dug up the pavement and fixed the toby. You see! I now know its not a stop-cock, its a toby. They didn't have time to fix the pavement though so the new toby is a bit more accessible than it should ideally be.

The water was working fine when I got in and we had it all arranged that the plumber would come the next day (today) and fix our leak at long last. But then the water mysteriously went off.

I phoned up and spoke to the plumber and he reckoned the most likely explanation was that some of the pavement had gone down into the mains, shot up the pipe and jammed somewhere. That didn't sound good. How much worse/more complicated/more expensive is this going to get?

The poor man came out after 9pm because I think he could tell that I couldn't hack it anymore, and then we discovered that someone (probably kids) had put the mains back off out in the street. Bloody kids! Nobody hits them hard enough anymore, as we all know. So we got our water back on. And today he came and fixed the original problem...

And so we just need to get a ceiling replaced and that will be...

The end.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Lomonds of Fife Hill Race

It was a bit misted over in Edinburgh on Sunday morning and we were a bit disappointed because it wasn't sunny but thought it would probably be good weather for running anyway.

Ahaha! 1 hour later in Fife the sun was beating down with only the odd tiny cloud shading the sun slightly for less than a minute. We had no hats, no sunscreen, we were going to get our hides tanned! After yesterday's experience with collapsing Chris at the Haddington half I resolved to take it sensibly up the first long drag right up to the summit of West Lomond.

This is really a very cruel start because immediately you summit its time to turn around and go pretty much all the way back down again, but contouring down on uneven, ankle-twisting trods to the entrance of the woods heading towards East Lomond. I took my own sweet time doing this being a. not a good descender and  b. having a shoogily knee and ankle on the left side which was taking all the strain as it was my lower side.

Once I was back in the woods I picked up again though. This is really enjoyable track and trail and it was dark and damp and the air was cool which was a lovely relief from the burning old sun. I took a few bods coming along here and then again when we turned right up a small, muddy path through the trees. This bit up to some monument on the hillside might be one of my favourite bits of running. The path is uphill but not at all steep and on either side there are pines so the air smells heavenly. There were huge colourful mushrooms scattered about on the ground.

I felt good and knew things would get more difficult once I was further up the hill and there was no more shade so I made the best of it.

Running up to East Lomond is an opportunity to find out how things are panning out at the sharp end of the race. I saw Peter looking very cheerful come galloping back along the path, a good sign... and a procession of folk before and after him. Some cheerful, some focused and working hard, a lot suffering in the heat. On the way up East Lomond I saw a bunch of Fife Ladies, who I'd started out just behind, not so very far ahead, but they were descending well and I was running out of steam and I knew I wouldn't be catching them up. Which was good in a way, because I was under very little pressure.

I kept it going as best I could, running as much as I was able ( quite a lot of people were walking by now - it really was hot!). I was honoured at what I think is called "Maiden Castle" and is really a hump of lumpy reed grass, to get supported by Richie Cunningham, King of the West Highland Way and help myself to his jelly babies. They kept me going for the last short but hard bit, over more lumpy grass and then up the hard rocky track back to West Lomond. I really didn't feel like climbing West Lomond again. "But I've already CLIMBED it" I whined inside. I did think that I could just have a seat, but then reasoned that I wouldn't feel better right away and I would still then have to climb the bloody thing to get to the end. So I confess I then pretended I was on Everest climbing up to the summit ridge and I could then understand why it was so hot and so hard and I was breathing so hard. It seemed to take forever.

At the top there were encouraging marshalls and then there was a short grassy run down to the death-slide, aka bum-slide. Even climbing over the fence to the top of this thing I nearly took a header because the ground was so steep. This year, resigned to falling over anyway, I just got on my bum right away and set off like a rocket - my version of events - Peter was filming me with his camera however and, deflatingly, says - "you were going quite slow". It felt fast. And easy - the only problem really was steering round the thistles. I didn't steer round all of them - and then landing on flatter bits of ground was quite sore so I hopped back on my feet for a while, then taking once again to my back-side.

Then there was a nice gentle run through the field amid the happy sheep to the finish line!

I didn't remember this race being just quite such an epic. Still highly recommended to all and sundry. I was disappointed not to see any other Porties there as we have a growing number of people that will go in the hills.

We got a chance to chat to Richie C. at the end who is now on the taper for the Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc. Our friend Ben says the CCC which is half of the ultra tour is the hardest thing he's ever done. (And then tries to persuade us to sign up for it!) We agreed that a nicer way to do it might be over the course of 4 days and only running during the day.

We also got a chance to catch up with Melanie Sinclair, new Carnegie friend from the Tour of Fife, who was in the river like a shot. She's a bit of a water baby.

Also a nice man from Beacon Runners came up and introduced himself and said he read my blog! But I had the pre-race anxiety and promptly forgot his name again. Maybe I'll be able to work it out from the results. Thanks anyway, and for the support on the way round.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Haddington Half Marathon

There are more photos - not so partisan - at this link although you might have to join facebook to access it, I'm not sure. And there are more photos than the ones that are there - if you emailed me your number I might be able to find one!

Anyway. Funny old day. I had a chat with my plumber (yes we speak every day now) and he mentioned about the possibility of our ceilings having to come down, becoming more likely by the day as Scottish Water don't fix the stopcock in the street for the mains water and the  leak from the mains water in the roof drips into our flat...remember? He reminded me I better phone my insurance. So I did. Not something I do everyday. I rang the number and a Sussex voice rang out, "Who is your insurer?" "I thought you were," I limply told her - "Wot is the telephone number of your insurer?" "This is the number it says on the policy to ring." She clearly wasn't feeling helpful. Maybe its a claims help-line for a few different insurances. We got nowhere and we both agreed that I'd be better talking to someone else on Monday.

You can only brood about your ceiling coming down for so long so I took my bike downstairs in the hope I'd be able to jam it somehow into the Berlingo, and go and spectate at Haddington. The day started to feel better. The seats folded down very nicely and I soon had my bike in its entirety neatly jammed into the back of the van and stabilised with some bungies. I put on the radio and listened to a bit of the proms. They were doing Bach. I don't mind a bit of Bach, except it does make you think of funeral homes.

Pretty soon and minutes before race start I was in Haddington, so I got myself down to the start with the plan of following the route. As it was I went wrong almost immediately and was soon standing at the side of the road looking quizzically at a map of the race that I'd brought along, wondering if I was going to miss the whole thing. A nice old bloke with white hair came over the road and asked if he could help - and he could - he pointed my in the right direction and I set off again.

There were a couple of guys in red vests (who I failed to photograph every single time) out front and then quite soon a fair pack of Porties came galloping down the hill. I let everyone go by and then set out once again to get past the leaders. The course was a good deal hillier than I had remembered - and I cringed a bit realising I'd told everyone not to worry about the hills, worry about the heat. On the bike it was a deal cooler and very comfortable but I could see from the runners' faces that they were cooking.

I finally managed to pass the leaders just before 7 miles and stopped to speak to Willie Jarvie (Willie Jar Superstar), but he was also taking photos so I thought it made more sense to press on and find a different vantage point. I went a bit past the 9 mile marker and leaned my bike up against a gate and enjoyed the rustling wheat and the sunshine.

Pretty soon number 1 runner came through (sorry I don't know his name) - looking quite happy - he was working hard, but was cheerful with it. He was miles ahead of everyone else and won in a time of 71 minutes I think.

Runners came by in one and twos and then there were more clumps of them. It was really enjoyable Porty spotting and getting as many pics of people I knew (and others) as I could. I was busily focusing on Ann Hay wen I realised the guy running near her was acting a bit strangely. He seemed to run almost towards me, and staggered, and fell on his bum and then got up and fell over backwards. I put the camera down...

This was Chris, originally from Kinross and now from Manchester. He thought that we should get back to the road. "Where do you think we are?" I asked him. "We're behind the wall, but there's a road over there, I saw it."

I tried to take his pulse but it was quick and weak, he was sweating profusely and feeling sick and not making much sense so I called an ambulance and sat with him at the side of the road. It was a bit of a challenge telling the ambulance where we were - but my map saved the day for the 2nd time, and I was able to tell them the number of the road and that I was 4 miles from Haddington.

Chris was a bit gutted to leave the race and he tried a couple of times to join in again, but couldn't stand up so fell over into a patch of nettles and then got on his hands and knees to be sick. I had to be quite stern with him to stop him shuffling around. You could see how his determination had got him into trouble. His main concern was that his mates would take the piss because he'd told them he was going to run sub 1.40 and he'd been laughing at them for not being able to run a half marathon. He hadn't run more than 10 miles himself before. He asked me what age I was and told me I had a nice voice. He was a bit shocked to find out I was 43. (He was 25). "Just as well your husband's not here!" he said.

He was a nice chap. After a while the ambulance arrived and they got him on a stretcher and he started to vomit in earnest. I'm sure he will be alright.

After all that excitement I made my way to the end of the race where everyone was flopped on the grass. The Porties took male and female team prizes and Emily was 3rd "Masters" lady. She was a bit unsure about being a master but was willing to go with it...

I quizzed Claire Gilchrist - who is running very well indeed, about what her secret is and she told me its higher mileage. She's consistently running between 50 and 60 miles a week and not letting anything get in the way. Hmmm....

Tomorrow, all being well, is the Lomonds of Fife Hill race. My knee is a bit dodgy but I think its just grumbling rather than injured. If I think about it too much I make it worse, so I might just not think about it...

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Abominable Dr. Phibes

There have been odd goings on in the Yak household of late. On Tuesday the flat was suddenly filled with a smell - one that was initially hard to define. It was the smell you get when you steam off old wall-paper; we wondered if one of our neighbours was decorating.
On Wednesday the smell was still there, but I didn't give it much more conscious thought. I had noticed that there weren't any other signs of neighbours decorating but drew no conclusions, apart from thinking maybe I should open a window.

On Wednesday evening at running club I had a tune fixed in my head. Which happens fairly often - and it always means something, but again I didn't give it much thought. I don't know the name of the song but its a Cure song and it starts "Its 8.15 on a Saturday night", and the chorus goes "and the tap goes drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip."

So I shouldn't have been surprised when I woke up on Thursday and Peter had left me a note to say "The smell's coming out of the washing machine cupboard, the plaster is soaked and I can hear a drip, can you do something about it?" He had to be at work. So did I as a matter of fact, but not for a few hours.

Upon careful investigation I could see there were drips forming and dropping from the ceiling. They hadn't been making much noise because that cupboard's full of sleeping bags and bedding and pillows.
Fast forward a few hours and I've cancelled my shift, losing a day's wages and the cupboard's emptied out all over the sitting room. Buckets are filling up with filthy yellow water leaking through from the roof-space.

We've had a plumber in and established that there was a leak into our neighbour's flat at the weekend and the people who manage their property sent out (reading between the lines) somebody from the circus. (My neighbour said the man who came was so small he could hardly lift his ladders and hit them off every wall as he came up the stairs.) This circus person found a hole in the lead mains pipe and so he wrapped the hole with insulating material - problem solved - it diverted the leak out of their flat into our flat!

The plumber had to go but promised to fit me in for the middle of the next day. (Today). I had a long run planned for today but it would have to wait. Today the plumber comes but the mains thingmy (I'm at the end of my plumbing vocabulary) outside is stuck tight and he can't put the mains water off. He speaks to Scottish Water, they are going to come and loosen it off for him, and then he's going to come back tomorrow and fix the leak. He goes away. I go out a horrible long run. It was meant to be 20 miles but my legs are still very sore from Wednesday night's hard club session. I call it a day at 16 and a bit miles. When I stop running I can hardly walk my legs are so stiff.

Back up at the flat there's a message from the plumber on the answer machine. Scottish Water have broken off the top of the thingmy (stop-cock?) and will now have to dig up the pavement to fix it. But its 5pm on a Friday night and it certainly won't be happening tonight, or probably this weekend.

So I'm thinking vaguely about bad luck as I do the dishes and I suddenly remember a horror film that I once saw where someone got revenge on someone else by visiting all the plagues of Egypt on them. What plagues of Egypt? What film? All I can think of is "The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus", but that's an album by "psychedelic ensemble" Spirit.

Time for Wikipedia, and pretty soon I've found what I'm looking for. The name of the film is The Abominable Dr. Phibes and it all comes flooding back. A complicated story - but Dr. Phibes thinks that a number of doctors are responsible for the death of his wife so he invents elaborate ways of killing them that relate to the plagues of Egypt. I particularly remember he made a frog-head for a fancy dress party for one of the doctors and when the doctor put it on it triggered a mechanism which made the frog-head tighten until the head beneath was crushed.

Comforting memories of childhood come pouring back where me and my sister lie in sleeping bags in the dark watching horror films and frightening ourselves senseless. Oh for those simple times. If you have read all the way down to here you deserve a prize.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Largo Law Hill Race

(Work) life is very uncertain at the moment and I'm up and down about it. One minute its fine and exciting - working on the nurse bank is an adventure and I'm enjoying myself. The next moment my worst fears (well not quite worst) are being realised and I'm being sent to a male dementia ward where one of my roles will be to prevent any fights. The men don't know me so they're not sure of me and I don't know them. Some of them reach out and touch me and others lift their fists! Its not their fault that I'm scared of them but I am. I rely on talking and we can't talk about it. Somehow I get through the shift without running away or getting hit. (I want to say its not these men's faults I'm scared of them - its just I can't read them - don't know what they need.) I spend the last hour of my shift playing football ( in the loosest sense - I mean kicking a football to and fro) in the rain in the garden with one chap. Others get jealous and start to compete for the ball. It shows how deep jealousy and rivalry goes. I feel better because I've got something to do and something to concentrate on and I think its the same for the guy I'm playing football with...

So I'm asking myself - why did I leave my job? - which was driving me crazy but I knew - to move out into this uncertainty where there's no guarantee of work, I don't have control over where I go, I can't have sick pay, don't get annual leave. (And now because of the change of government there are no jobs.)

Then today I go and do Largo Law Hill Race and I remember why I was so sure I wanted to leave. I wanted to be free to race at the weekends whenever I wanted. I wanted to stop missing out on the stuff I really like! And then I felt good about my decision again. It'll work out somehow...

Peter has been raving about Largo Law Hill Race since he 1st did it in 2007. I thought I wouldn't do it because my left knee's been a wee bit dodgy since the Twisted Chicken Run on the last day of the Tour of Fife. I went for a run round Arthur's Seat yesterday though and my knee wasn't too bad so I changed my mind and opted for doing it too. Just as long as we had a nice long warm up...

We didn't have a nice long warm up because we both slept in really late. Late enough so getting to a race for 3pm made us hurry! We had 10 minutes to spare by the time we were registered and ready to run so I warmed up by running up the steep hill from the Crusoe Hotel to the start.

The race.  Great fun! Up a short, steep bit of road and then left onto a path that takes you to the 1st stream crossing - then up and undulating through the muddy path in the woods to the 2nd stream crossing - then climbing a bit more, through fields, through a farmyard, and up to the foot of Largo Law proper. Stiff climb with hands on knees. It was very humid and the sweat was lashing off all us competitors. I was feeling fine though and I was enjoying it. It was such a relief to straighten out my back at the first summit and then it was only another short climb to the second summit. Round the cairn at the top and for a split second beautiful views of the Forth and the fields spread out below.

I had passed Jennifer Cruickshanks near the top of the hill and she passed me again shortly after. Being an Anster Haddie I reckoned she probably knew the best way down the hill so followed her as best I could. This is not my forte. What's the opposite of forte? Piano! But that doesn't make any sense. Bit crap at the downhills is what I'm trying to say - but I kept her in sight and tried to follow her line. Not too many people overtook me so I was happy with that and mercifully soon we were off the hill again. I was very aware of a female in a white t-shirt very close behind me and I'd kind of set my heart on keeping her behind me, so I kept the pressure up as best I could. At a corner someone gave Jennifer a bottle of water - which she then offered to me - I had to catch up to her to get it - and apologised - but it was very welcome, it was mighty hot out there. The woman behind me said "Can I have it next?" so I gave it to her and then tried to move off as fast as I could. "Do you want it back?" she said. "No thanks" I must have mumbled as she then said, "DO YOU WANT IT BACK?" "NO THANKS!" I responded and tried to lift the pace again. It was only after this it occurred to me that JC might not have been giving me the water for keeps. Aaaah. Nothing I could do now anyway. We all pressed on, me behind JC, other lady behind me - then Jennifer moved past a man in a yellow vest and I did too and there was a little distance between us and her behind.

Jennifer was setting a good pace that was hard but was helping me get my breathing back under control as I'd got myself a bit steamed up trying to escape the lady in white. I stayed with her for quite a while and then on the ups she had to slow to a walk for a chap in yellow walking up the muddy bank. (We were now back under the trees.) There was a small gap so I ran through saying "Come on Jennifer" - she had watered me and paced me and I didn't have any intention now of trying to beat her, then I think she was just behind me for a while. I had a few near misses on the sloping muddy path at the side of the river and let out a rather high-pitched shriek just before the 4th and last stream crossing. There was no-one close behind so I legged it as best I could and the path back to the road and then the road all seemed shorter than I'd anticipated. I belted down the road in an undignified way with my belly showing as my vest kept riding up but I was beyond caring. Then, the best bottle of water ever!

Had a chat with Paul Eunson who was there and had already finished for a while and soon Peter came back from taking photos and we set off down the road to claim our free pints at the Crusoe Hotel. (Part of the package - a pint of Tennents or of Belhaven Best in return for your race number). I sadly had to go for soda and lime as I was driving but Peter was straight in there! and then in for another.

We were enjoying the lovely sunny weather and already in great form and then at the prize-giving I got the 1st FV40 prize as 2nd and 3rd ladies were also vets. I love it when they work things out that way! So for my £5 entry fee I got (and I know, its not all about getting, but its nice when it happens!) a race, a pint of beer, a bottle of water, a bottle of rose wine and a big box of chocolates.

Nice to see so many familiar faces of Fifers and hill runners.

Highly recommended 6.8 miles!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Long Run

With the end of the Tour of Fife I'm back to thinking about the Moray Marathon. We missed last week's long run due to the TOF so I needed to knock one out today. I chose the flattest, fastest route I know, - down the coast past the Pans and back, hoping to average about 9 minute miles. There was a light easterly wind blowing in my face on the way out so I knew I'd get some help on the way back when I needed it.

Meanwhile somewhere down the coast in North Berwick or Dunbar a new batch of green fly had just hatched and decided to fly up the Forth. I kept feeling little pats on the skin of my face and I thought it was maybe rain or petals or something. Upon investigation my face and running vest were covered in these tiny little green flies. A few got in my mouth...

I kept my music on the whole way, not something I do that often, but I was enjoying it today. After a week of being social it was good to withdraw into my shell and let my mind wander with the music bashing away in the background.

At Portobello I was  glad to see they're carrying on the tradition of bizarre art, with a collection of puggies scattered around looking out of place on the sand. It would be good to see with the tide in. Its a shame they can't be plugged in so they light up under water. I didn't like them as much as the sand pyramids last year but they were pretty good.

A bit further along the prom I saw Johnny Lawson (or "John Laws" as I see he's called in the Turnhouse results) who ran a stormer at Dollar Hill Race on Saturday. As Dollar was a counter for the British Fellrunning Championships this year he was amongst fierce competition but still did well.

I got through the Pans without incident, - always a relief, and turned around at the 10 mile point at Seton Sands.

And so the wind blew me home. On the way home I bumped into Ian Brodie, who was  out on his bike - and stopped and had a chat for a wee while - and then later on passed Alex Oliver who should have been doing the tour too because he loves short races and plenty of them. I had a bit of a race with myself to get to the door inside 3hrs but missed it by a minute. 3hrs 01min for 20.01 miles. I think it was 9.03 pace. Not far off...

Oh well, my turn to make the tea...