Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Another Wednesday 10 miler round Arthur's Seat

You'll have got the gist of this from the title. Another Wednesday. Wednesday I have stuff to do in the afternoon but my morning is beautifully free. Shhh, please don't tell anyone. I want to keep it that way.

So once more I got up and thought I might as well do the round the Arthur's Seat 10 miler. Maybe I should be varying it more but for now this is a habit I like.

Outside the air was a good few degrees cooler than it has been, which felt great. The sun was too bright and my little mole eyes hurt but I don't like wearing sunglasses particularly and anyway, they were locked in the car and I couldn't be bothered to get them out.

Early on I realised that I was in no mood to push it. It is undoubtedly getting easier, but I seem to have got out of the habit of thrashing myself whenever I go out. Climbing up the hill I didn't push too hard and then running down the Innocent Railway cycle path - which is an opportunity to pick up the pace if you want, I was more taken with the dappled shadows the leaves were making on the path.

I wonder if I have gone non-competitive. It might be the yoga. I might have altered my karma!

Did I mention that I've been really enjoying doing Ashtanga yoga? It's a beginner's class so we take it easy, and I am no natural. None the less, after every class I have felt superb.

So anyway, I didn't push it today and was pleased to see afterwards it was my 2nd fastest effort post-op.
I say "didn't push it". I was running with rivers of sweat when I got in. It's still hot for Scotland though.

Monday, 22 July 2013

A sneaky start to the week!

Actually it was a nice start to the week. Just as everyone was going back into work I snuck up to do 10 miles in the misty Pentlands. The sun had gone into hiding and the cloud cover was low. The air was damp. It was a relief. I can only take so much scorching.

Last time I did this run it took me 1 hour and 1 minute to get up to the top of Scald Law. I remembered that as I was in striking distance and I had a handful of minutes to go so I nearly killed myself getting there in 59m 31s. Here I saw the only other person of the day. He emerged out the mist from the other side of the Law. I could barely acknowledge him I was breathing so hard.

That was the only trying hard of the day. The rest was just going along steady. It was nice and quiet, not much wind. The heather and the damp peaty earth smelled fantastic.

I was relatively fresh today because while Peter was out getting beasted by Graham Henry yesterday, I ran to Tesco's and back ( 2.71 miles) to get new photos for my driving licence. It was a fool's errand. These new rules about getting all your hair off your face and not smiling for official photos aren't making things any better. The photo on my passport looks like Hitler. I've got kind of a stern face when I don't smile. The ones I got at Tesco's weren't any better so I've renewed on-line. They'll use my passport photo. Hitler it is.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

East Linton to Dunbar (and back)

I think it's fair to say we weren't really in tune about how our Saturday run should be. Peter is running every day. I'm managing 3 days a week. He doesn't like getting up in the morning - I've lost the ability to sleep beyond 6.30am. He looked at the weather forecast and saw some big fat suns forecast for the afternoon. Apparently that's good for photography! By the afternoon I've lost the will to live - and the last thing I need to help me run is a big fat sun. I put my foot down. We'd be leaving at 9am.

Both of us wanted a longer run. First of all I suggested a repeat of the loop from North Berwick that we did a couple of weeks ago - but then remembered about the Open. Best to stay as far away from all that as possible. We settled on the stretch of the John Muir Way that goes from East Linton to Dunbar and back. From East Linton it's pretty much 8 miles to Dunbar harbour, so a round trip of 16 miles.

I say settled on, but what I mean is Peter wanted to do some cock-a-mamy route that he's run with Ben which means fording a river, dodging farmers, climbing cliffs, out-running farm dogs and bulls and getting lost in  some woods. NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!

"So you're just going to be a bloody dictator then?"
Sometimes it is hard to be a bloody dictator.

So by 9.30 (the troops lack discipline) we were leaving the house. It was nice to have a bit of cloud cover and feel a bit of a breeze.

To my surprise and pleasure I felt pretty good right from the get-go. All this sun has made the crops flourish and we were running through the most amazing landscape of bountiful growth. There were flowers and grasses and butterflies everywhere. Peter was going daft with his camera. Which gave me the freedom to run on.

By Dunbar we were pretty warm and starting to get hungry. We were  tempted by some catering wagons at the harbour advertising coffee and fresh do-nuts. Lucky for us the donuts were not ready yet. We both had a cup of coffee - a horrible thin, grey tepid coffee.

On the way back to East Linton we had the wind behind us which made it warmer but was also helpful. 16 miles was surprisingly manageable. I tried to push the pace for the last 3 miles which made me very hot although there wasn't much discernible increase in speed. I think it's a leg strength thing and will surely come.

At East Linton we bought some frozen fruit out the freezer in the coop and ate it with yoghurt and honey. This is a great way of re-fuelling and cooling down simultaneously. I think I overdid it a wee bit as 450g of Frozen Summer Fruits disappeared inside me. I felt a bit strange afterwards for a while.

So another week of 3 runs in a week, but managing 36 miles. I feel I would be better to run 4 times and do a couple of shorter runs but I've been struggling to find the time.

Today I'm going to do some kind of easy, easy recovery run - Peter is going off to run with Graham H and Melanie H which takes the pressure off me!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Horse with No Name

I don't have any photographs to show you so here is another opportunity to experience one of the best songs for listening to on a hot day ever. I don't actually know what it's about and have never stopped to think about it. I guess I don't want to spoil it. All I know is that when I'm running round Arthur's Seat on a Wednesday morning, sweating profusely and feeling stripped of all pretence by the relentless hot sunshine, I AM  a horse with no name and it does feel good to be out of the rain. (End of.) 

No pre-op or post-op pbs today, in fact, I was quite a bit slower than last Wednesday. My legs were tired, I had some nasty warning pains in my left hip and my right shin and ankle. It might be all this yoga messing around with my alignment...On top of this I think I have hay fever. I don't usually get it, but ever since the weekend I've had a hot dry nose and a scratchy throat. We were near a place where children were kept so it's possible it's a cold. I hadn't really been sleeping well anyway, the combination of my own hot and feverish brain, the hot nights, the piercing screech of the gulls at dawn, Buchanan snoring...if we open the windows it lets Leith in...if we close them we bake. On top of that now add in a stuffy nose. Night time is a trial. At 3am I'm thinking - only 4 hours, you can get up in 4 hours.

So it wasn't that fast but it wasn't bad either. Hurrah.

I better get on and do other things.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Hot Motor Madness

While my "other half" appears to have gone feral and has been running around semi-naked in the long grasses in an ecstasy of love for all the little live things*, I have spent a hot week trying to shore up the mental health of the nation. It has not been an easy task and I don't know if I've done that great a job.

I don't usually work on a Monday anymore but I swapped around my shifts to help cover for all the people that are off on holiday. Nearly everyone I saw that had been doing a bit better towards the end of the week seemed quite a lot worse after a hot weekend. Maybe something was going around. I heard a few people had Murray Fever. My participation in Murray Fever was forgetting that the match was on and so the first I knew about it Andy Murray had already won Wimbledon. It was much easier on the nerves than actually caring about the game.

One of the major challenges of the week has been driving around in a hot Corsa (no, not stolen). On Tuesday afternoon I had to cross town several times to get where I needed to go. I had both windows all the way down and the fan on at full. It was blowing hot desert air past my parched face. People were crossing the road without even bothering to look in some sun-induced trance of their own so I had to keep my wits about me.

Meanwhile, in running news, yesterday I managed to run my Arthur's Seat hilly 10 miler quicker than I did 2 days before my operation. It was a minor triumph. Maybe more can be attempted now. Maybe it's time for some speed training again? My delight was a little bit tempered by some silly numbers on my HRM that I never noticed when I was actually running. Hurry slowly as the sherpas (are supposed to) say.

Today's trepidation is that I'm taking the car for its MOT. I'm praying for only a few minor faults...I had hoped to clean the seagull shit and the hard-baked dust and cobwebs off the car before I put it in - to give some thin veneer of respectability, but I have had no luck with the car washes around town. The one at Seafield is broken and the one in Morningside is not working properly so taller vehicles can't use it. I saw another one out near the Pentlands the other day but I didn't have any money. Living three flights up, thinking about it now, I could have put in some serious hill training carrying buckets of water up and down the stairs and cleaning the car myself in the street. I'm actually quite glad I didn't think of that...

*This could be in part due to his daily imbibing of some strange substance that appeared in the house one day. King Billy's Orange Marching Wine.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Warm weekend.


We did 17 miles in the boiling heat at the beach yesterday with Amanda coming most of the way and then catching up with Ben and Alison for an extended lunch afterwards.

Today we headed for the hills. Unlike last Sunday it was a warm gentle day. To my delight we ran into Douglas and Richard from club about a mile into the run, half way up Beech Avenue. That put me in a good mood for the rest of the run. We ran past quite a few grumpy looking hill walkers. I think the heat was getting to them.

Running up hill was hard as usual and big drips of sweat and sunscreen were dropping off my head. It went by pretty quickly though and soon we were on the long downhill from Scald Law, down the side of East Kip down to the Howe and then it's NEARLY flat and downhill to finish.

On the uphills I was thinking about Angela Mudge and her advice not to think about how hard it is.  On the way down I was thinking about Morgan Donnelly and his advice about how to tackle it. I've embedded a video with his advice on hill running above. It's worth a watch.

Back at the van we ate a punnet of cherries and some bananas and all was right with the world.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Purple Rain

I'm loving the summer and the running is going quite well but I haven't felt inspired to say much about it. Most days out are a post-op pb; not because I'm looking for it but because it's coming to me. Yesterday's run in the Pentlands was a run too far though and I remembered just how bad it can feel. I've got a kind of a sore throat thing on the go just now but I went up the hills anyway. I've done a hilly run most weekends for the last few so I didn't want to break the trend. I felt crap though, weak as a kitten? (but anyone who's really had a square go with a kitten knows they can be quite feisty), weak as a baby? I don't know. The wind was blowing rain straight into my ear on the side of my face where my throat was sore and by the time we got home all my teeth were hurting too. I had a shower and some paracetamol and went to bed and woke up feeling a bit better.

I spent last weekend braced against the irrational fear that just because it was exactly a year since the atrial fibrillation started it would come back. It didn't, thank goodness, although I do get the odd loud banging heart-beats. So balanced up against the pleasure that my running seems to be getting better again is the fear that it will all get taken back off me. I think that's why I'm scared to say anything about it.

No races planned. Half a notion that if things continue to get better I might get myself in shape for the Pentland Skyline. This is a loosely held notion though. I have acres of time and hopefully the Skyline will remain "entry on the day".

In other news, Peter, despite his yogic posturing on his blog, has opted out of further yoga classes for now. I've signed up for a series of Ashtanga Yoga classes to get me through the summer. I think Ashtanga Yoga is the one that Madonna got into. (not that that's a plus). Also, I think they've changed the dye in Tesco's beetroot because I've been eating a lot of it and it has been turning my pee purple! TMI. I know.