Saturday, 28 December 2013

Aberlady 10

After having tired legs on the last couple of runs I had thought I would do a little recovery run today. However, it was a beautiful looking morning - if cold - and I decided to go and do 10 round the beach. One achilles and one shin has been complaining a bit, and I think the cold makes them worse, so I dug out my long socks, much to Peter's horror.

I'm pretty sure I look good in them, but he doesn't seem to think so.

I wasn't in the mood for chitter-chatter so Peter took off and took photos for the whole run, leaving me to get on with it. Thankfully I was feeling much better than the last couple of runs - only toiling a bit in the last three or so miles.

A quick trip to Tescos. No Hibs game. I have been doing university work ever since - well until tea-time when I found myself watching Dad's Army on the telly. Such subtle comedy full of fine nuance.

My yoga injury (sore back and neck) is doubling up as a typing injury. When my head fills with ideas and my fingers go stabbing at the keyboard I forget all about posture. I feel like someone's taking a paint-scraper up under my right shoulder blade.

Is it just me (and all the other old ladies) or do all these aches and pains really proliferate when there's a cold wind about? I'm off to bed.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Day Run

The sun was out. There wasn't much wind. I thought I'd make up for the fact I'd ducked out of going to the Pentlands by doing a bit of steepness up at Arthur's Seat. The minute I started up the back of the crags I was glad I hadn't gone near the Pentlands. I don't know why but my uphilling muscles were shot. I can't think what I've been doing with them to make this so, but so it was. Maybe it's the sudden, radical weight gain of Christmas. I struggled not to let this and the fact there were too many people around put me in a filthy mood. It is Christmas after all. Climbing up the big steps up the front of Arthur's Seat was more fun because there was almost nobody around. Then a family appeared, the spirit of Christmas. There was a woman, forging ahead and complaining about something, a man, more passive and silent, and some poor forsaken child called Henry who was struggling up behind them, not enjoying himself. "Come on Henry!" commanded his mother, out ahead, elbows out. Jesus.
Instead of going up the gradual path I diverted to avoid this tight little family group, which involved some slightly hairy scrambling up greasy, polished rock. The burst of adrenaline this produced was just what I needed to get me up to the top of the seat on tired legs.

The top of the seat was bristling with people. I knew it would be. The rock is incredibly polished up there with the constant through traffic.

I headed down to whinny hill which just had the odd dog-walker. That and an all female family who looked at me and said "Well done" and started clapping. I looked at them narrowly to see if this was sarcasm - and then checked to see if I was missing a limb or if there was some other reason for this rather effusive congratulations. There's nowt as queer as folk.

Anyway. My legs were dragging by now. Thank God it's work tomorrow and I don't have to run. That was hellish. Nice day though.

Christmas Run

We thought we'd use Christmas Morning to hook up with Michael G and go a run round the beach. It was freezing and the wind was really strong. At Aberlady there were other runners - I should know who they are but I don't - they knew lots of people I know. I stood drinking the coffee I'd hidden in the undergrowth and eating some broken short-cake and trying not to eat Michael's chocolate orange as I waited on Peter and Michael arriving from the direction of the dunes.

I had been much slower than usual from North Berwick to Aberlady and was hoping this would leave me nice and fresh for the run back down the beach with the wind behind. 'Fresh' wasn't the word though. Some days you just don't have it.

It's probably a year since I last ran with Michael so the contrast was great. Things had changed for both of us.

He was heading down towards the Borders later on. We were heading down to Peter's brother's house. We were way late and they had, sensibly, already started eating when we arrived at about 20 past four.
You know the rest - food - and more drink by far than I would usually drink these days. Not much by anyone else's standards. The women were talking about wedding planning and the boys were watching base jumping and men in wing suits on the telly. Somehow I was more at home with the men. I tried to understand the attraction of the ring, but it couldn't do magic - it cost how much? No, I really didn't get it. I didn't have a hankering to have a go in a wing-suit either, although I can see the attraction.

Part of the fun for me of being at Peter's brother's house is observing the spooky similarities between Peter and his brother Neil. I brought up the subject of picture frames, which we had touched on before. Peter will buy any amount of picture frames and if we go near IKEA he comes back with armfuls. But then they go in drawers. They're not for anything. I mentioned this to Sue, Neil's wife, and she offered to show me Neil's cupboard full of picture frames. I wanted to get at just what in the hell it means to want picture frames.
"Well, it's just the POTENTIAL" explained Neil, looking at Peter, who seemed to know what he was talking about. I didn't get anywhere. Neither of them are interested in analysing themselves. They just want picture frames full of potential.

I asked Neil if he collected bits of wood. His eyes took on a dreamy quality but he didn't answer. I wondered if he had a wood stash somewhere that Sue didn't know about.
At the end of the night we went to collect our coats and spoke to the rabbit for a little while. I wished I'd remembered her and come to see her earlier. She's sat the whole night in her cage with her huge eyes in the back room with the coats.

Today Peter's away on Graham Henry's infamous boxing day run in the Pentlands. I was considering going until  yesterday's run, when I thought better of it. It looks like a nice day though. I'm off to do something more modest.
Tomorrow I'll be back at work.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Long Shadows at Noon

Tribute to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground just outside of Dirleton

oops, zoom out again before your Selfie!

I've got another yoga injury.
Last week I suddenly became able to do a crab and a headstand with my hands behind my neck. With the sheer delight of doing new things - one of which I'd not done for probably 40 years (the crab) , and the other of which I had never done - I think I overdid it. Now my right shoulder and arm are sore as feck. Especially if I stretch my arm out. So taking photos was kind of painful today.

Poor old PB had to work so I didn't say much about what I was up to. What I was up to could be categorised as 'the usual' - up to beat the weather, out for a 17 miler round the beach. Because I was PBless I was leaving the house just after 8.

I think it's the shortest day and there was very little light about. It was warmer than I thought it was going to be though. I set off into the wind. The usual trade off - so I could sail back along the beach.
My grouchy shoulder wasn't all that chuffed with carrying a rucksack or with too much bumping around. I'd taken a couple of ibuprofen but I could still feel it. It was a pain reminiscent of when I cracked my ribs earlier in the year. I couldn't quite breathe right in or I got a big spasm. So I had to take it easy today. No thrashing around.

There were a few squalls and rainy spells chasing me down the beach. Then, right about noon, the sun came out and everything lit up. The contrast was amazing. I totally failed to take a photo of the woman galloping her big Clydesdale horse along the beach at Gullane.
Even though it was round about noon the shadows were long. So that's why it's darker in winter (duh!) - the sun just can't get very high. I know how it feels. Still it was a nice day. I was in a good mood and had a sing-along-a-Bjork on the way home in the car. Until I got to Tesco's car park, that is, and saw there were millions of cars and green and white-hatted buffoons making their way to Easter Road. Not AGAIN FFS!

Fate wasn't smiling on me quite so kindly today as last time and so I had to drive half way down Pilrig Street to get parked and walk back with my 'freezer goods' melting and the shopping hurting my sore shoulder.

Better stretch and all that I guess.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Baby Machine

We are as proud as (I assume) parents whose first born has been potty-trained for the first time. We keep going through to check on the machine. "It's still dry" Hallelujah. Peter, Google and I fixed it, at a cost of £10.90.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

High Winds and High Spirits, A Bogus Shell and A Fixed Washing Machine?

We were quite impressed with the size of this shell until we noticed it had a hole drilled at the top of it - and it was very light, almost as if it was made out of plastic! Bizarre. Wonder where it came from.

The wind was forecast to b-l-o-w, particularly later on, so reluctantly the team agreed that they would be out the house by 8.30 to catch the bp of day. But it is winter and the prolonged dark is making it harder to get up. I was up in time but didn't feel like waking up Peter. I was mooching about in a mood about the washing machine. I had been googling stuff about it and it didn't all seem that hard...even if I could find the right replacement part I could order it and we would be making some kind of progress. So I tried googling parts but they're obviously not making our model of washing machine anymore, so a visual check seemed essential. So I started pulling the machine out the cupboard wondering how on earth you get inside it.
The internet is so invaluable. I couldn't see anyway to get into it so I googled THAT and there were some handy tips. The screws were hidden under some plastic bits you just prize out. Once the top came off I could see where the filters go. It all looked a bit much and I backed off.

I got Peter a cup of tea.

To my surprise he got interested in the process I had started. We couldn't really be sure the parts we were looking at were the same as the ones we could see on the net so we decided to take some photos and take them to the spare parts Hoover and Washing machine shop down the road. An invaluable shop if ever there was one. This meant waiting until 10am but this was no hardship as it was already after 9.30. It's amazing how the time goes when you start to tinker.

The guy down the road was pretty positive, describing the part as "bog standard". We bought it. Then we attended to our running needs. In the Coop, perhaps shamefully, we bought two pastries each. It just looked like it was going to be a tough run. It was already blowing a hoolie, there was rain on the wind, the sky was dark, it was daunting.

We hid coffee in the long grass at Aberlady and went to North Berwick to start out. We have a thing going now where I take the road to Aberlady into the wind, but Peter prefers the beach, so we race to the 'mid-way' point. I have 6 and a half miles to run and he has more like 9 so he doesn't stand a chance. However it's fun to race.
I got there well ahead of him and ATE  both my pastries, perhaps shamefully. After the custardy thing I felt pretty good but I thought I'd have JUST THE EDGE of the pain au chocolat but then accidentally wolfed the whole thing, and had half a bottle of juice and all of my flask of coffee, which is probably about a mug and a half. Surprisingly, I was fine to run after this, even though I felt rather packed full. Getting the wind at my back was an enormous buzz. There were 50mph gusts forecast and it felt like at least that. Running along the beach I was running at 7m10s pace which is the stuff of dreams these days. It was easy peasy. I felt high as a kite. Probably all the coffee was a factor.

I knackered myself out running as fast as I could with the wind behind but it was tremendous fun. We arrived in North Berwick very wind-swept and interesting. I'd run 16.4 miles and Peter had run nearer 19.

I forgot to mention that as we came back down onto the beach from the Archerfield path we saw first a golf cart full of police (strange!) and then I heard 'there's Mary' and there was our fellow Porty Alan Aitchison in his police uniform, along with a few other police striding along the beach. He said there's been an incident. We reckon it must have been a body. Seeing the police on the beach like that, with yellow rain-slickers over their uniforms put me in mind of the Wicker Man. The fragility of law and order contrasted with the wild, power of nature. Haha I have had too much coffee.
Peter has photos. I think it would make a great painting, reminiscent of a Jack Vettriano...

Anyway. We did a Tesco Shop in our running kit and then came home and tackled the washing machine right away. And it is now on. And it has been alright so far....It has been hard to type with all my fingers crossed.

Peter has better photos than me so I thought I'd scoop him by publishing first.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Rosy Fingered Dawn and other stories

Nice dawn this morning.

As I've signed up for the New Year's Day promathon I thought I better do a bit of speed training. On Monday I went out an 8 mile run all set to run 3 minutes hard 2 minutes easy - I suppose for the duration of the run - that's what I used to do. However, I was running into a headwind and after 5 sets of 3 minutes hard I thought I'd run the rest of the run just any old how. It was only afterwards I realised that this was a grand total of 15 minutes speed training...however, you have to start somewhere.

On Sunday night our washing machine went a bit odd. Peter gave out a loud yell - and when I arrived at the washing machine cupboard he was expressing his consternation that when he opened the door of the machine to get out his finished wash, a tide of water also came out. Neither of us could figure out how this could be a thing. I figured out how to get the machine to drain and spin. Peter's clothes were rescued. We went off to bed haunted by the specter of Christmas Fu**ed. The unexpected purchase of a new washing machine had just not been on our agenda. The drama was not over however...

In the morning the next day Peter gave out a further yell. When I arrived at the washing machine it was to see it had continued to fill itself over-night despite being off. So several hours of drips of water had trickled down to our neighbour's downstairs. More swearing, wailing, lamentations. What was the damage going to be? And how could this even be? I went and had a google and I think that there's a valve in the back of the machine that the hoses go into called a solenoid valve that stops the machine from just filling itself. Who knew? So now we're trying to get a hold of a man to fix it! Christmas is a great time for getting tradesmen.

Meantime, we tentatively approached our poor neighbour to explain what had happened and offer to try and make it right. Now, not only did he say that there was no real harm done, but did we need to use his washing machine for a few days as ours was clearly not right? What a man.

This morning I've been out for a 10 miler round the seat. Haven't done this run for a while so I enjoyed it. It was warm and sunny and I was going not too badly.

Now to add today's running outfit to the growing mound of fragrant kit and go and have a shower.