Sunday, 24 August 2014

Sunday Cycle

I went out a cycle on my new bike today to save my funny knee. I didn't do a very good job of documenting the journey though! At first it was great to be out on the bike and I wondered why anyone ever bothers running. I was going the main drag to North Berwick though and by the time I'd got to Gullane I was kind of bored. I know that stretch of road very well and it's not that scenic. So I turned around and went up the back roads that take you up towards Haddington and then right along to Longniddry. I paused to take a photo or two of a harvest field, just behind Aberlady.

Ever since I became a car driver I've felt more nervous about cycling on the roads. I think now I am just more aware of how invisible cyclists really are. When you are cycling along you feel like you're pretty obvious. That was kind of putting me off taking to the windy back roads. The minute I got onto the back roads though it was far more interesting cycling. I need to figure out some new routes to do.

It wasn't a big cycle at all. 24 miles altogether I think and then I got the train home and had a big nap on the couch. I had this fabulous dream in which I had to lower myself down from thin rusty iron frames but my arms were really strong so it was easy and woke up in a good mood.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Saturday Run

The damn met office is doing it on purpose, I'm sure of it. They said all the sun would be earlier, so I got up, even though I was tired, to be sure I wouldn't miss it. It was hard to get going and out the house. It has been a good week but a tiring one. I took my camera too, in case there were any delights.

I needn't have bothered. It was grey and dowdy and a bit wet. And running down the slope onto the prom my right knee started to play up. I had to stop and stretch before I got going again - and then it went again on the prom...again I had to stop and stretch.

It was meant to be a west wind but as usual the wind was blowing in my face in both directions. I don't know how this works or who's behind it. Probably the met office too.

On the way back I climbed up some steps and set off my knee again.

Just now I've got an ice-pack on it, wrapped in a dunbar rc buff, held on with a knee support. It isn't that bad but I just plain don't want it.

And it's futile to wish I'd just stayed in bed instead. So to cheer myself up I've changed everything on camerabag.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Rad Road Reps

Rolls off the tongue doesn't it? Rad road reps. What led me to such a thing?

Well my friend Amanda had suggested a hill run or two as she's in training for the Pentland Skyline,  which led to the realisation that I had not taken my mudclaws out of the muddy plastic bag I stuffed them in the day of the Carnethy 5 Hill race. Had running an all time personal worst by some stretch led to me giving up the hills? Well not consciously. I never thought "to hell with the damn hills". And yet I had never been back. Imagine that, a whole summer without going near the Pentlands.

Anyway, I made my excuses with Amanda. I haven't been near a hill and I've got a damn half marathon to run and if I suddenly go tearing up the hills I'll hurt my achilles, I always do... ...but she had planted a seed. Then last night I got an email from the organiser of the Barry Buddon half (I don't think it was just to me, but you never know) saying that if I wanted to pull out I could do so in the next 48 hours and get a full refund to give people on the waiting list a chance to run. Well I've regretted entering the BB almost since the moment I did enter it. I had some notion it would be fun and then I came to my senses. So this was too good an opportunity to miss. I pulled out. Phew! I really didn't want to run it, wasn't looking forwards to any aspect of it. I wasn't looking forwards to an hour and a half on a coach beforehand, feeling cold, tired, scared and inevitably needing a pee. I wasn't looking forwards to having a slow run and then being sore afterwards for ages. But the one thing I had liked about it was the focus it had been giving my training.

So today when I thought about what I was going to do running-wise, I was at a bit of a loss. Maybe I should put on my mudclaws and go up the Seat? I thought to myself, and that seemed as good an option as any.

I took it easy, it really is the first time I've done off-roady uphill in a long time. The sun was out but there's an autumnal coolness around and I found this helpful. I went up round the back of the crags to start with and was stopped at the top of the crags by a - possibly dutch or german - man who wanted me to take his photograph. I was more than happy to, and took some of the views around while I was there for myself. Then I went up to the top where there was only a modest number of people scattered around. Most unusual for the summer in Edinburgh. The cold wind must be putting people off. I was finding the ascending not wonderful but not terrible either. I went a run down over whinny hill, which is always a buzz as it's undulating so the short hills repay you quite quickly with descents. The run down the far side of Whinny Hill to the road is likewise quick and fun. I carried on running round the road thinking my legs were good and tired and I'd done enough hilliness for one day but then as I was approaching the radical road on the way home, I somehow thought I should do some hill reps. I settled on a pyramid session, plucked out the air and entirely random, of 50, 75,100, 75 and then 50 strides with a recovery on the descent. This was just a bit hellish to start with until I got into it. It meant running up past the same walkers more than once, which is always quite good.

So I'm not thinking about doing the Skyline - not for a moment! But maybe more hills would be nice. Especially as it's getting to be autumn which is a good time for hill running...

The sun was out but it was a bit cloudy and grey today so I've "camera-bagged" my photos beyond all recognition. I call the effect I've created "1970s holiday in Italy".

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Windy Recovery Run

This wasn't today but I liked the eerie light creeping up Arthur's Seat

We were out eating curry last night and I was up way later than I usually am. This morning I was tired and I smelled of curry. I am in the habit on Sundays now of going a recovery run (I ran 13 "half marathon training miles" yesterday.) and then doing some study kind of stuff. It is slowly sinking in that I don't have to do study kind of stuff any more, so as the sun had actually come out and it was brightish I thought I'd spoil myself (and the planet), fire up the internal combustion engine and take to the coast...

It was blustery out there, but good for blowing away curry cobwebs (I'm not sure what those are either).

What do you do when you have more time than you are used to? Well apparently you slow down, take longer to do things than you normally would, put the water heater on for the dishes and then forget about it until the water temperature is what Peter calls "F*cking Nuclear!!!" Sit about in your shorts tweaking photos for hours and don't quite get round to doing some filing and stuff you've been putting off. Nice though.

Sunday, 10 August 2014


Whose house is this? DMG Wank apparently!

"So how is that dissertation of yours coming along?" I hear you ask, but I can see your eyes flick away into the distance, because you are already thinking about something else.
Well as a matter of fact I finished it and handed it in last Monday! So there you go. I just didn't tell anyone in case they wanted something. I've been busy anyway.

I took the week off work in case I had any last minute dissertation shenanigans, but I didn't. But I still have other work on a Wednesday, and then I signed up for two bank shifts with the Home Intensive Treatment Team, so I hardly  noticed I was off work because I was at work. My mistake really. I discovered that I could have done with a holiday. My brain was exceptionally floppy.

But I got a new bike off the Cyclescheme - I don't know quite how it works but some of the cost comes out of your tax contributions. I didn't get anything fancy, a Specialized Vita hybrid bike on the roady end of the spectrum. One completely unexpected thing it has is genius hand grips that have rubber rests that cushion your wrists exactly where all the vibrations normally come through. My mountainbike is in acute need of some help, I think a new chainset is probably what it needs, and it makes a noise like tap-dancing all the time now...but I haven't been able to get it sorted because I need it too much to put it in to the bike shop to get fixed. So now, next month probably, I can get that one fixed up too....It's an amazing feeling cycling a bike with lovely smooth new functioning components...

The weather forecast for this morning was BAD but I needed to knock out an out-sized run before the bloody Barry Buddon (it's not swearing, it's alliteration) half marathon. The forecast was SO  bad that I was actually looking forwards to the weather. People in England had been going on about high winds and even the forecasts up here were saying that a deluge of biblical proportions was on its way. It wasn't that bad when I got up, but I thought it would blow in from the east, and I wanted a camera along in case anything spectacular was going to happen. I was too scared to take my good camera in case the rain killed it, so I took one of our redundant cameras. It was a shock to see that the camera I was taking had a spare memory card in its case of 256mb. How things have changed. The camera I had was the one of the ones we took to Nepal and the Himalayas, and we thought it was pretty good. Now it just seems like a toy.

Anyway. The weather wasn't that bad. It was just a bit grey and there were a few spots of rain. There was hardly any wind, but what wind there was was blowing in both directions. That always seems to happen at the coast. I ran round the lagoons and was going to run on just a little bit so I would do a nice round 16 today...but by the time I got to the far side of the lagoons I wasn't that keen on extra mileage, so I shaved it a bit. My legs were surprisingly good considering I ran 12 on Friday. By "good" I mean they weren't really really sore until the last 3 miles or so. I was mighty glad to meet Aileen Ross on the prom. She was just heading out for a tentative run after some time out with a calf injury. Stopping and having a chat on a long run is fair enough I think these days. It's all time on feet.

The last few miles were a bit rubbish. I overtook someone who was going slowly, so that was good. Just as I arrived home the proper rain started, and now it is tilting down for the tour of Fifers and all the people in the festival. In the last mile I realised I hadn't taken a selfie at all. Ever since selfies became something that the Guardian thinks is indicative of the narcissism of the times - and proves we're all doomed because we're not taking life seriously enough, I have felt it is almost a duty to take a selfie every time I go out. I thought I might do a double whammy and actually do a plank selfie, because planking has been frowned upon for some time. I was going to do it in the park on a bench, but when I got there the park was full of Neds, so I forgot about it and ran home. Next time I go out it's a plankie. I haven't worked out the technicalities of it yet.
Bet you can't wait.

Anyway, that's all my uni work done. I won't get a final mark until October so there's no point even thinking about it. 4 years. It has been a long road...

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Recovery on the beach

The sun was back again today. Thank goodness. Buchanan was away to the hills and I was intending to do the least intense of a tiny recovery run, and then maybe tidy a drawer. That didn't seem very exciting though so I went to the beach instead. It was still  a very lazy, easy run but much more interesting. There were a lot of big clouds boiling up in the sky but it was warm.

Along the way I passed some tiny villages, but there was no sign of their diminutive inhabitants.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Beat the rain humdrum grey run

The weather forecast was saying rain rain rain. Especially from 9am onwards. I thought I would get out early and run the half marathon distance. I've signed up for the darn Barry Buddon half marathon at the end of the month and I am not feeling very runny. Especially fast, flat road runny. I probably won't even do it. You can probably have my place if you like.

Anyway, that was my running plan and that's what I did. Even though when I got up I discovered that the met office had switched the weather about a bit and it was in fact raining at 8am when it was meant to be dry. The heaviest rain was early on in the run.

I couldn't take a camera so I've made you a selection of greys off the internet. I hope you like them.
So what did I see? Well, I think Tom Daly is planning to take a flyer off the 10m board later today, so the road next to the Commonwealth pool is still all cordoned off. There were 2 girls in marshalling clothes just round the corner jumping up and down and waving at cars. I had a long look to see if they were advertising pizza but they didn't seem to be.

The watery bit outside that insurance office has proper water lillies this year and I was surprised and a bit pleased to see they fold up when it's dark and raining. I didn't know that before.

What else? Some tourists. Some runners. Proper ones who say hello (it was 8 in the morning and raining, of course you would say hello to a fellow runner), and the other ones who have been put in a trance by an evil magician and can't see you and can't say hello. I get a bit aggressive about this. If I waste a hello on someone who doesn't respond I am tempted to slap them. I've never done this though. I thought about saying "Who do you think you're not looking at?". You're right. I wasn't in the best of moods. The first 2 miles were kind of hard and slow. "Let the run come to you" is what some Kenyan runners allegedly say, so I said this to myself, it seems to make sense. By mile 3 I was enjoying myself. The wind was behind me on the way along the canal, - there was very little wind anyway, but it's always nice to get a push. The ducks were out enjoying the rain. I had an argument with myself about whether those canal boats are called long boats or narrow boats until I realised it was long ships I was thinking of. I don't think the vikings ever took advantage of the network of canals criss-crossing Britain.

My legs got more sore. I don't really know why. The pace was a bit slow. I couldn't be bothered looking at things and I didn't have anything that world shaking to think. It was alright though. Just 10% off your average good run.

Good to get out early and clear the way for today. So today I plan to do some tidying and filing, which is probably why I'm doing this right now.

I'm back in limbo with my dissertation because it's back with my supervisor. She says I'm in a queue. I don't really envy her her job at the moment. I'm hoping the dissertation is at a stage where there's just a teeny amount to do and then I can get it soft bound and in at the start of the week and! I can go back to reading nothing but Oor Wullie and the radio times.