Wednesday, 2 July 2014


OK unless you haven’t guessed…this blog is all but dead and buried.
It MIGHT come back at some point … or it may get posted to on the odd occasion when I feel I have something worth saying.
I just wanted to let you know as there is nothing worse than blogs that just die and wither on the vine. There is, for example, a blog that I myself follow, that details the writters attempts to quit and stay off the booze….. that hasn’t been updated since April now and…well you fear the worst don’t you.

However, I have not entirely given up on writing pish on t’internet and my musings can now be found on the “Book Of Faces” © where I have a "page". Simply point your internet machine towards!/stuart.hay.7927
There you will find my never ending words of love, admiration and respect for the tireless lads and lasses of the Scottish Civil Service, my hopes for a sunnier, happier Scotland under the benevolent, paternal care of Wee Eck and reviews of my favourite Heavy Metal and “Hip-Hop” combo’s.

Tara for now.


Thursday, 22 May 2014


Where to begin?
Been “off line” that long – at least “blog wise”. I’ve probably been spending far too long posting musings and trivia on that massive “book of faces” thing.
All of the non-running, non-jazz aspects of my life (i.e. “work”) has been pretty much “Double D, Double S” (Different Day Same Shite).

Running has had its ups and downs. Did the E2NB the other week and had one of the most unsatisfactory runs I’ve had in a long, long time. Basically setting off WAY too quick…… starting to feel the effort at about 15 miles and then spending the last 5 miles trying not to lose too many places to runners queuing up to pass me. A classic schoolboy error.

Lost my “mojo” a wee bit after the race to be honest. But you just have to learn by your mistakes, “pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again” (as Frank sings).

Saturday past saw me return to Falkland for the National Trail Championships. Never been a fan of “off road” running, but strangely enough this was one of the races I enjoyed most last year, so I was keen to get back. I can't understand why this race isn't much more popular than it is. Little over 100 male runners is not a lot for a National race.

I don’t quite remember the hills being as steep as they were! Even I couldn’t muck this one up….there is no pacing to worry about and “split times” are irrelevant. It’s just a case of bomb off as fast as you can, speed up until it hurts and then hope to god you can hold it at the pace for 9 miles!!

It was a damp, warm and humid day with a pollen count that was off the scale (am I the only one to feel it more this year?). Not ideal for an asthmatic with pollen allergies and I did find my breathing a bit laboured at a few points. With the effort I was putting in I was as they say "blowing out my arse"! Sadly for the Gala runner following me up the first hill this wasn't just a metaphor!

Happy to see that my time was only 5 seconds down on last years.

I will have to write again soon(er).

Monday, 14 April 2014


Quite a few Dunbar runners headed off to St Andrews yesterday for the St Andrews Running Festival. An event which offered a choice of half-mara, 10k or a dinky little 5k.

To say that the organisation of this event had been shambolic would be a bit of an understatement.

The route was changed from a nice sounding 13 mile loop that took in a small part of the iconic “Chariots of Fire” beach, to a 4 lap route that took in the beach 4 times, back to a 13 mile loop…only to be put back to the dreaded 4 loop option on Friday last week.

The start time of 10:00 was changed (again on Friday) to 9:15 – no biggie, perhaps, but when you’ve booked a bus and tried to judge your arrival time so that you wouldn’t have to leave Dunbar in the middle of the night, it was going to cut it a bit fine.

We also had tales of runners who had paid their entry (were on entry centrals lists) who “could not be found” on the organisers records.

We were treated to emails that tried to be TOO informative – the route was changed due to eight marshals succumbing to bouts of diarrhoea and two managing to get tickets for a football match (and hence unavailable). I don’t need to know that.

Anyway….. Our coach driver got us there on time and we were greeted by the sight of a massive queue for registration. A strange “system” appeared to be in place whereby runners who had already collected their numbers on the Saturday, still had to register and sign in on the race day !!??!! Very strange.

Finally got our numbers, and chips, and set off for what would be a very short warm up along the beach.

Got back to the start with seconds to spare just before the off.

I’d been a bit worried about the state of my legs after the previous weeks mara, but once the gun goes off you just filter out such thoughts and get on with it. I was a man with a plan…… Get away from everyone else as fast as I could then clench my teeth and try to hold on to any advantage I’d got (an OK[ish] plan for a half or less – madness for anything longer). I was also a bit concerned as I’d had my own wee bout of illness on Saturday night/Sunday morning and hadn’t even been able to face breakfast when we got up at 5:30 (see above about too much information J ). Would a half on an empty stomach be wise?

With the race being 4 laps I was already passing slower runners as I came towards the end of my second lap (their first). By my third and fourth lap, the relatively narrow paths were pretty congested with slower runners. Most people were OK and moved when they heard someone coming up behind them. But one of the “problems” was that I kind of “lost sight” of the two guys ahead – I knew I was never going to catch them, but it would have been nice to gauge how far ahead they were getting. Likewise, once or twice when I looked over my shoulder I couldn’t see the guy who was behind me as he was “lost” in the crowd.

It wasn’t “great” that the loop brought you through a busy car park (no marshals) and you had to run through the line of runners queuing to get their numbers for the 10K.

Anyhow… Came across the line in what I thought was third. Only to be handed the prize for second and to be told that the chap who had been leading for a good bit of the race had “blown up” and dropped way back. As I say because I was passing slower runners for most of the last two laps I obviously never noticed.

Got “changed” into some warmer gear and headed off with the other “half mara” runners to the wind swept beach to watch and cheer on the 10k runners. Nick – who had already done the half decided to “do the 10k” (unofficially) “just to get his 20 in for the day!!

The 10k was a simple two loop repetition of the previous four loop half. Originally, according to the organisers info, both races were supposed to be held at the same time (over different routes) which was part of the reason we chose it as a club “day out”. Ah well…..

After the 10k (which was only 50 minutes late in starting) it was pretty much back on to the bus and off to Anstruther for “chips” (never my first choice in foodstuffs).

All in all a good day out despite a pretty poorly organised race.

Monday, 7 April 2014


Maybe I should have carbed up a bit more.

An alcohol theme to the prize giving - Anne was delighted.
Well. Sunday's Lochaber marathon was another text book example of "how NOT to pace a marathon".
Honestly. I've not even looked at my mile splits myself and I certainly won't be sharing them with anyone anytime soon.
By about mile 4 I was 5th on the road and I held that till about mile 15.
The weather was atrocious. The rain had started about an hour before the race and never really let up all the while we were out. The wind wasn't too bad to begin with, but you could feel it picking up as the miles ticked by. Never a head wind as such. It was more the type that just seems to attack you from all directions (except from behind). One "problem" with the rain was the fact that I decided not to wear my specs - they end up worse than useless in the rain. I can see well enough not to miss signs, marshals etc. I just kept my head down and my eyes fixed on the road ahead and tried to avoid pot holes etc.
At one point I really thought I was on for a PB but, as I say, by about 15 I got passed by a couple of guys and it dented my confidence.
Then by about 20 I got passed by another small group (down to 10th).
Either I picked it up a wee bit, or one of that group was suffering even more than me, because I caught him at 23 - ran with him for a couple of miles, then pulled away at 25 to come in 9th in 2:55:35.
Anyone whos done this race knows there is a small hill at about 25.5 - nothing long and not really too steep - but a real bustard of a thing when you need it least. Thankfully once you get to the top of the hill the finish at the shint pitch isn't too far away.
Once back to the finish point I nipped over to our hotel (about 400m from the finish line) and put on a warm, dry top and jacket, grabbed some dry stuff for Anne and headed out to watch some others come in.
Anne looked a bit "wobbly" at the end and looked as though she had been through the mill but was pleased with her time.
After a shower we headed back to the sports hall for the prize giving.
Delighted to get 1st MV50 and happy that Anne got 3rd FV50 - though less than impressed to notice that regardless of place all the ladies trophies were a good bit bigger than the males. On top of that my prize of three bottles of ale will go to Anne as well.
Out for a nice curry after the race. Anyone not familiar with downtown Fort William on a Sunday night will delight in watching the traditional pass-times of drinking in the street, smoking AND shouting obscenities - and that's just the teenage girls!

Out today for a nice slow four mile recovery run before breakfast.......sore.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


Another Tuesday night and another fast run round the leafy suburbs of the greater Dunbar conurbation.
Surely next week will be the last week, this “season”, for the Town Run! This winter I think I’ve done more sub 40 minute runs than usual. Pace just seems to be pretty frantic every week. All good training – but bleedin’ hard. Certainly I feel it a bit more than I used to on a Wednesday for my daft o’clock run - heavy, tired legs do not a nice run make.

Anyhoo. Got races coming up. Two weeks on Sunday till the mara. Jeeze it just seems to have crept up on us. A real emphasis on the “L” in this weekend’s LSD I think. The week after that it’s the St Andrews half. And I’ve now put my entry away for that perennial favourite the E2NB (please god … a nice day with a nice stiff tail wind for that one).

In an attempt to shape up my flabby gut I’ve started adding a new routine to my exercise regime. To wit…..”the plank”. Seems like a sure fire bet for a hernia to me – but we’ll see how it goes. Good thing is you don’t need kit, equipment, or anything really to do it.
Waiting for the kettle to boil? Plank.
Waiting for the shower at work to heat up? Plank.
TV news depressing you? Plank.
Bored shitless at work? Plank.

Monday, 17 March 2014


Tried something a bit “unusual” for me yesterday on my LSD.
Nothing spectacular … but I turned off the sound on my GPS. I kept on the autolap feature, just turned off the “beep” every time it clicked over another mile marker.
I also did a circuit that I’ve dome many, many times before..but I ran it the “wrong” way round.
Instead of what is normally a large 18 mile clockwise route I did anti-clockwise.
Don’t know what got into me to make these changes, but I’m glad I did. Too many runs can get over familiar and too many runs can end up becoming a race against the clock – not always an ideal thing with LSD.
So yesterday I just set off and tried to keep it “comfortable”. No focus on pace – no focus on a heart rate range – just “comfortable”.
Even without the “beep…beep..beep” of the autocounter there is a tendency to look at the watch at various “landmarks” and think “Ooh 1:34 – I’m usualy at this tree/gate/road/barn by 1:32, better pick it up”. By approaching the route differently I was disassociating myself from that kind of thinking.
It was like a new run – only on familiar roads. Quite enjoyed it. Added a bit on at the end to lift it up to 20.
One more weekend (maybe two) of long runs before the taper for the mara.
Be nice to get a weekend without howling headwinds though.


Sunday, 9 March 2014

KB5 or =VLOOKUP($A2,register!$A$1:$F$245,2,false)

Saturday saw us head into "The Toon" for the King's Buildings 5 mile race.
Done this race before, but it came as a bit of a surprise, when looking through my log, to discover it was six years ago. I thought three or four!
Anyway. I couldn't completely remember the route, but I did know it was hilly. Add to that yesterdays horrible winds and it was always going to be tough.
We got there in loads of time and put ourselves through the rather strange "registration process". You paid for your number (fair enough), and THEN the runner had to go to a row of laptops and negotiate their way round a rather badly designed "registration form". The whole thing had a bit of an "internet cafe" feel about it.
Anyway. Met a few folk and had a bit of a chat before me and Nick headed off for a bit of a warm up that took in the first mile and a bit of the route. I had forgotten just how much of the first part of the race was run on pavement alongside a pretty busy road. With the amount of "street furniture", wheelie bins and shop signs around it was going to be tricks and passing opportunities were going to be limited at the start.
Our warm up took us to the bottom of the first real climb and it suddenly came back to me what the route was like (and not in a nice way).
Anyway. We jogged back to the start in time to shed jackets and tops and get into the start line with everyone else.
Being hosted by a university team there is quite a young crowd at this race.
A few words from the starter..a whistle..and we were off.
As I'd feared, the start was a bit of a guddle and I wasn't in the best position, but just tried to keep the head until we got to the foot of the climb where I knew the pavements widened out and the roads were a lot quieter (you can pop off the pavement and use the road here).
For most of the climb I was running pretty much shoulder to shoulder with Willie Jarvie of Portobello, and we could see Rab Watson of Musselburgh ahead.
Once up the hill we were running along by the Braids Golf Course and it was at this point that the cross wind was at its worst. Got ahead of Willie here, but I could not tell by how much as I didn't dare look behind me. I just kept the head down and tried to reel in Rab (didn't happen).
A fast downhill section along by Liberton and I think at one point my GPS was clocking 5:30 pace.
The last section, however, is a slight uphill and I suddenly became aware of WJ right behind me. Then passing me...Then pulling away. Just didn't have anything left to answer.
Still. Pleased with my time (28:59 by my watch) and happy to see that it was a bit faster than six years ago.
Have to wait on the results to see how I got on.

Back in the hall at one point I was sitting waiting on Anne going back to the car to get some change for a coffee. There was a young girl at a laptop - obviously doing the results. I was trying not to look as I know how frustrating it can be to be trying to do results and have someone looking over your shoulder! But when she shouted over to one of her pals to ask him if he knew "anything about Excel" I couldn't keep quiet. Turns out she hadn't put absolute references into her VLOOKUP and she had also missed out the "false" statement that makes the statement look for an exact match.
Bloody students eh? Got to wonder what they teach them these days :-)

Today, being Sunday, it was a day to worship at the church of "Oh God, Make Me A Better Runner" by doing a bit of LSD.
My planned 20 mile route got changed halfway round when I met up with George Gilholey and ended up running with him for a bit. Quite enjoyed my run with George.

Legs were a bit "heavy" today. Plan this week is to keep the mileage up but keep the effort low.