Sunday, 31 October 2010


Today was a beautiful day - weather wise and season wise. You just can't get any better than Scotland in the Autumn, and today was just a perfect day. Next to no wind (unlike the previous week). Sunny but not too warm. And the light really brought out the colours that cheer me up this time of year.
It was a good day for doing a race. Or at least a run in the country...
Luckily I had a race to do! And it was one in a nice part of the country -  the Jedburgh Half.
Not too sure, but I think this might be the fourth time I've done this race and I really do like it. A nice sort of elongated figure of eight type route that takes you out of Jedburgh and onto some really nice [closed] country roads.
The day now boasts three events and it really does have a "festival of running" feel about it. There's the half, there's now a 10k (2nd year I think?) and there's also a wheelchair race.
Anyway. I was also feeling a lot healthier today than I felt all week. I put this down to three consecutive days of "proper" food (aka "Italian"). My digestive system needs pasta, tomato, basil and olives on a regular basis.
I digress. Back to the race. As I say, I felt good and, while I didn't have a time in mind, I had decided that I was going for it today.
I'd actually forgotten that the 10k and the half start at the same time so I was surprised to see upwards of a thousand runners at the start.
Didn't hear a gun or a hooter.... I was just aware of someone shouting "GO" we did.
I know there's a bit of a climb at about ten miles in this race, but I always forget that there is a bit of a climb at one to two miles as you leave Jedburgh and it can feel a bit tough when your trying to settle into a pace (my woeful lack of warm up didn't help).
Found myself in and around a group of runners that included a few faces I knew. Willie Jarvie of Portobello, Alistair MacDonald of Dundee and a couple of Moorfeet (is that the plural?). However, when we got to the 5k mark most of the group peeled off to go onto the 10k route while I suddenly found myself up near the front and a hell of a lot lonelier.. One of the Moorfeet's was doing the half but even by this point though he had pulled away never to be seen again (probably back and showered by the time I got in).
Still, I realised I was "up there" so just got the brim of the cap pulled down, the eyes fixed firmly on the road ahead and got on with the job in hand.
At eight mile or so you find yourself retracing your earlier steps and I was passing loads of runners going in the opposite direction. As I passed Anne she shouted over the road that I was sixth. The pressure was on.
My main aim was to keep the distance between me and seventh and just try to get sixth place. However, at the start of the hill near the end I managed to catch the bloke in front and pull away.
The last mile and half is fairly quick (downhill) and I just pushed as hard as I could. Crossed the line in 1:18:05 for fifth place, a new PB, and was over the moon to discover it was good enough for first vet.
Favourite type of prize vouchers as well (money)..... John Fordham's has been making a lot of recommendations in the Guardian's jazz reviews lately, so no excuse not to check some of them out!

IF I'd remembered my camera I would have posted a nice picture. This will have to do. Though to be fair Jedburgh probably hasn't changed much....

Did anything disapoint me? Well yes... where was the brass band?? Every other time I've done this race there's been a brass band at about the four mile mark playing either the theme from Rocky or the theme from The Great Escape. They were sadly missing this year.

Friday, 29 October 2010


Stomach is still a bit “iffy” – has been all week. Luckily it hasn’t stopped me running and I haven’t had any more “Paula moments”.
But it has caused other strange side effects – it’s given me one of the worst cases of “dandruff” I have ever seen!
Yesterday, being in Leith, I decided to go for a “hard” 7.5 miles up the Water Of Leith, down towards Granton and back to the office. Now, going for a run at full pelt was, I knew, going to be a strain on the old stomach. Strangely the pessimism about my stomachs capabilities were coupled by a naive optimism about my abilities to find a “private spot” en-route should the need arise.
Anyway. Best go prepared. So before I set off for my run I went into the lavvy at work and took an ample supply of loo paper (just in case). Where to put it? Didn’t want to run along carrying it in my hand and the one and only pocket I had (in my shorts) was already full with my works pass and inhaler. Inspiration struck… “I’ll bung it under my running cap”!
Went for the run. The stomach held out. The old HRM read a steady 165 all the way round. Good run.. a good workout… a lot of sweat.
Got back to the desk and sat for ten minutes or so checking emails etc while I cooled down before I went of for my shower. Then I took my cap off….
Oh deary me. One of the basic properties of loo roll is that it breaks down when wet. One of the most basic things about sweat is … it’s wet……… be honest it was less like dandruff and more like leprosy of the scalp.
Thing about [very] short hair is that it acts like the jaggy half of Velcro for stuff like that. Took me ages to get it all out.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010



A rare visit to my old office yesterday gave me the chance to go for what used to be my lunchtime run from the lovely “Cowcaddens” district, along by the tow path at the canal before turning just after the Lock gates at the beautiful residential area of Maryhill.

It’s been 18 months since I’ve done that run, so although it very quickly became “familiar” once more, it was still a nice change. Once I leave the office I have about two roads to cross and the M8 to go under, but within about half a mile the route is onto the canal path and traffic free (until the last half mile of the return journey obviously). Quite a few other runners out yesterday. In fact a few of them were familiar faces from when I used to pound this route twice a week or so.

I felt good all the way round and was pleased to see, upon my return, that the old HRM had remained well in my comfort zone, but I’d still managed to get round a bit quicker than I used to.

Realised that all my “work” or lunch time runs are a bit “samey”. Leith = Path up by the Water of Leith. DGP = Path along by the banks of the Majestic Clyde. “Old” DGP = Path along by the canal. There’s a sort of pathway/waterway theme that runs through them all.

I need a change….. wonder if there’s any nice farm roads or forest trails through in the DGP??

Sunday, 24 October 2010


Not a happy run today... And it all started last night .... in my dreams.
Don't want to go into too much detail about what goes on in my head. Just on the off chance there's any would-be Jung's or Freud's out there.
I had a strange dream where I was in a house with people I used to know and I was eating a rather revolting meal.. Anyway. Woke up feeling sick.
Now. Did the disgusting meal make me feel sick? Or, was my stomach already upset and my mind weaved it into the narrative so to speak.
Anyway. The feeling of queasiness did not pass (still there to be honest). Can't think that its too do with anything I've eaten. Though perhaps yesterdays 8 mile run in wind, rain and hail has given me a bit of a chill.
Whatever. I do know that I didn't enjoy my 13 mile run into the hills and woods quite as much as I should have.
It was a beautiful, though somewhat cold, day. Just the sort of day that I usually thrive on, but all the way round the contents of my stomach just kept bubbling away... horrible. Suffice to say my time was somewhat slower than I would have liked. But, just like the bears, the woods at least offered me a bit more privacy than poor Paula had a few years ago!!

Hope it doesn't happen again. Never want a dream about food again.

Well. Unless Kylie's cooking me a big bowl of pasta!!

Friday, 22 October 2010


I picked up a Charles Mingus CD last week (Charles Mingus "In A Soulful Mood").
And I just can't get enough of it!
It's a strange wee confection. First of. I was a bit wary of the term "Soulful" - too many "smooth" connotations. Charles Mingus was, if anything, a troubled soul, a revolutionary one: musically and politically (with a small "p") and he was a bit of an "angry" soul. So what would a collection of Mingus "soulful" sounds be like?
Well. Not quite as angry as normal, but this is no "late night relaxing" CD. It's still pretty charged stuff.
The CD is culled from two sessions he did for the Candid label in 1960 and actually seems to be stuff that was omitted from the first two albums for Candid.
The opener "Bugs (take 3)" is pure bebop. It's the sort of music that very seldom fails to bring a smile to my face and make me feel that much better. It's full of colour and speed, but the colours are the ones reflected in wet pavements on a busy street at night and the speed is the speed of people going to and fro about their lives. Paul Bley on piano on this one, and it's a side of him I've seldom heard. Joy.

There's also a wonderful 13 minute take on the old standard "Stormy Weather". This starts with about one bar of solo bass, before Eric Dolphy comes in for about a four minute solo on alto sax that is one of the most minimalist and heartfelt I've ever heard. Dolphy doesn't paint a picture of "stormy weather" and misery ahead - he just provides the dots for the listener to slowly join together to get their own picture. I've got to be honest and say I don't like Eric Dolphy's later "free" jazz, but this is fantastic stuff. After his solo the boss takes over for an equally minimal bass solo before the trumpet and drum join them to round it off.
Recorded in 1960 this track is pure 1930's depression America - dole queues and soup kitchens. Given the current climate the BBC could use this as background music for the news when Robert Prseton's on giving us the details of the latest cuts!
Best 50p I've spent in ages.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

"THIS IS NOT THE END"............

"THIS IS NOT THE END"............

“……It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Two nights of mouse free [in]activity in the kitchen. Can it last?

Haven’t got rid of it/them as such, but I think I did find the “point of entry”. It looks as though a gap left in our [ill]fitted kitchen was providing their raiding parties with an open door. I couldn’t understand why the food that was stolen was being dragged back to a particular corner until I lay on the floor for a “mouse-eye-view” and saw the gap.

Liberal use of foil and duct tape has blocked the offending gap.

So, as I say, no activity. So why am I not wholly happy? Well, for one thing the outer perimeter remains insecure. For them to even get as far as this breach in security, they have to get through the outside walls.

This small victory has at least made our veg’ secure – but the fight goes on!!!

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Did a nice steady 8 mile run yesterday.
Then today I ended up doing a 17 miler with Ian. Over by Harehead, then by Bothwell farm before heading back through the woods to the wind farm and back via Weatherly. Mostly on quiet roads, but a wee bit on forest trail and little used "works access roads"
Probably a wee bit slower than Ian would have gone at (though it was a hilly route and windy), but I was happy just to get out there and do a bit of a longer run again. Legs felt not exactly "race fit", but definitely getting better and the old "cardio-vascular-lung-what-nots" felt tickety-boo and I was able to chat quite comfortably all the way round. I felt a bit guilty as I was still a bit in "recovery mode" while Ian is still firmly fixed in "training mode" (he might have a mara' soon) and I didn't want to hinder his training, but he was able to add a bit on, when I ended back at my house, to take his total up to 23 and drop his average pace a bit as well.
I fancy going for the Jedburgh half at the end of October and then it's into cross country season, so I've nothing "big" lined up that I really need to train for. But I just want to try and get through the winter ideally maintaining my present level of fitness or at the very least not letting it slip too far. So I really don't want to let my weekly mileage drop too much.
That said. The dark nights are upon us so opportunities for long runs are diminishing, and while I enjoy doing the cross country on a Sunday it reduces the options for doing distance at the weekends.

Never happy. Or not for long anyway.


Oh sweet Jesus!!
The "war", or to be more accurate the "arms race" against our little visitor has escalated.
We got back from Fridays gig to the sight of more gnawed veg in the rack, so Saturday morning saw us off to see our local "arms dealer" in the little hardware shop in Dunbar.
We came home fully equipped with the latest technology.... An electric "gizzmo" that emanates not only ultra sonic "noise" to scare the little buggers half to death, but also gives out pulses of "electro magnetic what-not" to disorientate them.
Anne also spent ages on Saturday with peppermint essential oil dabbing it here and there, as that's supposed to give the little sods the heeby-jeebies.
As for the "humane" trap??? Well that now has bait that consists of home made chocolate cake and peanut butter! Hells teeth, I fancy that myself!
Did any of it work? Did it F........
Came down the morning to find another avocado, two carrots and another spud had been got at. Probably used the oil to sooth their little feet after spending the night dancing away under the groovy lights of the useless piece of electro-junk.
The war goes on!!
I've added poison to our arsenal (sod "humane" traps - I'd happily thump it with a lump hammer if I saw it!!), and Anne spent ages in the cupboard under the stairs, cramped up like a Chilean miner, armed with duct tape, tin foil and wire wool, trying to block of all possible entry points.
This war ain't over yet!


Friday was a really good day "jazz wise".
Out at a gig on Friday night at the Queens Hall to see the SNJO with guest Arild Anderson playing a selection of music to celebrate 40 years of ECM. Very fitting in a way that Europe's leading jazz label should be celebrated by Europe's finest "jazz orchestra".
Really like the SNJO and I really like Arild Anderson, so it was going to be a winner from the start this one. But it exceeded my already high expectations.
I've always viewed ECM music as being predominately jazz tinged with a Northern European influence (both classical and folk), and there was certainly some fine examples of that at the gig - Garbarek's "Molde Canticle" and Andersons own "Hyperborean" and "Independcy IV". But, it is also home to an awful lot of more "mainstream"/American influenced jazz and there were a few rousing examples of that as well with Pat Metheny's "Bright Size Life" and Dave Holland's "May Dance" really giving the trumpet and sax sections a chance to let it rip.
Interesting to hear so many pieces I'm familiar with "done large" in a big band setting. Chick Corea's "Crystal Silence", originally for piano and vibes is completely changed when done for a big band. Likewise Garbarek's piece, originally for a quintet, has a real "ethereal" quality - the saxophone sighs rather than sings, but with a big band setting the work opens up. The work remains the same but the "feeling" of the work is "re-imagined" to borrow a term. 
As is always the case with the SNJO, "guest" performers are given a bit more time "up front" than most of the other musicians, but never too much to bore the listener. Anderson however, could have played for the entire two hours solo, and I don't think the audience would have grown bored of watching him, pluck, slap, bow or caress the bass.
Over the moon that one of my favourite tunes of all time, Keith Jarrett's "My Song" was used for the encore.

Outstanding solo of the evening? Alyn Cosker ditching the sticks and playing a stunning accompaniment for Anderson that evolved into a solo using his hands on the drums and cymbals. Though Ryan Quigley's trumpet solo must have been a close second.

Heard that this concert (and the other three in the "tour") might be getting recorded and might eventually get released by ECM. Really hope that they do.

Why else was Friday a good jazz day? Well at lunchtime I picked up a CD by the Pete Letanka trio, then on the way to meet Anne at night I went into a shop and found a Charlie Mingus album I fancied - for "ten bob"!! Love a bit of Mingus - jazz tinged with "anger". Good edgy stuff.

Friday, 15 October 2010




It’s that time of year again. The harvest is in, and all the fields are getting ploughed up. So we end up “playing host” to one or more displaced refugees. Field mice!!

Started the other night. Anne heard “noises” down in the kitchen (I, on the other hand, heard nowt). The next morning brought the sight of a gnawed and nibbled avocado in the veg rack (no guacamole for me then) and three potatoes knocked from the rack and gnawed as well. And that’s what gets me. How, and why, are they getting into the rack, getting spuds out of the rack and rolling them over the floor before eating them??

Happened again last night. We were down at Kelso for a meeting and came home to find another potato had been lobbed from the rack and scoffed!!

So, it’s that now traditional autumnal game in the Hay house. Setting the trap for the mouse.

Anne favours the “get them quick and get them out of my kitchen” approach where as I see it as an opportunity to test various baits and traps and pit my wits against the wily little buggers.

First up, it’s a sort of fruity chew bar that came in my Loch Ness goody bag. One of those “green” and “natural” type things that’s supposed to “replicate” a good old fashioned chew sweetie, but misses out all the flavoursome “E” numbers and additives. It’s the type of “sweetie” that groovy and right on sorts give their kids for a “treat” – unaware that their kid probably throws it away and buys some sugary “e” ridden junk at the first opportunity. Anyway,  I’ll try this for a day or so. If that fails I’ll move on to a nice moist yogurt topped flapjack – they seem to have done the trick in the past.

Mind you given it’s diet this week a bit of potato might just work.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010



Those of a “certain age” will remember the numbskulls from the Beezer. Little men who lived in a blokes head and basically “operated” him and supplied him with thoughts and ideas.

Not sure if I’ve got numbskulls as such, but I do have an annoying inner monologue inside my head who keeps slipping out into the open at awkward and inappropriate times.

This inner monologue has more voices than Mike Yarwood, by the way. Quite often, when I’m reading, the little numbskulls are busy shifting the eyes across the words but the inner monologue will read them out to me. And he will adopt voices that suit the books. Many a book by Nigel Tranter the little chap has read out to me, but adopting the voice of the late, great Fyfe Roberston, while  the works of Reginald Hill are delivered in the voice of Warren Clarke (obviously).

He sings as well you know. Just the other day as I marvelled at the golden trees along by the majestic Clyde my little chum started belting out “Autumn Leaves” in the velvety voice of Mel Torme as I ran along – (sadly somewhere along the line the numskulls converted this to the actual sound of a goose farting in the fog).

Anyway. I’m hoping that my MRI scan tomorrow will identify either my little inner monologue or the numbskulls so that they can be told to shut up and stop talking to each other, because sometimes you can get into bother when there’s confusion between the two and you say things out loud.



 To the young lady who got off the train at Croy this morning: Just because you happened to hear “Oh. That is beautiful” as you passed, the inner monologue was merely conveying, to me, his appreciation of a rather nice Charles Lloyd solo on Rabo De Nube that I was listening to at the time.

Thanks for the wave though.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Had the choice of two 10k races today, and opted for the 10k trail run
down at Spittal, organised by Berwick Harriers.
Despite turning up for the East District Cross Country Relays
yesterday I ended up not running so I was keen to get back out there
and see how I got on (yesterday the club had five runners and four
numbers - I opted for the "day off").
Not too bad is the answer. It was a tough course that took in one of
the steep climbs that makes up part of Berwick's leg of the cross
country races. Although the route was described as "trail", perhaps
about 75% was on path or road so I probably would have been better off
with the road shoes on. The first (and last) mile was along the prom
and I was aware that the trail shoes, with little cushioning or
support, were bringing out my old "slappy-foot" syndrome.
Ian "S" was there too for his last fast run before his marathon next
week, so any earlier thoughts I might have had about "taking it easy
and just enjoying myself" went right out the window! If he was here to
race then so was I.
Everyone seemed to start very quickly and I wasn't sure I was going to
manage. In hindsight my "warm up" was woefully inadequate.
Anyway, managed for the first half, to hang on to the back of Ian and
we just seemed to slowly pick our way past folk till we were about 4th
and 5th on the road.
Then at about 7k I started to flag a bit - just at the time that Ian
seemed to pick it up. He passed a couple of others (ending up 2nd),
while I was passed by Peter "I-Can-Never-Remember-His-Surname" from
Came in 6th in 37:57 knackered but happy. Legs felt pretty much back
to normal and it's always good just to be out there.
A great course (though NOT if you are looking for a PB) and it would
be nice to see this become an annual event.


Really enjoying the Tony Coe CD I got out of the charity shop on Friday.
Got a few albums already with Coe on, as a sideman, but nothing with
him as leader.
Started with Humph' and also worked with the Kenny Clarke - Francy
Boland Big Band. I've got albums with Coe from both these periods in
his career, as well as some he's done with Alan Barnes and Brian
Coe's "stream" is firmly in the "main".
Plays both the sax and clarinet (though not at the same time). He's
said in the past that a sax should sound like a sax. John Coltrane had
a sound from his saxophone that was like an oboe. And, while that
worked well for Coltrane, there were so many imitators of, and others
so heavily influenced by, that sound that it all became a bit too
much. He wanted to bring things back a bit.
This album is part of a "prize" he got in 1995 - The international
Jazzpar award. He won the award in recognition of his playing rather
than his compositions, and as such has chosen a few covers for the

The Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra provide the backing (the Jazzpar
project is arranged by the Danish JazzCentre) but there is also
backing from Bob Brookmyer on Valve Trombone and Steve Arguelles on

It's always nice to get something new from a charity shop (and this
was "new" it hadn't even been taken out the cellophane). What's even
nicer is when you get it home and thing - "if I had heard that first I
probably would have sought it out and aid full price).

Once I get my PC fixed/replaced/whatever this is going on the MP3 player.

Friday, 8 October 2010


When I'm normally out a run in Edinburgh or the DGP it's usually not too bad. And by "bad" I mean busy.
The runs in Edinburgh are most often up by the Water of Leith etc and at a time when there are few people about. The run in the DGP is a bit busier with a couple of roads to cross, but once I'm in the park and onto the majestic Clyde walk way its not bad.

Tonight though I had a taste of what town and city dwellers must have to put up with.
I was getting the train home, so thought I'd have a wee sort of "duathlon" - run Leith to station -stand about a busy train - then another run from Dunbar to Woodhall.
Other than the legs still feeling heavy and tired after the weekend the second run was nice. Once over the A1 I never saw any cars or people at all. BUT the Leith to the Waverly part??
How can you run in those conditions?? Seriously? Its hellish. It must be impossible to get any sort of pace at all. And as for being able to run in a straight line. Forget it.

It just seemed, to me at least, to be wave upon wave of morons walking head down, oblivious to the world around them while they jab away at their "jab screen" phones - god help anyone who "gets in their way" because they ain't moving. On Carlton Road I actually saw one incident where a driver sounded his horn at a young bloke crossing the road, oblivious to the traffic, while he jab, jab, jabbed away. Nuts. The ironic thing was - the driver was on his phone as well..while driving and sounding the horn with the other.

Anyhoo... The run to the station did take me past a charity shop... Tony Coe & The Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra "Captain Coe's Famous Racearound". Managed to find a bit room in my bumbag for that !!
A lovely "clear" tone to the saxophone. Look forward to listening - perhaps with a nice Crema and a German Biscuit. A very civilised way to start the weekend!!

Also, when I got home there was a letter from the hospital with my appointment for the "picture of the inside of my head" (AKA an MRI scan). So - maybe get to the bottom of what's causing my bad lug and get me back on the road to enjoying "hiss-free" jazz again!!

Thursday, 7 October 2010


Oh lordy, lordy, lordy.

Work is utter sheeite at the moment. Not in a "happy place" when I'm there - at all!!
Then on top of that my “good” PC is fooked at the moment (that’s a technical term). It’s been showing signs of “fooked-ness” for a while now, but decided to die the other day. Not really been in the right frame of mind for trying to fix it this last day or so, but I might give it a try at the weekend (a swift kick in the mother-board should do the trick).
Failing that??? Well a wee trip to PC World may be in order.
Luckily all my important stuff has been backed up (i.e. Jazz MP3s and Garmin data)…. Oh, Anne’s recipes have been backed up as well!.

Anything going right? Well. The running isn’t too bad. Still not got the old bounce back after Sunday’s efforts, but I think I’m getting there.
And then there’s the jazz. Praise the lord for jazz – I sometimes think it’s all that keeps me sane - (though I’m sure some would disagree)
Picked up a rather nice little offering on Monday by the Kit Downes Trio – “Golden”. Lovely stuff (it was a little reward to myself for my PB). It’s, to be honest, rather similar to a lot of other “modern” piano trios, in that the music is sparse and spatial – the pauses and silences are every bit as important as the notes. Not in the way that Monk’s pauses and silences worked though – they often accentuate the sharp angular nature of the music they punctuate like needles. With Downes the “whole” is more melodic and haunting. But where he differs from some of his contemporise is that while many of them seem to offer a modern take on bop, he seems to offer a modern take on some of the more “swinging” pianists.
I’d say there’s more of George Shearing here than Monk or Powell. That’s my take anyway.
Whatever, if you want to spend a very pleasant hour or so then listen to this. I would like to see him play live. Hope I get the chance soon.
The title “Golden” refers to “the way you feel when the sun shines on you”. Very apt for a nice clear Autumn day.

Fed up with work? Get yourself a copy of this!
Feeling stressed? Bung it on your MP3 player……. Oh…I can’t cause my PCs fooked….bugger…. I’m all stressed again!!!

Monday, 4 October 2010


Well. Here endeth a busy but enjoyable weekend.
Saturday saw our club host one of its annual races - The "Doon Hill" race. That saw us both pretty much occupied for Saturday morning/early afternoon.
Must say, the weather was far kinder to the runners (and marshals) this year than it has been for a wee while.
Race went well. Good times were posted by the winners. Results were calculated. Trophies handed out....
.... then it was off to the main event (for us, anyway). Up to Inverness for the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon.
The journey up there was easy going and uneventful. Right up until the last mile and half round the outskirts of Inverness along to the stadium where we had to pick up our numbers for the following day. Then the traffic came to a gridlock. I think it was all down to a "soccer game" being played at a nearby "soccer field" having just ended and the police having to attempt to keep one crowd of sheep worriers away from another crowd of sheep worriers.

Anyway. Got there with about 25 minutes to spare and picked up the numbers and all important compuchip thingummies.

Got booked into our hotel (the same one as Lenny Henry uses - so it must be good) and then we actually went out for a three mile jog at about 7pm. Now. Don't mormaly go for a gentle run so close to a marathon but there were a couple of good reasons for us doing it this time. (A) - we had been stuck in a car for about 5 hours and our legs were stiff and (B) up until then Anne didn't even know if she would be running!

On the Sunday previously Anne had got stung on her foot by a wasp. Painful enough. But, within about half an hour or so her foot had started to swell quite dramatically, and within a couple of hours the swelling had gone up her leg (think of the things you see in kebab shops).
By Tuesday it was no better so a trip to the doctor was in order. Antibiotics prescribed and the recommendation that "no running for 10 days" be tried.... Loch Ness was a goner... or so it seemed.
One of the club members (himself a medical man) described the earlier GP's diagnosis as "bollocks" and recommended "go for it". And hence we were out gently bimbling round the back streets of Inverness on Saturday evening.

Then a  pleasant, though fairly uninspiring, meal in the hotel later and it was off to bed for an early night and a bit of rest.

Race day itself dawned. I'd been looking at the weather forecast all week and had watched as it changed from "rainy with an easterly wind" to "dry with a stiff southerly breeze". As it was, it was drizzle with no wind at all - crap for tourists - great for runners!

The end of the marathon had been changed. You no longer finish at the stadium, but on the road outside the park. Accordingly the start has been moved back another mile away from Inverness, but is still located "in the middle of nowhere" only this time further up the hill in downtown "nowhere" meaning that the start of this marathon is very, very fast (I clocked a 6 minute mile for my first mile).

I knew this course was "lumpy" to say the least and I'd decided a tactic. I was going to try and take advantage of the downhill sections as much as possible. So, I tried to not hold back, but to go for it without exerting myself too much (make sense?).

I wasn't aware how far up the field I was, but I found myself in the company of two guys from Belahouston who seemed to know what they were doing and just hung in with them for a bit of the race.

At every water station I took a little and at every energy drink station I took a little. I knew the hill just after Dorres at about 17 miles would be a tough one so I took an energy gel just before it.
As it was the hill wasn't too bad and while it was one of my slowest miles I didn't lose anywhere nearly as much time on it as I thought I might.

By about mile 23 I knew that a sub 3 was in the bag and unless the wheels really came off a PB was likely. So it was a case of "head down, keep working, and let's get this over with". And all went well.
Over the moon with my time 2:52:22 and really pleased to discover I was 28th overall.

Got my goody bag etc and went off to stand and watch other runners come in. Didn't know many peoples names so just shouted out the club's name when I recognised a vest (Gala', Porty', Fife etc...). Watched Anne coming over the line (3:53) and then went round to meet her. Not a bad time considering she hadn't been intending running.
Bit of a look around the new tented "village" then the slow limp back to the hotel.

Went out for another meal last night. And this morning? Well unlike every other runner staying in our hotel (and I think almost every guest was) we went out for a three mile "recovery run" this morning before breakfast.

Will I do Inverness again? "Yes". Will it be next year? "Hell no".

East District Cross Country Relays this Saturday. Need to get the legs back in shape for that.