Friday, 29 April 2011


Getting close to the end of my tenure on "planet time off" and it's pretty much "mission accomplished".
Haven't had a rest day in 14 days and I've managed 16 runs (18 if you count interval sessions). 75 mile last week and 90 this week.
Friday is normally a day of rest but I managed a nice 16 miles today. I did originally want to do 22 today - but last nights intervals just took a wee bit too much out of the legs.
Along to Oldhamstocks and back.
Started off cool, but as the run went on the mist burned off and the sun began to beat down a bit, making me regret my choice of a long sleeved top.
Still got a long weekend to go, but I think I will have a rest day tomorrow, then maybe a couple of 13 milers on Sunday and Monday. Then a moderate week and round it all off next weekend with the Edinburgh to North Berwick.

Missed all of the "excitement" on the telly this morning because of my run. Shame really as I've been getting a bit caught up in all the build up this past week or so. I was all excited to find out the details of "that dress".
What with them banging on so much about her being a "commoner", and all the talk about "austerity Britain" my money was on the dress coming from Primark or TK Max.

Still I shall celebrate in my own way. By listening to some music by that national treasure the "old Queen Mum". Yes indeed - the music of Elton John; recorded and improved by Steve Swallow, Gil Goldstein, Pietro Tonolo and Paul Motain.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Things are bimbling along quite nicely here on plant time off.
Into the sort of "no mans land" between the two long weekends now and getting into quite a nice wee routine. Lazy breakfast, run, read, jazz etc. etc. Trying to get the balance right between getting the mileage in and not over doing things (no rest day for 11 days now).

Trying to remain calm as well, and not fry my brains on the triple excitement of "a" the impending Royal nuptials, "b" a Scottish Parliamentary election and "c" an exciting AV referendum - always considered myself to be a republican, but if I did have to chose one of the three to give a toss about then, lets face it, at least we get the day off for the wedding (though even then I intend to be half way through a 22 mile run while it's on the telly).

However, it's not all R&R here. No indeed some things have to carry on as usual, so it was a trip to Tesco today to stock up on messages. Oh dear me. Must have picked the wrong time of day to go. I felt rather foolish and unfashionable, being about the only man in the shop without a facial tattoo. Nice though of the local comprehensive to give so many young mums the time off school to go shopping.
Christ it was like stepping onto the set of the Jeremy Kyle show...

Friday, 22 April 2011


And lo it came to pass.... the holidays finally arrived!! Thank God - or to be more precise in the case of the Easter holidays - his wee boy.
Anyway. A holiday is a holiday.
Don't normally run on a Friday. It's usually my rest day. Also, I've had quite a high mileage week (70+) with more of the runs edging into my "blue" tempo zone than should have been. Add on to that quite a hard track session last night and the legs felt a bit tired today.
However, the big plan for this week-and-a-bit is mileage; so off I trotted at a slow pace for six and a half miles.
Quite nice. Just down through Innerwick and home. Actually stopped at Innerwick for a little while to pass a few words with Harvey who's staying down there while Ray travels in New Zealand. Well, I say a few "words" but Harvey's vocabulary is pretty much limited to "woof"!!
Spent the majority of the run contemplating what cake I'd have with my morning coffee. A bit of Christmas cake perhaps - we still have loads? We still have mince meat pies in the freezer, one of them would be nice. In the end I settled for a bit of ginger bread. How seasonal is that?? I might get round to having a hot cross bun about August!

Had a chance now to listen to my new Benny Goodman CD a few times. Splendid stuff indeed, and a real bargain for £3 at Fopp. Only £3, and packaged in a nice wee cardboard sleeve that's a replica of the original Vinyl release - why aren't more old albums available in budget format like this?

I love a bit of the old Benny Goodman big band, but this is a quartet with Benny on clarinet (obviously), Lionel Hampton on vibes, Teddy Wilson on piano and the great Gene Krupa on drums. Ten upbeat tracks that swing. "Swing" with a capital SWING! A reunion album that was recorded in '63, 25 years or so after these guys first got together and it still sounds fresh. It's Goodman's album but Hampton and Krupa are the ones who really set the pace here.
My only "niggle" would be that the vibes appear to slightly push the sound of the piano to the background. That however, may simply be due to the recording "limitations" of the day (or my tinnitus?).
Highlights? Got to be their version of the early jazz classic "Running Wild" or the uptempo version of "Seven Come Eleven".
Buy it - bung it on - crank up the volume - and as Trevor and Simon would say; "swing your pants"!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Christ on a bike. Are these Easter holidays ever going to arrive?

Don’t know if it’s because they are a bit later this year, or if because the Spring weather (so far) has been unseasonably nice, but it’s starting to feel like a hell of a long drag to the holidays. Who picks the dates anyway? Never really understood how Easter is “chosen” – I think it’s someone fairly high up in the Catholic Church who picks the date. The Pope, or maybe even someone really important - like Bono.
Anyway. Nearly there. Taking the time off between the two long weekends so almost a week and a half off coming up. No work, no alarm clock and no arse numbingly awful train trips through to the DGP.
No real plans, but I’ll try to do some long un’s – a last mileage build up prior to the Edinburgh Mara.

Might also give me a chance to catch up on some serious “listening”. Got quite a few new albums as of late and want to get aquatinted with them. That said, I’ve not been getting quite as many albums so far this year than previous. Have to try and rectify that (though I did make a start yesterday by picking up a CD of the Benny Goodman quartet).

Sunday, 17 April 2011


Couple of runs this weekend - with my poor little toes safely ensconced in a nice new pair of ASICS 2150's. Lovely.
Yesterday I did a [fairly] quick 10.5 mile route from our bit, down by Crowhill and back. It's a route I do a lot. It's fairly undulating and I just wanted to test out the new shoes.
Today, after a relaxing breakfast I started to watch the London Marathon.... but I couldn't really get into it this year. I like the marathon (though not, truth be told, London) and I know runners who are doing it. So why was I feeling so negative?
Probably because the BBC coverage is brilliant and awful in equal measures. Their coverage of the top runners race is really good... but once they are over the line they just seem to concentrate on the very back of the field and all the people dressed as bananas, rhinos and what nots. All very laudable and worthy, but they do tend to ignore the big chunk of club runners. Shame.
Also, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day. I thought my time would be better spent on my own LSD.
I'd reckoned on 21 mile today. But again lethargy kicked in. Not "physical" but mental lethargy. I just couldn't be arsed thinking out a twenty one mile route. The lazy solution? Yep. I did yesterdays ten and a half mile circuit ...twice!
On the plus side I was able to place a drinks bottle by the side of the road for a drink at "half way" without the bother of having to carry it.
On the down side? Pretty uninspiring really. Also, I'm used to trying to do that circuit at a certain speed. A speed that's not really conducive to LSD.

I shall watch the highlights of the marathon tonight.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


About a year ago I switched to Brooks shoes. Very happy. No problems.
However, the last pair I got back in early February were a different "style" of Brooks. Previously I'd got Adrenaline, but this time I thought I'd try Ravenna. Feck me has that been a mistake.
Happy to start with, very cushioned and the "motion control" was/is great. BUT .. despite them being a size 8.5 (as the previous pairs) and supposedly being a regular width they feel a lot "snugger".
I suspect they've probably been built to a different size spec all together.
Bottom line? As the mileage goes up these things are beating the crap out of my toes.
I've been slathering the toes in vas' and performing remedial surgery on blisters... but it just can't go on.
I'm thinking I'll throw in the towel and either go back to Adrenaline's or even go back to ASICS...

 Hate admitting defeat like that, but I cant go on. Got a few days off work coming up soon and want to spend the time doing some long runs. I need good shoes for that.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


What nicer way is there to spend a Sunday morning than sitting in a cool, tranquil church, seeking guidance and pondering the dichotomy between good and evil?
Well you could get of your arse and go a run. Which is what I prefer to do, and did today by taking part in the Perth Road Runners "Heaven and Hell" Half Marathon.
A 13.1 mile "almost" circuit (the loop doesn't quite meet) that takes in a couple of really tough climbs.
Not a race to do if you want to bag a PB, but one I would heartily recommend to anyone who enjoys a, relatively, low-key, well organised, well marshaled race on quiet roads.
I entered this one pretty late on - in fact I think I had just finished hitting the "pay now" button on the web site last week when my cold kicked in.
I've done it before and knew, more or less, what to expect..
What I didn't expect was for today to be the hottest day of the year so far (19?). For many parts of the route there was little or no wind and the heat was quite oppressive. I know it will get hotter as the year goes on (hopefully) but I'm not really acclimatised to it yet.

Anyway. Went to the pre race briefing then headed down to the start line. Noticed a few Portobello runners and Wull Hynd from Moorfoot.

A brief word from the starter and off we went. Clocked 5:40 for the first mile and remember thinking "that's a bit quick, better watch".
Never one to take advice, even from myself, clocked the second mile at 5:26.
The little group that I was in for about the first three to four miles contained Mr Hynd, Gareth Green from Portobello a bloke from Corstorphine (I think) and me. However, by about four mile and into the first climb the elastic started to stretch and the three of them started to pull away slightly.
I didn't mind the climbs too much but the downhill section from about six miles to eight really took it out of my legs.
Then came the second real climb. Two miles that see you go from about 80ft to 822ft. Worse of all it includes a couple of really sharp little bends, so even if you are getting into a rhythm - its broken.
Got passed on this climb by Johnny Lawson of Portobello.

At the top of the climb a welcome drink was taken and most of the water was poured over my head.
Keeping in the spirit of the "theme" of the race the last two miles always puts me in mind of that *cough* classic ballad "Bat Out Of Hell" by the popular crooner "Meat. Loaf" - feckin' agony to endure and it seems to go on and on and on without end.
Anyway. Crossed the line in 1:23:40 a full two minutes faster than the last time I ran it, so fairly chuffed. Think I was sixth overall, and second vet.
A nice goody bag which included what can best be described as an immense fleece foreskin.
I believe it's actually called a "snood" and can be worn around the neck, like a scarf, or with the tightening of a draw string can be worn like a fleece hat. Just what you need when the temperatures up to 19 degrees. If your a bit baldy though probably best not to wear it loosely about your neck and lower face with only your head poking out!! Joking aside, it's a handy piece of kit and while I hope I don't need it for a few months yet it won't go wrong.

Talked to a few finishers and waited on Anne coming in. She also improved her time from two years ago.

Back to the race HQ for a fantastic feed of sandwiches and cakes and the prize giving.
Unsurprisingly the Portobello team won quite a bit - including a case of beer for first team (more impressively they were actually first and third).
Now. Two of the same blokes won a case of beer last week. Beer - must be good for you. Maybe I should return to the fold.

Ian who had travelled up with us met us after the prize giving. He wasn't doing the race but went for a "wee" 28 mile training run in preparation for a couple of ultras he's got lined up. Never realised he'd been out on the course and shouting us on.... I must have been focused at the time.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


I seem to go through distinct “phases” when I succumb to the lurgy.

  1. The “I’ve got a cold kinda lingering on the periphery” stage. Does pretty much what it says on the tin. Characterised by a general feeling of “unwellness” and even more malcontent than usual. Can last up to two weeks.
  2. The “Feck me here it comes” stage. Usually lasts about two days and can involve sore throats, runny nose, etc.
    Make mine a pint!
  4. The “Man flu” stage. Probably a day (two at most). The little bugger really moves in to stay and stakes it’s claim to your entire immune system.
  6. The “Oh Jeeze that’s disgusting” stage. Like most folks with respiratory issues (asthma) colds always migrate south to the chest. Their work in your nose and head is done – this is simply their equivalent of “R&R” and they set up their holiday home in the chest for a fortnight. Other than a death-rattle-cough I usually feel not too bad at this stage. However the feeling of "wellness" is somewhat spoiled by the continual coughing up of jelly baby sized, jelly baby consistency, custard coloured lumps - hence the title of this stage says it all really. Copious amounts of cough medicine are taken.
  7. The “I’m just getting over a cold” stage. Actually this isn’t really a stage at all as I usually feel tickety-boo. But, a bit like the first stage, it’s a really handy excuse for explaining away a crap run!! This stage has been known to last up to four weeks.

Had a day off work with stage 3 yesterday and now moved into stage 4.......

Sunday, 3 April 2011


Well the "lurgy" really took grip last night. In my throat.
Kept waking up at all hours with a burning throat and the sensation that I'd been eating broken glass. No sniffle, no cough.... just a bliddy sore throat.

So after a couple of croissants and jam that felt as though they were made out of rolled up sandpaper I took the plunge and went out for my Sunday run. Suffice to say I didn't do 16.
I'd carried out the old "neck check" and decided that it wasn't a head cold...but then again it wasn't in my chest. It was very much IN my neck. Couldn't remember what the wisdom of the ancients said about that... so just went out anyway (I know what it says about above the enck, or below the neck, but not "in" it).
Did 12 miles..... badly. Legs felt great, in fact I'm surprised how soon I got the old "bounce" back after last Sunday. Just felt that the heart rate was up a bit and the breathing was more laboured than it should be for the actual speed I was doing. Perhaps the "lurgy" is travelling south.

Ah well. Got back and tried to rest a bit by reading.
I've a slight problem with reading - I find it too easy to be distracted. I have to have one of two environments to really get into reading a book. (a) absolute silence  or (b) a bit of non intrusive music. I'm not one of those people who can read a book and watch the telly at the same time and I'm not someone who can read then carry out a conversation at the same time. Don't get me wrong I don't move my lips when I read and I don't have to follow the words with my finger. I just find that once distracted I find it hard to get back into what I'm reading.
As the old Tinnitus makes option "a" problematic I usually go for "b" and its almost always jazz.
But sometimes getting the jazz to fit the book can be a problem. Just read a mystery based in eleventh century Japan "The Dragon Scroll" by I J Parker. Quite a good read to be honest. But even in my "moderately" large collection I'm finding it tough to find jazz that suits C11th Japan. So I just opted for "Nippon Soul" by Cannonball Adderley... a bit stereotypical but there you go.

Saturday, 2 April 2011


Today was the clubs annual 10k race, so it was a bit of an early start for us.
Down at Hallhill pretty early to help get things set up etc.
Officially my title is "Race Director". I think that's supposed to involve an aura of calm - "a steady hand" and all that. In reality, for me at least, the role involves a lot of running around and shouting "feck" while everyone else gets on with things.

Went for a short run when I got home - just about 5 miles.
Don't know what I'll do tomorrow. I want to/need to/should be doing about 16 mile, but I'm getting a bit of a sore throat. It could be the result of shouting "feck" a lot today, but I suspect that I've finally succumb to the lurgy that's been on the go for a while (Anne's just getting over it).

So the 16 mile may turn into 6........