Sunday, 29 July 2012


Been doing a little shoe repair work.
My "good" trail shoes have been getting a bit abused these past couple of weeks - I've been using them on the road!
They are really well cushioned and "bouncy" - just the thing while I've been getting over my sore leg/hamstring/arse combo.

Problem is, the way I run I'm particularly heavy on my left heel. That's always the first bit to go on shoes with me. And it's gone on my trail shoes big time. To such an extent that I've gone right through the outer layer and down to the EVA midsole part. Which is bad news, because once you get down to that you wear through it in jig time and that's the shoes fecked.
SO.... I remembered, from the dim and distant past a product called "Shoe Goo". If you've not used it before it's a sort of super strong and super smelly rubber solution glue that can be used to repair worn soles, stick soles back to uppers, repair leaks in rubber boots and all sorts.
Problem is trying to get hold of it....
Running shops (at least the ones that I tried) don't sell it ...they, after all, prefer to sell you new shoes.
Shoe repair shops don't stock it ..they want to do the repairs for you.
And the few "Ironmongers" that I tried hadn't even heard of it.

Good for another month or so.
I Googled it and discovered that it's very popular in the skateboarding community. Well good for them, but I was buggered if I was going to go into a shop full of pimply "yoof" and twenty/thirty-somethings who haven't grown up yet who use terms such as "rad" and "gnarly". So I ended up getting it from my old favourite; Amazon.

All you need is about a 1mm layer over the affected area. Within 24 hours it's dried and is very, very tough and flexible.
There might be a temptation to build up the outer sole to sort of Noddy Holder platform proportions, but all you're looking for is enough to keep the midsole from getting worn.
Don't think it should be used to continually keep old and worn shoes "on the road", but if it prolongs the life a wee bit then it's value.

Oh.... and the supplier who sent it to me from Amazon even threw in a brilliant free, lime-green sticker for my skateboard - rad!!!

OLYMPICS - I was upset that Mark Cavendish failed to get gold (as was he, no doubt). AND I can fully understand why a national broadcaster might concentrate and dwell on the performance of our own athletes. But FFS can the BBC please give us a wee bit info and reflection on the folk who do win?? Yes, I was upset for Cav, but come on, would a wee bit of praise for Vinokourov frikin' kill them? I want team GB to do well, but a great performance transcends national boundaries.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


A "double bill"? A "double feature"? I don't really know what the term would be, in the context of a gig, but on Monday night we were away to see three acts do two sets in the same gig...sort of.
Part of the Edinburgh Jazz Festival saw a concert on Monday, at the Queens Hall, that featured the Jeremy Pelt Quintet in the first set and The Bad Plus & Joshua Redman in the second set.
To be honest it was the second set that really took my fancy when I saw it in the programme.
I've listened to Joshua Redman for years now and find him quite an adventurous sax player (when he wants to be) but with a solid foundation in traditional mainstream jazz. The Bad Plus....well, I've been "into" their stuff for a few years now, but it took me a bit of time to both "get it" and indeed "get into it". Pretty cutting edge stuff. Bass heavy jazz trio that's not entirely jazz - it mostly IS jazz, but they also like to take a bit of rock and punk and grunge even and chuck it at the wall and see what sticks.

Mr Pelt's set was wonderful. Heard a few of his albums before, but never seen him. A fantastic mixed set of rapid machine-gun-tempo straight ahead hard bop numbers and a few soft, mellow, muted ballads. All the numbers were originals but the feeling is pure 50's/60's East Coast. If Don Drapper were to go to a jazz club - this is the stuff he would be listening to.
I got the impression that Pelt knew time was limited, so, while he did talk a little to the audience and introduced his band, he was happy to let the music talk for him and managed to fit in 6 or so fairly lengthy numbers - and for that I am grateful.

As for "set two". As I've said I've listened to The Bad Plus for years and I've listened to Joshua Redman for years. I would have happily gone to see them separately, but to get a chance to see them playing together? Well, I wasn't about to miss the chance.

The main set consisted exclusively of old Bad Plus numbers. Obviously as they have been recorded before this collaboration most people have only heard them in trio format. Adding Redman on sax was an inspired idea... every tune was remoulded and re sculpted. Where some songs had previously been sharp and angular Redman's sax filled in and smoothed the edges.
But it was the ballads that really came to life. The song "People Like You" had the audience on it's feet at the end.
Indeed a standing ovation (not something Queens Hall audiences hand out lightly) ensured the band came on again to give us something completely new - "Underwater Reflections".

Two very different sets - both at different ends of the jazz spectrum - but a great night out.

Sunday, 22 July 2012


Last week was quite a high mileage week (for a man who claims injury anyway).
It helped that on Thursday night I wasn't required for stopwatch duty at the club. Frank was on hand to ensure that they all had their timings sorted for hill reps up by Wester Broomhouse. This cleared the way for me to tootle off for  wee jog on my own. Ended up doing about 8.5 at a nice sedate pace.

Yesterday I was out fo about 11 in the sunshine!! Oh lordy yes. The sun was out .... so, so was I! I even wore my "summery" yellow tee-shirt. Partly because it's a nice light weight one, and partly in tribute to Wiggo ("in Mod we trust")!! How frickin' good has this years tour been. To watch Brad, on Friday, in yellow, start the lead out that helped Cav get his second stage win must rank as one of the best sporting moments ever. Saturday's time trial was ineresting enough and today should be a cavalcade for Wiggins, but Friday was a bit of a "they think it's all is now" moment.

Then today I went out for 17. Again at an "easy" pace. Sun was out again... but so was the bloody wind!! My 17 mile run was probably closer to 17.25 but I turned my Garmin off for the part where I had to sprint back down the road to catch my cap after it blew off. Felt slow today, but enjoyed it all the same.  The "injury" seems to be improving. But is that due to the deep tissue massage, the new shoes, taking the pace a bit easier or self medicating last week with old analgesic that were WAY past their use by date? I don't know. Thing is it still hurts like hell when I have to sit fo any length of time, and we are off tomorrow night to a gig at the Queens Hall - a venue not exactly renound for the comfort of the seating!! Should be interesting.

Friday, 20 July 2012


Out walking at lunchtime when we spotted this big blue bloke. Its "The Big Man Walking" (see  ).

Only he wasn't (walking) - he was just hanging there, from a raised crane, while his dismantled bits were in the nearby workshop.
He's a massive 8m high puppet. And he's in an industrial unit in Leith for some TLC before travelling through to Glasgow to take part in the Merchant City Festival.
I remember seeing him on the news a couple of years back.
Quite an impressive sight.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Did the route of the "Doon Hill" race last night as a club run - and the legs felt none too bad. Didn't try to go at silly speeds, but I did feel better than I've felt for a while.
Got my holidays coming up in about 4 weeks, so planning on keeping it low key(ish) before and during then, then see what I'm like after that. My weekly milage hasn't been significantly lower while I've had this problem - just don't feel I'm getting the "quality" in.

As it was today's run was a pretty slow affair. But that had more to do with the fact that within about 200m from the door I was already soaked through to the skin and the rain was pouring down my neck, down my back and out of my shorts! WHEN in the name of f*** are we going to get anything that even resembles a "summer"??
It was a case today of shuffling along with the head down, while the wind and rain battered into me, keeping my eyes fixed on the road in front and watching the rain pour off the peak of my hat.

Got home and stood outside to take my shoes off (I couldn't get any wetter anyway), then nipped in quickly and stood in the bath to get out of my wet gear.

I hope the Olympic village is copiously supplied with tumble driers! If the weather stays like this, they are going to need them.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


I really can't make my mind up....Is my leg getting better, or am I simply adapting my style to compensate (or even just getting used to running through the discomfort)?

Whatever it is yesterdys nine miles and todays thirteen were not too bad. Dare to hope?
Of course it could be due to the out of date pain killers/muscle relaxants that I found at the back of a drawer!! They dehydrate you a bit though. Woke up this morning with a mouth like a tramp's pocket.

Whatever. Next weekends Musselburgh 10k is off for me. Bummer.

Looking to the future... the Jedburgh 38 mile race in October looks "interesting". I downloaded a GPS file of the route and plotted it onto a 1:25000 map. Might give it a go.
If the leg is better by the time I've been my holidays I will get my entry away.

This weekend has been dominated, musically, by the combined genius of Lee Morgan and Wayne Shorter. Six albums from the "Vee Jay" label recorded between 59 and 61 then packaged as a "complete recordings..." type box set. Wonderful, magical stuff. Really good quality recordings from the master tapes and loads of alternative takes that didn't make it to the original albums.
Don't get me wrong - I REALLY do like Morgans "Sidewinder". But listening to his earlier stuff  - before the commercial hit- he's up there with ANY of the big names in jazz trumpet.  Shame really that his wife shot him dead when he was only 33 (sure she had her reasons).

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


The leg/hamstring/arse "niggle" is getting better ... better at roughly the same pace as I'm running at the moment - slowly!
Trying my best to stretch when I can. Though according to Anne lying on your back and going blue in the face while you struggle to lift your leg isn't really the way to do it. It appears that popular opinion is that you should relax and breathe easily while doing stretches!! Who'd have thought.

Yesterday and this morning the met office had been issuing "weather warnings" for the Lothians and Borders along the lines of "feck! Run for higher ground!". It was foretold that floods of biblical proportions were headed our way.
So.... working from home today, I decided to get out for my run early. The rain wasn't yet reaching the apocalyptic proportions forecast - it was simply an old fashioned "heavy downpour" (or "drizzle" as we call it this summer).
So all gortexed-up I headed up into the windfarms once more. I must say, it was a lot lot clearer than the other day. I could see the turbines.. I could see the roads! What a pity then that I somehow missed the transit van full of workers who decided to pass me the very moment I stopped to add my own little liquid contribution to the already saturated road.... Oh how they laughed!!

Got back, soaked to the skin, but happy to have my 10 miles in for the day.
And today at lunchtime? When I'd normally go for my run? Dry as a bone.

Sunday, 8 July 2012


Another completely shitty  weekend. Yesterday especially (Saturday). Anne had thought about going into Edinburgh for some food festival that was being held at the meadows - but it got flooded out and cancelled. The Haddington Agricultural show was cancelled as well.

But runs must go on and yesterday I went for a nine mile bimble up by the windfarms - big mistake.
The rain was coming down like stair-rods at our bit. BUT by the time I had got as far up as Weatherly not only was it still chucking it down but low cloud was bringing visibility down to about ten yards.
I've been that route countless times, but the conditions still made the landscape alien. Even missed  a turn at one point. It was eerie running under massive wind turbines, being within about 10 to 15 yards of them - and not seeing them. Just hearing the "woosh, woosh" as the blades cut through the rain.
Despite having on a Gortex jacket I was soaked to the bone by the time I got home.
With the amount of gear we both get through, and the pairs of shoes littering the kitchen and "utility room"* drying off you'd think it was winter rather than July. (* AKA "the back lobby"). On Wednesday when it was briefly dry I did get my shoes outside for a wee while ..... Only to have a chaffinch flap down from our birdfeeder with a peanut, settle on the side of my shoe to eat the nut... while shitting inside it!! Damn near dry and had to go back under the tap for a wash :-(

Today I did 13 miles. I got new shoes yesterday (Saucony this time), but didn't want to try them out in such crappy conditions (I thought there would be a lot of mud and bits of flooding) - SO I did an 11 mile route in my old shoes... decided it wasn't too bad then went out for 2 to test the new ones. I'll give them a better try this week.

Hamstring was still a bit tight today - though not as bad as before. Hopefully the new shoes will help.

Managed not to get drawn into all the Wimbledon/Andy Murray madness that swept the nation. I wished the lad well... but tennis just doesn't do it for me, so I was buggered if I was going to watch 5 hours of it.
Le Tour? Yes.
Tennis? No.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Most people - runners certainly - are familiar with the basic concept of "deep tissue massage". The masseur identifies the individual muscle or muscle group that's causing the problem. Then, with the aid of liberal pummelling, systematically sets out to twist, squeeze, and pulverise every other muscle not in that group. This gives the "patient" something else to worry about other than the original injury.
Bloody agony - but it seems to work!
An hour on the table on Monday, during which time my leg was twisted and bent into shapes that even with the loosening of a few lock nuts and the application of a can of WD40, Douglas Badder wouldn't have managed, and I was "good to go".
I thanked the masseur, paid my money then limped back to my office while the tears ran down my face!

To be honest, I didn't feel "good to go" yesterday morning - unless "to go" referred to "nowhere really far and at a snails pace". Jeeze, I felt as though my leg had been kicked by a mule.

However, as the day went on the residual pain started to ease and I was aware that the underlying niggle that I've had for weeks now was a lot better (not 100% but at least "a lot"). I might have to go back for another session, but it is a lot better (if I can pluck up the courage to go back).
"Better" enough, in fact, that I could do an 11.5 mile cross country run with the club last night that saw us go through John Muir out to Tyningham beach then cross the Tyne.

Oh yes - nothing better than a waist deep river crossing to bring the life back into the old legs!

God knows why, but as I entered the river I noticed two golf balls sitting on the river bed. Don't know if they had been washed down there, or someone had dropped them or what... but for some daft reason I decided to pick them up out of the water and waded through to the other side with them.... then realised I still had about 5 miles to run - so threw them back in!! What a fruitless exercise.

Leg feels a lot better, but I'm still going to ca' canny for a week or two. So I think I'll sit out tomorrow nights East Lothian Summer Series race at Longnnidry and just stand with the stop watch.

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Seems to be a lot of doom and gloom about at the moment.
Running certainly isn't going how I would like it to. The pain in my left hamstring/arse cheek just will not shift.. I'm getting a full "stride" from the right hand side of my body, but I'm lucky if the left can get 50/60% mobility (does that make sense??).
I went down to the club on Thursday with no intention of doing the track session whatsoever. As it was, rain had pretty much stopped play anyway. The track was a no go area. Plus a few others who had exerted themselves the weekend before at races, were not in the mood for a short sharp shock anyway.
So we went off down by Belhaven Bay and John Muir Country park for a bit of a slower paced run. That suited me fine. I'm having real problems with anything quicker than 7min pace at the moment.
It's actually got so bad that I'm off to see a physio tomorrow. First time in about 6 years that I've been to see one of them.
It could be worse. At least I can still run (did 11 this morning) - it's just frustrating that I just can't lift the pace at all. Even LSD is out of the question at the moment, I think 11 or 12 miles is about my limit.
I think once I've seen Kirsty (the physio) I'll maybe get my gait looked at and invest in new shoes. I've got this horrible, niggling feeling that the Brooks I wear have had some slight change to their design that's at the root of all this (maybe I'm just paranoid - or clutching at straws looking for a quick fix).
Hopefully I'll get back into a normal pattern of training again soon. Got my beady little eye on a long race in October, but I can't even think about entering that if I can't manage the training.
Also short and fast runs are off my dance card at the moment.

I'm also a bit gloomy at the thought of my return to the arse-hole-factory tomorrow. I've always been of the belief that "it's the British thing to do" to dislike your work (certainly people who go about the workplace full of the joys of spring give me the creeps). However, at this moment in time I absolutely despise my working situation. The tender for our contract has now been sitting with the [un]Civil Servants for over six months now and they still havent made a decision on it yet (doesn't fill you with much confidence).

Still - at least "proper sport" is on the telly now. None of that "soccer" pish that's been polluting the screen lately. Le Tour is back on ITV4 - hurray! A small glimmer of light in a dull and dreary world. Is it just me or does Bradley Wiggins look like the hideous love-child of Paul Weller and Noddy Holder??

Another thing to be cheery about, I suppose, is getting my tickets to go and see The Bad Plus and Joshua Redman at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival in a few weeks. Looking forward to that.