Sunday, 28 October 2012


Bit of a busy weekend.
We were off to the National XC Relays at Cumbernauld yesterday, so the morning was spent shopping etc, before we dashed back, got our gear and headed off.
We get our fruit and veg from Knowes Farm Shop (have done for some time now). It's a fantastic place that's won a barrow load of awards over the years. Recently it's changed hands as the original owners have decided to retire and a couple of young blokes have bought it.
I hoped they wouldn't change things.
There appears to be some sort of hippy construction called a "yurt" that has been erected to the front of the premises..... Oh dear. That tells me all I need to know.

Anyhoo. The relays? A tough, twisty turny, hilly route that followed a bit of red and white ribbon as it meandered it's was for 4000m round a large park. I honestly don't know what else to say.
Physically very demanding, but rather uninspiring if I'm honest. Best thing about it was catching up with other runners.
I was sent off as first runner, which was a wee bitty daunting to be honest. It's too much like the start of a "normal" race. Your performance can be judged right away from the moment the gun goes. Anyone can see how far you've progressed or how far you've dropped through field. Anyway, none of the team appeared to be too disappointed with my performance so it must have been pretty much "as expected".
Haven't seen any results yet, so I don't know how we did. But lets just say that we didn't set the heather ablaze (anyway, there wasn't any heather to set ablaze).

Then today it was off down to Jedburgh for the half marathon. At one point I had toyed with the idea of doing the 38 mile ultra today, but my nightmare at the Two Breweries has left me completely scunnered with the whole idea of hills and stuff like that.
So 13.1 miles. On tarmac. Now yer talkin'.
Luckily, Dunbar Running Club has not, as yet, taken a sort of "Team Sky" approach and asked its members to sign a pledge that they do not/have never doped. So I popped a couple of bruphen beforehand to "ease" my sore legs from the day before. Also, I didn't rest on Friday last week - so today was also my 11th run in 9 days without a rest.
As in previous years, the first 3 miles are ran at an alarming pace as you get caught up with the guys at the front who are "only" doing the 10k. But if you can use this as a "launch pad" and then just hang in there for dear life, it can get you a quick time.
Again the wind was against us this year on the way back and my mile time did drop a bit, but still happy with my 1:20:08 when I crossed the line. Slightly quicker than last year.
Anne's had a bit of a hip niggle recently but had quite a good run, so hopefully that's on the mend.
It had been threatening rain all morning, so I made the decision to run today without my specs (I can still "just about" see enough for running). A shame really as it didn't rain and the route goes through some really nice countryside.
Is it just me, or are the trees looking even better this Autumn? Maybe it was the crap summer that did something to them but there just seems to be so much more colour this year.
Better stop now...starting to sound like a tree hugger. I'll be building an "eco yurt" next.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Had asthma all my life. Doesn't bother me and it certainly doesn't stop me from doing what I want to do.
Been on inhalers of one sort or another for as long as I can remember (probably take more drugs than Mr L Armstrong of Texas).
The vast majority of time - I'm OK. Until...... I discover that I don't have an inhaler with me. Then, and this is completely psychosomatic, I suddenly start to sound like Darth Vader.

When I'm running I always prefer Nike shorts that have the zip pocket at the back. I find an inhaler fits in there quite well.
I seldom need my inhaler during a run - but it's nice to know it's there - a sort of comfort blanket for hypochondriacs, if you will.

I didn't need my inhaler last night as we were tanking round the town run. The run was going really well and I was happy with how I was coping. So why did I suddenly, at the four mile mark, feel the need to check my pocket?? I certainly didn't need my inhaler. BUT within about thirty seconds of realising it wasn't there I could feel my bronchial tubes starting to close up on me.
Ended up pulling out of the run and just jogging back to Hallhill, where the offending inhaler was sitting in the changing room. One wee skoosh and I was hunky dory again.
I did think about going immediately back out for another couple of miles ..... but didn't bother.

I hate cutting a training run short though. It screws up my "goals" for the week.
So today's run was closer to 12 miles than the original 10 that I had planned.

Sunday, 21 October 2012


I can't explain it - but I can describe it.
Today's LSD was utter crap. Just felt empty, tired, unispired, and void of "mojo".
Weather was beautiful and the conditions were ideal. I really can't put my finger on an explanation.

Still did 14 mile - but other than getting home and getting my shoes off, I can't think of one part I enjoyed. happens from time to time.

Thursday, 18 October 2012



Not a “morning person”. Used to be, when I was younger (and happier). But somehow …. it’s just not there anymore.

I “need” to get up just after 5:00, but nine times out of ten I’m awake about 4:00. When I say “need” it’s not through any physical or spiritual commitment, you understand, it’s a “work” thing.

Unlike the local partridges, who all seem to enjoy a bit of a lie-in in the mornings.! Strange wee birds, partridges. They just seem to sleep where they stop (obviously not mid flight). Quite often we see them sitting there, at the side of the road, dead to the world. Seem to be at peace with everything – blissfully unaware that some day soon some “tweedy sort” in hunter wellies and a  flat cap is going to blow their little head off with a shotgun! In fact – it won’t even have the dignity of getting it’s head blown off by a “tweedy sort” – it’s more likely to be some well-to-do townie-tit with more money than sense playing at being a tweedy sort!

Anyway. This morning, as we headed up by the Brunt at about 6:15 Anne had to stop the car as one was just sitting there sleeping – bang in the middle of the road. Now, you’d think the approach of a car, with headlights blazing, would wake it up. Did it hell.

I got out and walked towards it going “shoo” and telling it, rather loudly, to “feck off”. That didn’t work.

I gave it a little prod with my hand and its stirred but just gave me a sleepy little look and then settled back down.

Ended up just getting back in the car and Anne drove slowly “over” it (as opposed to “drove over it” – if you get my drift). The clearance on our car should allow for the safe passage of a wee partridge.

Pretty sure it was OK.



Wish I could sleep that soundly.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


When using "tiger balm" on a sore rib it's worth remembering that you can buy "white" or "red" tiger balm (I thought we always bought "white" - the "cooling one).

As I say, best to check.

Oh....and NEVER slather it all over your nipple ......
....unless your seriously weird.

Sore :-(

Tuesday, 16 October 2012



Slightly different run today. Went down towards Seafield, as per…, but on the way back I dodged up the road that used to lead to the old Eastern General Hospital and from there joined the cycleway that goes to Leith Links.

From there is was along by the high flats then down to Shore Place, before heading back to the *rsehole factory. The weather has taken a decidedly “wintery” twist – so to be honest I probably wasn’t experiencing these new surroundings at their best (too many road crossings for my liking too).

Not the nicest of runs if I’m honest, but I wanted to change my routine slightly so that I don’t get too caught up in pace and speed and the whole checking-the-watch-at-every-bloody-“landmark” type thing.

My few days rest/cycling really seems to have helped the sore rib, but I’m determined to keep the pace on the “low” side for the next week or so just to make sure.

To that end… while I will go down to the club tonight I’m really not wanting to get wound up in the whole “bombing round at eyeballs-out pace” that seems to define most of our winter training. If your fit - it’s the business….but if your getting over an injury or suchlike it can be a one way ticket to relapse.

A look back at my log for last week revealed that the last three training runs, before the rib became too painful, were all in my “blue” zone (“green” = easy, “blue” = hard, “red” = interval/race pace). Stupid, to say the least.


Saturday, 13 October 2012


Been out on old [t]rusty these last three days.
Going out on the bike is always a good "alternative"...but I'd much rather be out there running.
Still, 90 minutes a day hauling my sorry arse and my cast-iron bicycle around the wee hilly roads is at least keeping me active and, the old rib, appears to be getting a bit better.
However, cycling isn't 100% pain free... as I discovered yesterday when I was out of the saddle "honking" up a hill just outside Oldhamstocks. So today's ascent of the same hill was taken in a much lower the saddle!!

We were out last night at a gig. Fred Hersch, solo, at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh.
To be honest it wasn't a gig that I had planned on going to - till I found out late on Wednesday that I'd won two tickets in an email competition from the Queen's Hall web site!

Anyhow. It turned out to be well worth the ticket price I didn't have to pay anyway. The gig was split into two sets. The first being made up of Hersch originals and the second being made up of covers and standards.
Set one was a strangely "classical" affair that was, to me, reminiscent of one of Ketil Bjornstad's solo offerings. Fantastic music, wonderfully executed....but is it "jazz"?
I don't know, but no matter, it was excellent.
The one which did stand out, for me, and the one that definitely was jazz was the tune "Dream Of Monk". An obvious homage to one of his hero's.
Set two was much more my cup of java (and I suspect most of the audience's) with a real mixed bag of standard's and styles.
At one point the folk song "Black Is The Colour (Of My True Loves Hair)" segued into the "Love Theme From Spartacus" (bit of a favourite of mine) and sounded very Bill Evans-ish.
Quite a lively rendition of Benny Golson's classic "Whisper Not" was added into the mix.

Very good acoustics in the Queen's Hall and absolutely no amplification was used. Just a stage with a piano on it.
Every note was crystal clear - and I got to go home without the dreaded tinnitus kicking in.


Well "heavens to Bettsy". That really IS the most unexpected thing!!
It would appear that those awfully clever chaps in the Scottish civil service may have fecked-up with a major contract that they were tendering......
Oh dear me. I really hope this is wrong. Otherwise my faith and trust in all that I hold dear may crumble before my very eyes.

This is awful ... it would be like finding out that your sporting hero's a drugs cheat!!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


I mentioned the other day that I'd cracked/knocked/hurt a rib when fixing my sceptic tank?
Well, it's not getting any better. Though, to be honest, it wasn't really getting any worse ... till today.
Tried to go a wee run today and ended up only doing about half a mile it was so sore.
I don't know if I've been lying on it while I've been sleeping or something but it's pretty sore today. So far this past week it's been OK running. Coughing, laughing, sneezing or bending to tie shoes? Sore. But running? No problems.
Ribs ...(it's the only picture I could find)
But today it's been sore. So, as I said, other than a half hearted effort at lunchtime - no running.
Another thing that just might have exacerbated the problem has been the types of runs I've done lately. The last three have all been pretty quick paced (6:30ish). Including last night's club run that was run at the usual daft pace.
I'll give it a day or so and then get back to "bimbling" for a little while rather than full-on "tonking along". I think the extra work on the lungs has probably put a bit pressure on the rib cage (or maybe its just all the jolting up and down).
Don't want to share too much ...but ...the pain today has been the sort that just won't budge with Ibuprofen and/or paracetamol. Time to dig out the pharmaceutical "big guns" - my "expires January 2011" packet of Co-Dydramol (a good hypochondriac never throws out drugs).
The problem with these is that they seem to work by sending you to sleep.
Not ideal. I'm usually dead on my feet by the time the ten o'clock news comes on without chemical assistance!!

Off work tomorrow. If it's still sore I might dig out old [t]rusty and go for a cycle raher than a run see how I get on with that.

Sunday, 7 October 2012


Absolutely beautiful morning this morning.
Just the sort of day I like - a crisp, clear, autumn morning. Bit of a nip in the air and a touch of frost at the side of the road. it time for a long sleeve top? Decided against it, and quite happy that I did as within the first couple of miles I'd warmed up quite nicely.
Took the pace up a little bit today. Decided that if the mileage was going to be curtailed a bit this weekend I might as well make the miles that I do manage count!!
Ended up doing 11, so ...not too bad.
My rib that I "knocked" when fixing the septic tank still hurts like hell when I cough, sneeze or laugh (so...not often then). But it appears to be completely hunky-dory when I'm running. Must be my completely natural and elegant chest-out back-curved style that I have. Knew it would come in handy one day.

Got home and had a coffee and a bit cake before heading out again. Bramble picking!
We thought we'd maybe left it too late this year, but luckily.....nature's left it late as well, and there was an abundance (though now that we are getting frost they might not last much longer).
Picked quite a lot, and they are now in the process of being washed, boiled, sugared, bashed and whatever else is needed in the alchemic process that Anne puts them through before jam is obtained.

Through in the DGP tomorrow (not been there for many a happy week now). Sadly it's through there for a meeting, so the running gear won't be going with me :-(
Off to meet my new "owners". Maybe find out who I'll be working for and, more importantly, where I'll be based. What an enjoyable start to the week that'll be......Hope to hell they don't ask me what I think about our client.... remember what I was saying about stress and pressure cookers?

Saturday, 6 October 2012


My Hero......
A great/crap morning.
I loved/hated it.
The club's 10 Mile race today. "Doon Hill" as it's also known. Though, sadly, this year we actually had to miss out Doon Hill (the owner has seen fit to plough it up!) and had to divert the runners up "Brunt Hill" - a nicer run (IMHO) but perhaps slightly less of a "challenge".
Anyhoo... I was helping out. Registration and results (as per....).
Thing is...while I accept that I might have certain "skills" that make me capable of doing that and I can do it - I don't enjoy doing it. I find it quite stressful...and while I can work under stress I can't necessarily hide it too well.
I have s sort of "release mechanism" that's a bit like the old rattly tops you used to get on your mum's old prerssure cooker. But it sometime's manifests itself in a sort of Malcolm Tucker-esque  way.
So if I offended anyone - sorry. That was just me enjoying myself.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


And so it begins.....
Last night's club run was the first of the dark night's "toon runs". Yes. We did manage to tag a couple of miles or so onto the beginning while we still had some light and those first couple of miles were taken moderately. But once we were back into Dunbar and onto the usual route the pace picked up to "eyeballs-out".
Used to this by now and I usually try to adapt my Wednesday run to take this into account (i.e. I try for distance rather than speed), but today circumstances were against me and about the only free time I had for my run was between 6:15 and 7:15 (which strangely enough, in a day of blue skys was about the only hour when it piddled down non stop).
No street lighting at all round here - so it was head-torch, LED arm-band and reflective bib on. Quite enjoyed it, though the legs were a bit tired from yesterday.

Got back and had to make a couple of "fine adjustments" to my septic tank pump. This entailed me lying on the ground with my head, arms and chest in the chamber (lovely - smells a bit "gamey" but you do get used to it). Only - as I moved onto the lip of the manhole cover I caught a rib on the metal lip. Feckin' agony, and I'm not sure if I've managed to crack it or just given it a hefty knock. Bloody sore though when I cough, sneeze or laugh.

A shame then that I should do this on the day when the Civil Service are shown up for the bunch of incompetent, worthless, cretins they are. A mere £40million wasted. Watching the news has been fairly amusing.
And if anyone thinks that could never happen with a public tender in Scotland ..... dream on.