Sunday, 9 December 2012


Off to Meadowmill Sports Center today. First time I've seen and run on the new track - very nice it is too.
The occasion was Haddington and East Lothian Pacemaker's (HELP) 30th anniversary 10k.
A nice friendly event. 10k for the seniors and a 2k for kids.
The course was basically a lap of the new track, out of Meadowmill, along a path that took you under both the A1 and A199, turn right and onto a road that leads up to Faside Castle, turn where George Armstrong was marshaling - then retrace your steps.
Sounds simple? Well that didn't stop a couple of us taking the wrong turn at one point and ending up on the road that goes to Pencaitland! In my defense  - I was simply following Dave Wright at this point - it was him that went wrong! We dropped about 5 places because of our wee detour and the extra "wee kick" we had to put in to get these places back saw my effort level click over from "just about holding on" to "jeeze this hurts"!
If you know Faside (or have even just seen it from the A1) you know, that like many castles it's built on a hill, so you will also have guessed that the route was more or less uphill for just over three miles, then downhill on the way back. This simple geographic fact is reflected in my split times (at last - a race with "negative splits")!
I seldom take notice of features, or the landscape, when I'm in "race mode", I'm usually too caught up in mundane stuff - like trying to breathe, or spit without getting it all down my chin, but I was determined to have  a bit of a look at Faside as we went by. It must be over 35 years since I've been up close to it (maybe longer).
Certainly larger than I remember. I do remember, as a kid, out bramble picking with my dad and brother and we met the bloke who had bought it with a view to renovating. He'd "gone to the 'local school', don't you know"... well, Loretto. Which, to be fair was a school (still is) and it is local - it's just not the one that the locals went to.
In those days Faside was little more than three crumbling walls and no roof, so, to be fair to him, he did do a nice job of the renovation. Lucky he did it when he did. These days he'd have Kevin McCloud poking his nose in every two weeks moaning about the "unsympathetic steel joists" or what-not.
Sadly we didn't actually run round the castle - just turned in front of it.
A really nice spread had been laid on for us at Meadowmill, so a nice feed and a natter with others afterwards was a nice way to spend a Sunday lunchtime.
Instead of a traditional "entry fee" for a race. Everyone came along with a gift-wrapped prezzie and after the race a "raffle" of sorts was held.
I came away with a nice bottle of "chocolate lovers" wine. Handy.

Saddened by the news, last week, of the passing of Dave Brubeck. So, as well as catching up on new jazz this weekend, I've been having a wee bit of a "Brubeck tribute" going on in the house. Wonderful pianist who led a truly great quartet.
I do like "Take Five" but it's one of those tunes that has become so iconic it's over familiarity has slightly diminished it.
I'm really enjoying the "Private Brubeck Remembers" album - a solo piano collection of wartime songs, recorded in 2008. The playing is wonderful and you really get the sense that these tunes were very personal and meant a lot to him. If you want to remember hi as the leader of a great quartet - I recommend "Jazz: Red Hot and Cool". It does exactly what they say on the tin.

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