Thursday, 28 February 2013


There are times I think I must have been born stupid.

Had a sore leg all week – since Devilla. To be honest it was niggly before Devilla, and I think it was a “throwback” to my “bears in the wood” incident last weekend.
Anyway. It’s the calf muscle. I can’t decide if it’s got a little “tear” or if it’s the tendon (if I hold the calf and make little circle movements with my foot I can feel a “squeaky” feel – which is my understanding of a symptom of tendon problems).
Whatever – anything over 7min pace is pretty sore …. So I’m sticking to slow, slow, slow for a bit. Certainly Lasswade would be a nonstarter for this weekend. The main priority has got to be getting it sorted for Alloa in a couple of weeks.
Loads of stretches seem to be helping. As is the liberal, and oh-so-smelly, application of Tiger Balm. I’m slathering it on that thick at the moment that it would probably best be applied by a trowel.
But it’s greasy. So, so greasy. You just have to wash your hands straight away. But in an office you have to go to the loo to do that. “Oh I’m here in the loo…may as well have a pee….”
No. No. Thrice “no”. Wash your hands FIRST!!! Muppet! Every time I use that bloody stuff - will I ever learn??

Sunday, 24 February 2013


Twas the clubs annual dinner/prize giving on Friday night. The Rocks in Dunbar was the venue and much fun was had by all. Indeed much food was had by all (or at least by me - by my standards there was). I even lowered myself to the level of going round all the tables at the end of the night and stealing the uneaten chocolate mints from the tables and scoffing them. Not drinking has led me to develop a really unhealthy sweet tooth, and I just "lost the plot" a bit and was trying to eat my body weight in minty chocolate.

Yesterday, I went out for a nice easy 18 mile slow run. Nothing too strenuous or quick - I didn't want to put too much strain on the legs. Try to keep them fresh for the race today.
Anyway. There I was bimbling along quite happily, when the old stomach started to get all bubbly and churning away as it tried to cope with so much food from the night before.
I tried to ignore it.... It just got worse.
Eventually I had to face facts - I was going to have to have a "Paula moment". As luck would have it I was passing some woods and thought "well, if it's good enough for the bears......." So I stopped the watch and took a quick detour. I found a bit with a gap in the fence between the woods and the road and went in.
What I didn't see, was the old fence just under the leaves where the gap was. Yes indeed, for about the third time this year all ready I came tumbling down!! Only I sort of "pulled" the calf muscle on the leg that I caught.
Nothing too bad and once back on the road I was able to complete my training run. But it was still a bit tight yesterday afternoon, so loads of Tiger Balm has been rubbed on since then.

Then today it was off for the Devilla 15K trail race. Due to pretty horrendous snowy conditions on the Edinburgh bypass and getting caught up in tail backs from an accident we were starting to doubt if we would even get there. Strange thing was though, once off the bypass ...the roads were clear and there was hardly any sign of snow at all.
We got there OK, but once we got our numbers and chip we only had time for the briefest of warm up runs.

Started near the front and soon found myself in a small group that included Peter Buchanan and Johnny Lawson of Portobello as well as Ian Sills. Rab Watson of Musselburgh had set off like a rocket and was ahead of us from the word go.
After about two miles or so Mr Lawson pulled away from us, passed Rab, and the next I saw of him was at the end.
Peter B of Portobello manages to ruin my photo opportunity.
The three of us, and a wee county runner, stayed pretty much together for the whole race.
More "off road" sections to this race than I remembered from last year. A couple of bits were very boggy, twisty, and riddled with tree roots. Not my strongest sort of terrain, and I think the knowledge that if I was going to lose any time to these guys it would be here sort of gave me the impetus to try that bit harder. I was much happier on the forest road sections.

I was aware that I was starting to put a little bit between me and them in the last mile or so, but I was teriffied to even look round to check. I just kept the head down and ploughed on.
In the last quarter of a mile I was aware that they (or someone) was gaining on me. As we got back into the grounds of the Police College and onto the road I heard a shout from Ian along the lines of "keep going Stuart". I did look round and saw a red vest hammering towards me (Willie from Musselburgh).
Luckily managed to hold him off.
Came in in 58:18. Seventh overall and good enough to blag third vet so delighted with that.

Anne had a good race as well and was 5th in her category and, as part of all the prizes was beer, she's well set up with bevvy now.

Friday, 22 February 2013


………. Or, indeed, sit and chomp their way noisily through toast, muffins, croissants or other bready products.


Try getting out your beds 10 minutes earlier and eating breakfast in your own time (and your own home) – you lazy bastards.

Maybe I'm just a bit bitter about getting up at sparrow-fart everymorning.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Things have been a wee bit hectic lately (job wise).
Or at least, hectic by my standards.
Anyway, not always getting out to run when I would like, or indeed for as long as I would like (“long” as in temporal and spatial). My new employer has a strict “zero tolerance” policy to alcohol and drugs – and I’ve no problem with that at all. However, it would appear that they also have a “zero tolerance” policy towards lunchtimes. Who needs lunchtime when there’s fun meetings to be had?? Well… me for one.
So. With luck the situation will settle soon and even if I don’t resume my “usual” routine I can at least develop and settle into a “new one”.
Not saying I’m unique and I’m sure my circumstances are the same as thousands of others. It’s just another of those annoying instances where everyday life gets in the way of running.

Because last weeks mileage was low I tried to compensate at the weekend by going out for a couple of long un’s (Saturday and Sunday). The beautiful weather we had certainly helped there. Sunday’s run especially, an 18 miler that took in Spott, Biel and West Barns, was fantastic. I lost count of the number of runners, cyclists and walkers that I passed. I think the good weather really brought everybody out.
I will have to go for a long run this Saturday, but unfortunately I’ve got the Devila 15K on Sunday. I hope that if I take it easy on Saturday I won’t knacker myself too much.

I’ve finally got my bike set up and out on the road. The plan is to get long runs in at the weekend and then, if weather and time permit, try to get out on the bike as well.

All of this is fun …… but it does eat into my quality “me time” – i.e. trying to get my arse to take root to the sofa while listening to jazz and reading.

Friday, 15 February 2013


Wednesday night saw us set off for a bit of an unusual race.
A night time 10k trail race through Dalkeith Country Park. Obviously haed torches were obligatory.
We turned up with WAY TOO MUCH time to spare and spent about 40 minutes sitting in the warmth of the car, looking out at the rain and thinking “what in the name of ‘arse’ am I doing this for?”. Certainly not good physical warm up for a race and not the best mental preparation either.
However, as the race time loomed we got out of the car with enough time to give me a couple of miles warm up along the first part of the route.
The race was along pretty well defined paths and forest roads and was well marshalled and sign posted. The going was pretty wet (obviously) but to be honest the muddy sections were pretty scarce (though brutal where they did pop up).
The rain did start to peter out just before the start of the race, but the first mile or so of the race had us running along to the ominious sound of thunder rumbling away over Dalkeith.
I started slowly and then just concentrated on picking my way through the field. Running in a group with head torches on is pretty easy as you get the collected light. If you dropped off the pace however, or tried to break away on your own, you soon realise that even the best head torch doesn’t give full visibility and there is always a bit of trepidation.
My splits however would suggest that as the race progressed I either got more confident or was just that cold and wet I wanted back – quick.
Came in ninth at 43:54. I was pleased with that. I had no idea what time I was going to get (never having done a race like that before) but I had assumed I was going to be slower. As you crossed the line you got a sort of “till receipt” type ticket that had your time on. Sadly it didn’t include your position. Likewise the online results don’t have categories either – pity.
Still. These are minor quibbles for what was a great race. Something different.
Great fruit cake at the end – muckle big doorstop wedges of the stuff.
I’d love to say that the course was beautiful…but I couldn’t see a bloody thing!

Sunday, 10 February 2013


I've had a bit of a "niggle" from my left knee for about a week. I'm pretty sure that its an IT band "problem" and I'm almost certain what's caused it.
When I "blootered" my knee the other week like most knocks it wasn't that sore when it first happened - I think the adrenaline just keeps you going.
However, the days immediately after the incident saw the knee "run-able", but a bit sore. So, I simply think that while I've been running I've been doing so in a bit of an unusual fashion to compensate. Not been aware of doing it - but I'm pretty sure that's whats happened.
The niggle really kicks in if I'm trying to speed down hill (so not really a problem for me then).

Anyway. Managed a 17 mile steady run on it yesterday and it wasn't too bad (though I did slather on some brufen gel afterwards).

Today I was helping out at the last leg of the Borders XC down at Galashiels.
Didn't see any of the race at all and hardly got a chance to talk to anyone, but from what I did hear the race itself was quite "challenging".
I was tucked away in Gala' Academy doing the results. They even got me my own wee office - The Deputy Head's to be exact.
I only hope the Deputy Head wasn't planning any TV recording - I had to unplug his Sky "Plus" box thingummy to get a socket for my lap top (I did plug it back in before I left). Poor bloke is probably planning on settling himself in for a busy week at work by watching today's rugby.
Because I was in a room on my own I think people were taking pity on me. Everyone who came in to get results or hand over sheets was bringing me coffee and plates of cakes.
By the time I left I was buzzing, after three coffees, two carrot cake cupcakes, two slices of millionaires shortbread and a couple of tray bakes!!

After that lot I HAD to get out a run when I got home, so after I'd posted the results on t' web I went out for 8 miles.
Started my run at about 4:30 and got back about 5:30 - and didn't really need the head torch! Yes folks the lights are getting a bit lighter.

Saddened last week to hear that Edinburgh is to lose all five HMV stores! I know I have been a critic of HMV recently and I won't really miss HMV as is, but it's a sad farewell to the HMV as was. The last nail in the coffin of the HMV of my memory.
When they actually used to sell proper music to people who wanted to buy it (I'm, struggling to find anything worthwhile in HMV these days).

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Today’s run took me past one of Leith’s Primary educational establishments. Though the concept of the juxtaposition of “Leith” and “Education” is a strange one.
Anyhoo. I was in a bit of a hurry. I had a good reason really for being in a rush. I wanted to go a bit of a longer run but, as I’ve not yet got the measure of my new paymasters and was keen to get back to work, the pace was abit quicker than I would have liked.
As I approached the holding pen of this particular school a colourful ball flew over the railings, into the traffic and over the road. It was lunchtime and all the kids had been released to allow the teachers time to have a gin or two, swallow some anti depressants or whatever else it is that they do to get through the day.
As I got closer I was met by the sight of rosy cheeked little urchins with faces pressed between the railings.

Haw! Mister! Goan get oor baw back.”

To whit I replied with a smile - “Sorry, can’t stop I’m in a hurry.”

To be countered by – “Away, ya’ miserable auld bastard”!!

Strange thing is….. he’s probably right.

Sunday, 3 February 2013


Much like one "year" tipping over into another "year", I normally don't get excited about "months". Generally I find the 1st of February pretty much the same as the 31st January, for example.
However, this time round I am more than happy to see the back end of January - what a pain in the arse four weeks that was!
January saw the protracted death throes of one contract I was involved in combined with the uncertainty of the TUPE process over to a new employer for the start of another contract.
The bad feeling, anger, frustration and general "couldn't-give-a-fuckedness" that this process has generated have all permeated into just about every aspect of my life.
February 1st saw me start my "same old/new job" with a new employer. And while things may not get better soon, they will at least, with luck, start to settle down and resolve.

Anyhoo. Moan over. What of things that matter?

Last week saw me put Old [T]rusty the bike into retirement. I've been thinking for a long time about getting a new bike, and decided that the time was "now".
Thing is, I've only got room for one bike. So what to get.
I don't really do cycling for "sport" as such, though I do use a bike for exercise when running is put on a back burner during times of injury. I certainly couldn't "justify" a good road/racing bike. While I would love, at some point, to get a racer the roads around my house are not conducive to narrow rims and tyres.
Neither do I go clattering about mountains and rocks on a a "propper" mountain bike with all the shock absorbing gubbins that goes with it was out.
I wanted something I can, hopefully, use to tap out thirty or forty mile runs (maybe more?), that has the gears I need to get me up and down the likes of "Starvation Brae" and can be hauled out of the shed "just to pop down to ASDA".
So...a hybrid it was. Picked it up on Tuesday. And I've still not had a chance to get out and play on it!! Maybe next weekend (though next Sunday's already spoken for - Gala XC duties).

Partly due to work but my running schedule has been all to pot lately. I'm just about keeping my weekly mileage at acceptable levels, but it's all very "bitty" with no real meat. So it was nice to get out for 11 yesterday then 14 today.
A strange wee run on Thursday though. I ran from my office in Leith to the train station, then from Dunbar Station to the house (a moderate run of two short legs).
During the Leith to Waverly section I had to run past two of Leith's many, many colourful local "characters" out walking their "dogs" (though sharks on legs would be a better description). The kind of "characters" who should be, quite honestly, rounded up and shipped off somewhere remote and isolated for "special" treatment.
These two were gleefully watching their respective staffies try to tear lumps out of each other.... in the middle of the path I was trying to run along. Needles to say I stopped. Only to be informed by one of said characters, as though this was the most natural thing in the world, "aye. Jist run bye them pal. They'll no bother ye." Helpful advice, I'm sure, but I still waited till the furry whirlwind of muscle, jaws and teeth had made its way into some bushes and was out of sight before I set off, at speed, to get away, before their interest in each other changed into a mutual interest in me!!