Friday, 30 August 2013


Ah well. Back from Italy - and wish I wasn't (wasn't back that is).
Loved it.
Weather was pretty much perfect. People were great. Food was out of this world. Scenery was fantastic, and even the travelling there and back wasn't [too] bad.

Managed to get out for about a 6.5 mile run every day we were there. With the exception of two days - one day when we had a rest day all together and the last day when we only did 3.5 miles.
So. No really serious running, but enough to stave off the potential damage of days of pasta, cake, espresso and ice cream!! We actually found a nice 6.5 mile route that went along the shore of the lake from Stresa to the next village and back. So we just stuck with that every day. I know doing the same run can get a bit tedious - but when its only for 11 days and your running past such nice scenery it's not too much of a chore!

As luck would have it, there was a race in Stresa - the week after we left! How bad was that timing?

Now that I'm back though it's time to get the head into serious training mode for the York marathon in October. So.. long runs here I come.

Prada shoes in Milan - check out the soles - better than Mudclaws!!

Thursday, 15 August 2013


One of my favourite runs of the year last night.
Again we were kindly invited by HELP to join them for the annual Carfraemill to Gifford run (note: its not a race).
Met up outside the Goblin Ha’ in Gifford after six then we got bussed to the start just outside the Carfraemill Hotel.
Conditions were perfect last night and a nice change after the torrential rain that we had last year.
It wasn’t too warm or muggy, what little wind there was was in our favour for the whole route – and it was dry.
Set off as a group for the first mile or so, but I soon found myself drifting off the front of the field (not racing – just “drifting off the front”).
It’s about two and a half miles on a nice tarmac road through the hills before you get to the first climb just after Dodcleugh.
From there it’s a couple of miles up and over the Lammermuirs on a mixture of paths, tracks and rocky roads.
Because it’s been a dry summer though the paths were all very firm and the running was fairly easy.
The view when you get to the top of the climb, between Lammer Law and Bleak Law, out over the Forth towards the Bass Rock is fantastic – but if your seriously “not racing” you probably won’t have  a lot of time to admire it.
Managed to do the downhill sections a bit more easily this year (again because the paths were dry and in good condition). Then when you get to about Longyester it’s a really nice, and really fast, gentle descent from the foothills into Gifford. On this part last night I really felt good and just couldn’t get any quicker.
Got back a couple of minutes quicker than my “PB” for the route (can or “should” you have  a PB for a “not a race”?).

Evening was rounded off with a really nice meal in the Goblin Ha’. It's recently changed hands and, if last nights meal was anything to go by, I can heartily recomend it.

Thanks to the guys at HELP.




Did a very slow and very stiff “daft o’clock” recovery run this morning. Shuffled along Seafield Road like an old man.

Looking forward now to some serious LSSD runs (Lombardy, Slow, Sedate, Distance). Nothing serious just enough to negate the pasta, risotto and pizza intake).

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


Saturday saw us head off into Edinburgh for the best part of the day and, given that we commute into "the toon" 5 days a week anyway, that's not something we do very often.
But we were off to the Foodies Festival at Inverleith Park.
Great fun. If your unfamiliar with the concept of a "Food Festival", but your a runner then the best way to describe is like a large marathon expo .............. but for fatties.
To be fair not everyone there was a fatty, but they certainly were well represented.
Stall upon stall of food producers, manufacturers, distributors and what not - all of whom seemed to be offering free samples of their produce.
I dread to think how much cake, chocolate, biscuits and cheese I ate while we were there. And for those who "indulge" there was a fair bit of free booze to be had as well.
Like a marathon expo, as well, not only were the producers there to show you things - no, no. They were there to sell them as well. Came away with a few things.
Anyhoo. Because we were "in Edinburgh anyway" we also popped along to Crammond and finally took part in our first Park Run.
Quite enjoyable. Very "quick" course. Very well organised and a massive field (425 !). Might be another three years or so before I get round to doing another one, but enjoyed it all the same.
Did an 18 mile LSD on Sunday to try and run off the excesses of the festival. Enjoyed that run too - though I did remember how frantic the normally quiet lanes round us can get at harvest time! About three times I had to dive off the road and into a hedge to get out of the way of a speeding tractor. These guys stop for no one!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

You must look like a big girl - It's the Law!

Three mile race last night.

Strange split times:
Mile 1: 6:13
Mile 2: 12:09
Mile 3: 5:30

Fairly happy with mile 1 – and delighted with mile 3. But oh dear oh dear, what went wrong with mile 2?
I’ll tell you what. Somebody put a sodding big lump of rock in the middle.
Yes. With splits like that it could only be the North Berwick Law race. An event I have a love/hate relationship with.
I love the atmosphere of the event. I love the support that is always out on the high street (especially as you come back through the park and onto Quality Street for the last sprint home). I love the fact that all sorts and all ages give this race a go, and I love the fact that afterwards a wee section of North Berwick in and around the Ship Inn and the chippy is pretty much taken over by runners for a bit.
But. I hate running down hills (not that keen on the "up" bit either). And for some reason I ALWAYS get cramp in my calf muscles when I finally get down off the Law. This year, to be honest, the cramp didn’t hinder me too much and only slowed me slightly for a wee while – rather than bring me to a complete halt, as it has done in the past.

Probably not a good thing to say to either conservationists types or “traditional” hill running types, but you’d think the council could build a nice gentle spiral pathway (or even better a road) up the hill J

Spot the Big-Girly-Wuss
I made my usual embarrassing “Princess Tippy Toes” type descent while orderly queues formed behind me to get by. Luckily I managed to pick it up a bit towards the end and clawed back a few places as well as a little of my dignity.

Anyway. 2 minutes quicker than last year’s pathetic effort.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Did not enjoy my early morning run today – at all.

Horrible experience. Just felt tired, drained, lacking energy, lacking enthusiasm and generally weighed down with a heavy load of “couldn’t-be-arsed”. Shuffled along towards Seafield feeling as though I was having to actively force each and every footfall.
Hate when that happens, but always grateful when it’s “only” a training run.
Couple of thoughts:

I’ve been over training (maybe). Averaging about 65-70 miles  a week at the moment. And yesterday’s two runs added up to just under 20.
Didn’t have enough “fuel” – maybe two Weetabix isn’t enough.
Too much non running related crap on my mind. I often use running to flush all the crap out of my mind/system/karma/whatever but sometimes it just builds up till you need something heavy duty to flush it out.

North Berwick Law Race tonight - better try and self administer a large dose of "buck up" before then. 

Talking about bad runs - Interested to see THIS ARTICLE about a new “temporary tattoo” that supposedly warns runners in advance if they are about to “hit the wall”. Interesting, and I’m sure all the gadget freaks will want them, but I don’t think it’s really for me.

Sunday, 4 August 2013


At last - a use for potatoes.

It's the first weekend in August, so that can only mean one thing. Yes indeed...yesterday was the Innerwick Horticultural-Flower-Baking-Craft-Country Show.
Which roughly translated means that out kitchen was a hive of activity on Friday night and the early hours of Saturday morning.
Flour was sieved, butter was melted and icing was - well whatever it is you do with icing.

Anne had decided to really "go large" this year and was entering 10 events. It would have been 11 events but slugs got to her "prize" cabbage on Friday night - just before she went out to bring it in!!

Anyway. 10 events and, if you'll forgive me for using the word as a verb, she managed to "podium" for 7. Including 4 firsts, 1, second and 2 thirds. So not a bad day's work.

Importantly first were obtained in the sponge (chocolate: undecorated) event and the hotly contested "scones - cheese - 4 on a plate" event. Believe me, the judges at these things are tough. When they say "4 on a plate" that's exactly what they expect. Not 3, not 5 and not on a  tray, salver or a napkin! And God help the fool who try's to put a layer of icing on the top of their undecorated chocolate sponge.

Athletics could learn a thing or two from the tough regime of competitive baking circuit. All too often race marshals and organisers will turn a blind eye to the no mp3 player regulations.... these biddies would have you hauled off the race route, your name expunged from the list of starters and deliver a swift kick up the soggy bottom for good measure!

I was pleased to see some school kids had actually found a good use for potatoes. Personally I consider the potato as Satan's vegetable and unless it's immediately followed by the words "..and then throw it away" I never trust a recipe that starts with the words "take one large potato".

Sadly, the Bramble Jam only managed a 2nd this year. But 7 prizes is still a good haul.

I was out for my 17 mile LSD today and did notice that there appears to be quite a lot of fruit developing on the Bramble bushes. So who knows - perhaps next year.