Monday, 30 December 2013


Entering week 2 of the festive holidays and I'm getting pleasantly stuck in a nice sort of self imposed "rut".
Long breakfast while watching another episode of Breaking (min; 10 miles) and episode of BB. All the while getting down to some new and old favorite jazz tunes. Why can't it be like this all the time? About the most pressing thing I have on my mind at the moment is...will the postie deliver season 5 of BB before I finish season 4?

I say week 2 of the "festive" holidays but, truth be told, as far as I'm concerned the "festive" season is over. I can't really get into the whole two-day, tartan bedecked, teuchter inspired, hogmany fest that sees Scotland plunged into an alcohol dependent state of lock down. I't a crock of shite.

I enjoy getting out running at this time of the year. Though the weather, while never stopping me, hasn't exactly been kind this year. We seem to get one calm, blue skied day every three days or so. While the remainder are defined by wind and torrential rain.
I'm sure most homes, with two or more runners in, are the same but our kitchen seems to be strewn with shoes in various stages of "sodden" crowded round the heater, running jackets hanging all over the place and kit resting on top of the laundry basket for a while because it's even too wet to go in it!

I've been a bit "troubled" by a pretty constant sore head over the holidays. Nothing too bad. Just a niggle. Too much chocolate and coffee? Perhaps.
But then, I've also been having a bit of bother reading the subtitles on the telly etc.
God alone knows why it took so long to dawn on "spare" specs that I've been wearing for a few weeks are about 4 years and 2 prescriptions old (I sat on my "good" specs)!
Need to get that rectified soon. Do opticians have "January sales"??

Friday, 27 December 2013


Well that's the two day food fest it's time to get back into a more sensible regime.
Not easy when everywhere you look there seems to be jars and boxes of sweets stored away.
Ah well. Just be strong and resist (sort of).

Still managing my self imposed plan of ten miles a day. Finished my run today and the weekly mileage on the old Garmin had just tipped over into the 70 mark.. so all is well.

I love this time of year and I love getting into this sort of a routine. Long leisurely breakfast .... ten or so mile and cake ....then the rest of the day filled with getting myself acquainted with my new jazz acquisitions and reading.

Managed to time today's run so that I got caught in the worst of the wind and rain when I was about half way round. Is there a nicer way to spend a day off then getting soaked to the skin and frozen stiff? Well...yes probably, but if your a runner it's "what we do". Got strange looks from a crew of council workers who were out trying to clear a bit of flooding on a road down by Innerwick Castle (blocked drain I think). They were all decked out in their bright yellow waterproofs and boots. I came round the corner in a pair of shorts and a flimsy Gortex jacket and just ran through the patch they were trying to clear. Unusual though to find a five yard long, three inch deep stretch of "flooding" and their wasn't a BBC film crew to capture the horror - probably all too busy "down south".

We had a couple of weeks "break", while we caught up with some specifically "festive" DVDs and telly programs, so it's also nice to get back to our "Breaking Bad" fest. Now onto season 4 and looking to buy the last two box sets fairly soon.

Got a 10 CD box set of Paul Bley albums so I'm trying to get through that. It's a set of his work that he recorded for the "Soul Note" and "Black Saint" labels in the eighties and nineties. Nothing too "out there" in this collection.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013


Out today for 13 miles. Didn't do too well .... and the reason I didn't do too well was the very reason I went out for a bit of a longer run in the first place.
I had, you see, two options. I could go out for a bit of a run - or I could sit in the house and watch the endless feckin' rolling news reports about the end of the world (A.K.A "a bit of wind and rain").
Now. I don't want to belittle the plight of anyone facing Christmas without power. But FFS could the BBC be anymore over the top? Even the fictitious newsreaders in that bloody awful "end-of-the-world-disaster-movie" The Day After Tomorrow were a bit more calm and relaxed than the BBC.

Is it just me, or do the media have a tendency to "over egg" it these days when there is moderately bad weather? And just because this is all happening the day or so  before Christmas you'd be forgiven for thinking that it really is the end of the world. Doesn't help that with the usual BBC bias it all seems "so much worse" because it's happening "down south".

Anyway. Made running a bit more difficult today. Decided to head over by Spott, Burnhead and Pitcox before heading back up Starvation Brae into a head on gale. Once or twice I nearly came to a complete halt.

Still it felt good to be out fairly early. I don't feel so guilty afterwards as I loaf about the house. Got a few books I've been saving till the holidays and decided to make a start on the latest Rebus by Ian Rankin ("Saints Of The Shadow Bible"). Fantastic stuff.

Sunday, 22 December 2013


Out for the same 11 mile run yesterday and today.
I'm a man with a plan at the moment.
The plan is simple. That's me off work now till the new year (6th to be exact), and I plan to go out every day for ten miles or so. No doubt Christmas day's run will be a wee bit shorter - but I'll just tag on a few miles here and there in the days before and after.
Not only does my "plan" allow me to [hopefully] fill my face over the festive period without too much damage, but it SHOULD mean that I will end 2013 having done 365 runs.

I've been very luck the last two days - I've managed to find a nice window in the weather to do my run.
Maybe a bit windier than I'd like but what the hell.
Weather forecast isn't exactly great for the next day or so but I'll just try to adjust to the conditions.

Decided today that I was going to take a camera with me on my run. There is a field about 5.5 miles into the run that is home to three [not so little] pigs. Every time I pass it brings a smile to my face.
They seem to be quite inquisitive and, I think, must associate "people" with being fed, as every time I pass they come trotting up to the gate.

Thing is there used to be four of them! But latterly? Only three. There used to be a really big one with ears that flopped over her eyes :-(

I hope all you people out there who are NOT enlightened vegetarians feel guilty as sin on Wednesday when your tucking into your chipolata sausages covered in bacon!!

Friday, 20 December 2013


Last nights club night was a good night. Instead of the usual intervals, "coach" Ian had promised us something "festive".
Hint's were given that a "quiz" of sorts would be involved. I must admit that I was a wee bit cynical (no change there then), and had visions of 400m intervals being punctuated by "Mastermind" type general knowledge questions. Or some sort of running based derivative of "Pointless".
It was neither. Each participant was given a list of questions all with a Dunbar theme and we had to run around Dunbar to find the answers before heading back to hand in our sheets to quizmasters Ian and Frank.
You could find the answers in any order you wanted. So I spent a couple of minutes looking at the questions before heading off on my quest.
There were questions about the Bleachingfield, Belhaven Brewery, Black Agnes etc. etc. Anyway, I "planned" my route and headed off full of intentions about "not taking it too seriously"...... till I was about two minutes in and the old competitive chip kicked in.
All in all I think I maybe covered about 4 miles (wasn't wearing my GPS) and the pace wasn't too bad. Though constant stops to fill in my answer sheet kinda' broke the pace a bit.
Got back to Hallhill to find a few folk already back - so it was pretty obvious I hadn't won. And then found out I'd got an answer wrong anyway! Question - "What year did they start playing bowls at Dunbar Bowling Club?" - my answer 1913. No. That's when they started playing bowls at West Barns Bowling Club. Not only did I get the wrong answer I probably added about a mile on to my route just to get the wrong answer! Muppet.

Anyway. Good way to end the years club training.

Sunday, 15 December 2013


Well. My plan to take the pace down a bit has been thrown a helping hand this weekend. In the form of gales - "howlin' gales" to be precise!
Oh Lordy. Yesterday's run was the worst - only a nine miler but the route I had [foolishly] chosen saw me head out with the wind in my back - nice. Only to then turn and face four and a bit miles of slow, ponderous, drudgery as I fought my way home - at time I felt as though I was running on the spot. Should have tried to head out into the wind then try to get the wind in my back for the return trip!
It was also, despite the wind, unseasonably warm. I'd foolishly worn a jacket and by the time I got back I was cookin'.
The wind "peaked" yesterday though. So this morning's run - while still uncomfortably windy - wasn't quite as bad. Managed about 12 today.
The hardest part of any run in this weather is the ten yards from the shoe rack to the front door ...once I'm out of that section it's never too bad.

But I did say I would slow down a bit - so I shouldn't complain too much. Soon be on holiday and I plan to go out every day for about nine or ten. Give the weekly mileage a wee boost.

Thursday, 12 December 2013


I’ve wondered, for some time now, if I am what you might call a “justified hypochondriac”. Quite often I “feel” as though there’s something wrong…and more often than not I’m correct.
I feel at the moment as though I’ve got some digestive “problem” that’s hovering about the periphery, but refusing to become “full blown”.
Other than a slight feeling of nausea, and one brief, but horrible, episode of projectile vomiting on Monday's run up the water of Leith it’s not really coming to much. I always thought that this norovirus didn’t really come in “gradations” – I thought you had it, or you didn’t – now I’m not so sure.
I am wondering though if it’s affecting the running. Not had a very good week. I’ve been trying to keep the pace down this week anyway but even so, I feel as though I’m really having to push harder this week (even to get round slower) and the heart rate readings are all a bit up. I have though been taking “sensible precautions” – I’ve been out running with a wad of toilet paper under my hat!
Whatever it is I wish it would sod off. Strange thing though is that it isn’t affecting my appetite much!

Monday, 9 December 2013


Got home on Friday……..and the power was on!!! Hurrah! AND – much more importantly my septic tank overflow pump hadn’t “tripped” and was still chuntering away quite happily.


Saturday morning brought some sad news though… Stan Tracey – the Godfather Of British Jazz, had passed away on Friday afternoon.
He was 86 and hadn’t been keeping well for some time.
So Saturday was a bit of a Stan Fest’ in our house. With my music player constantly playing some of my favourite Stan Tracey albums.
As some might know I’m not a huge fan of the modern habit of getting festive too early, but I made an exception and even gave last years “A Childs Christmas” a spin.
Sad to think there might never be a “new” Stan Tracey album to look forward to. However, with a bit of luck there might be some unreleased stuff out there.


Sunday was the club’s annual Festive Half and 10k runs, and I had, as usual, elected to give the half a bash.
The morning dawned dreech, windy and surprisingly mild. Conditions were not ideal.
Got down to Hallhill to be greeted by the sight of Santa, Mrs Claus and two reindeer already in the building ready to go. Great that so many turn up in fancy dress for this event (maybe next year).
The run itself was tough – VERY tough. Wind in our faces all the way out to the North Berwick road, then the long drag up to Lawhead.
At least on the way back I was able to push it a bit and get the pace up. 1:24:24 - happy with that.
After the race it was back into Hallhill for soup and sandwiches. Good fun.
Best bit about it? Well…as far as I’m concerned that is the last “hard effort” run I intend to do between now and Auld Years night, when I’m planning on doing the club’s Black Bun Run.
Up till then, and certainly over the holidays, I’m planning on distance, but at a nice easy pace. “Best laid plans” and all that.

Friday, 6 December 2013


Got home last night to find out we were without power! Quell surprise Scottish Power’s robust and hi-tech infrastructure had once more succumb to ferocious weather conditions.

I’m not really sure about scientific measurements for wind strengths etc. but it seems that any time the wind exceeds the ferocity of a coo fartin’ up a vennel our power is off.

So, we dodged about a cold dark house for a while before tootling off to the club. It was the first Thursday of the month – ergo the clubs 5k handicap race. Something to look forward to.

Got down. Got into the changing rooms. Started to get changed…..

ARSE !! I’d been a run earlier in the day – only to leave my shorts out to “air” on the back of my PC. I forgot to pick them up before I left work.

Two choices were open to me. I could go “Spartan” and run around the greater Dunbar conurbation with my tackle out. Or I could help Frank with the time keeping.

Sad to say time keeping won out.

Got home to find the power still off. So after about ten seconds of consideration we headed back to Dunbar and the comfort of the Pine-martin for our tea.
At least when we got back I was able to boil water on the camping stove to fill a couple of hot water bottles.

Got up this morning….still powerless! Feck.

So early into work today to get a shower before everyone else came in.

Wouldn’t have felt so bad if the shorts had perhaps combusted and burned the arsehole factory down – but no such luck.

Yesterday was not a day to remember fondly. As for today? Well its not over yet. I don't hold out much hope for Scottish Powers latest estimate of power being back on by 4pm. I also have this deep rooted dread that when the power is off for any length of time it's going to "trip" and flood the pump in the sceptic tank....... NOT how I want to start my weekend.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


Tuesday’s club run was a bit longer than as of late.
A few of us decided to go to the “other side” of the A1 and try a nine mile run rather than the six mile town run. The idea being that if Sunday was a race (XC – Peebles), then Thursday is the monthly 5k handicap and next Sunday is the Festive Half there is little point in throwing a fast paced six miler into the mix, as the town run always turns out to be pretty close to race pace anyway.
My weekly mileage has been dropping a bit lately anyway, so even a slightly longer run was welcome. I don’t know why a drop in mileage should worry me – I don’t have anything major planned for a while - …but it does. I get used to doing about 60 miles a week in the summer, and when it suddenly drops away I feel a bit bereft.


Out for a run this morning at “daft o’clock”. The wind, while VERY blowy, was nowhere near as bad as the apocalyptic ferocity predicted by the weather man.
It never ceases to amaze me though to see so many daft buggers trying to use umbrellas in high winds like that! Even if they didn’t blow inside out, or crumple, as they so often do, the rain is coming at you horizontally anyway!
Strange that while I was buffeted and battered along by the wind and struggled at times to keep myself being blown off the pavement, I really enjoyed the run! It was perhaps the slowest time I’ve ever gotten for that short route (Leith to Seafield Roundabout and back) but that really didn’t matter. Normally along that route I pass quite a few other runners, loads of cyclists and quite a few walkers (with and without dogs). But this morning there were hardly any – and yet everyone I did pass seemed to be more eager to acknowledge each other this morning.

Must be getting into a [very slight] festive Ipod started playing Dexter Gordon "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" ............and I didn't press next!

Sunday, 1 December 2013


This is getting to be a bad habit.
Looks like this is going to be another Sunday without wearing [proper] clothes.
As is our want on a Sunday we had a nice long leisurely breakfast. A nice blend of filling my face with croissants....looking at the Sunday paper ...and watching another episode of Breaking Bad. We're now half way through season 3 of BB and I am absolutely gripped! Am I the only one who's favorite character is Hank, the brother-in-law DEA agent?
Anyway. After our BB breakfast it was a quick shower then into the running gear and down to Peebles for he third leg of the Borders XC.
Went for a bit of a warm up with Ian and I was all too aware of tree roots and slippery rocks along by the river. I was, to be truthful, a bit nervous about the wisdom of doing this run. But, as so often happens, once you actually get into the race your mind just "closes down" on negative stuff like that and you get on with it.
An absolutely beautiful route. A riverside trail that takes you along by a nice converted castle, a picturesque viaduct crossing, a few nice paths through the woods and a lung-busting hill! I was trying to run all the way up the hill, but when I saw the guy ahead of me was "a" walking and "b" pulling away from me, I decided "sod it" and just walked as well.
Perhaps one of the longer routes in the series at about 4.3 miles.
While I enjoyed it, I'm quite happy to leave the "lumpy runs" aside for a month or so.
Anyway. Had to hang around till the end to collect the results. Then got home and processed them and put them on t'internet.
So... Given it was the back of 4 when I finally got round to having a shower and as it was already pitch black outside I thought ..."what's the point"? A pair of joggies and a fleece it is. If I'm honest I probably feel more "at home" in running gear these days anyway.
Time, I fear, to slip into that dark funk that is a Sunday night before a workday!