Thursday, 31 March 2016

nothing but complaints

I was late in getting out the blocks on Easter Monday. Kind of dicking around at home doing the blog and wondering what to do with the day. (Could've been my spirit guide distracting me until the best part of the day, late afternoon.) I settled on running up to Waverley and getting a train to Longniddry. From there I would run down to the coast, and along the trails to North Berwick. The wind would be behind me and I'd finish at Ben and Alison's for an Earl Grey and catch up chat before catching the train back. About 12.5 miles plus a couple travelling to and from the station. The afternoon was getting away from me and it was getting close to the 3.43 departure when I realised I had to throw some stuff in a pack and get up the road. When I left the flat it was 3.32. How did that happen? It's exactly a mile to the station. In my hurry I forgot to wear my Garmin. I didn't even take time to lock the door (my keys were in the bottom of my pack in a roll top dry sack) and it was every second counts to get to the station and buy a ticket. I bolted up the road faster than 7m/miling (up hill the whole way) and arrived breathing hard at the ticket machines. Luckily there wasn't much of a queue and I jumped onto the train with about 30s to spare. The legs felt surprisingly lively despite the marathon distance the day before.

That was the last of the sprinting for the day though. I got off the train and jogged down to the coast. The kite surfers were in the bay there doing their thing. I sat on a bench and took photos. They are keen to be out there in that cold draught, not to mention the frigid water. You could see spills of rainfall over towards Edinburgh. I hoped I would stay dry. 

I had a mooch around the magic forest.
I always carry a few sheets of kitchen roll in case I need a mooch in the woods.

Then on to Aberlady and across the bridge. It was sunny but also fairly chilly. I was stopping frequently to take photos. The clouds were set to epic with blue background making a good day for photos. The sanderlings were skipping about in the surf, frustratingly just staying out of reach, and running and flying off when I tried to catch their souls.

Edinburgh's gettin' it

run run run run fly

a rough count of rings suggested 60~100 years
something like a human span.

had the place to myself

wee boat's gettin' it

I was pleased with this photo; I've tried to take it several times without success.

As I came out the woods at the far end of Gullane the light was doing just the right things to get the enjoyable difference of sun and shade. Then (as the sun disappeared) my attention was caught by a deer standing maybe 30 yards away - which is very close for a deer. I was expecting it to bound off at great speed, but it carried on eating grass. I had to whistle to get it to look up. It noticed and went on pretty much as if I wasn't there. I was shakily taking loads of photos thinking these would be the photographic highlight of the day. I followed the path round the back of the deer then when it still showed no sign of fear I moved in to see just how close it would let me get. Sure enough it quickly put another 50 yards between us then stopped. It was only when I got home I could see on the monitor that the deer looked a bit scruffy; a youngster maybe and not in great condition - a bit scraggy around the head and neck. This tempered my enthusiasm for the shots and I felt a bit sorry for it.

someone upstairs doing epic clouds for Easter

an unusual angle over to the Pentlands from Archerfields

Fidra with the Isle of May behind

The last few miles into NB often feel long and arduous. Probably because they are often at marathon distance into the run and the Law makes you feel you are nearly there for the last couple of miles which are very samey. The golf course on your right and the beach on your left. However I must have got distracted, or maybe because it was only about 13 miles that very quickly I was in NB thinking I should have cut across the golf course sooner. It was great to see Ben and Alison. I cunningly arrived at dinner time and was given a piece of quiche and cup of tea! 

While all this (the weekend in general) was going on there were some tremendous results coming in. The Anglo Celtic Plate was held in Perth over 50k and 100k. Just in case there is anyone looking to enjoy the race they hold it round a 2.381k loop. So 21 laps for 50k and 42 for 100k. Ross Houston (Central) broke the longstanding Scottish record, winning the 31miler in 2.56.37 shaving 2secs off that record. (Equivalent to running a 2.29 marathon and continuing at the same pace for another 5 miles!) Ross Milne (Corstorphine) was third in 3.18.

First Scot over the line in the 100k was Robert Turner in third place. As training Robert ran a frankly alarming 40 miler: 10 miles in 75 minutes, then 20 in 140 minutes, then the last 10 in 65 minutes. This would kill (or worse) a mere mortal. And he ran a recent 10k of 33.23. I was fairly sure he would be doing something special in Perth and sure enough he ran 7.17.11. I think this is about 7.03 pace or just over 3hrs marathon pace for 2 whole marathons and a further 10 mile run. Just phenomenal. Marco was a minute 20 behind in 5th place. Congratulations to all who ran. Results here

And so we come to the latest well-known-deaths (WKDs). Almost suitable that Ronnie Corbet (went to my old school) and Zaha Hadid will be on the same flight. Quite a good double act if sitting next to each other. Zaha, for those unaware, is one of the few women architects I can name. Famous for curvey buildings and the stadium she designed in Qatar which was slated for looking like a vagina. Well yes it does a little, but no, that is NOT a bad thing surely? Less flattering (and less true) is the comment that it looked like a baboon's bum. And there was Garry Shandling, the american comedian (Larry Sanders Show) another in their mid60s who walked off stage for the last time. Strangely I felt sadder about his death than Bowie's, although I would say he contributed less! As that stadium was to Zaha, so was Ricky Gervais to Shandling. And it grew tiresome reading his name either in association with Shandling or Bowie. 

Other comedians who died recently (but only metaphorically) are Stewart Lee and Eddie Izzard. I have been a great admirer of both for quite some time but feel they both performed well below par in their recent and separate endeavours. I mention them together because I think they could benefit from swapping roles. Lee definitely needs a bit more exercise, and it may give him some better material. I used to be a huge fan and read his book which some found a bit long winded, but was amusing and in the manner of his series Comedy Vehicle. The most recent series, series 4 is dreadful. Either he has had a stroke or really no longer wants to be on tv. Chris Morris as mock interviewer reports it is the least successful series so far and that Lee is "pretending to be a genius" while Lee admits and agrees, in what I assume he hopes is a post modern way. What used to be gentle asides to a knowing audience has become mugging to a behind-the-camera audience in a horribly cringe-making way. What used to be a wry mix of near-poetry and melancholy with some amusing reflection has become banal and annoying ramblings, absent of punchlines or humour. He tells us this is deliberate. That he could do jokes if he wanted to. And pretends to be a genius, without actually displaying any. As an admirer I feel awful. The last 2 weeks have been unwatchable. I feel I have to hang in there but it's like watching a hero self destruct. 

Which was a very similar spectacle when Mr Izzard ran across S Africa for no real reason I could see other than he dnf-ed when he tried it 4 years ago. So this time he's lost a bit of weight and his entire sense of humour. He managed the run (spoiler alert) but only managed one joke - asking a cow or antelope or water buffalo for a contribution to his sport-aid fund raising. And he did that "joke" twice. Maybe it's just me, but I found this almost unwatchable as well. The camera persons tried to catch the spectacle, the insects, the storms and the scenery but close-ups of Eddie just looked like an old dishcloth shuffling down a dusty road in a very unedifying manner. Right it's for charity so you can't condemn it as bad, because it's for charity and it's a good cause. But it was shit "running" and shit tv. I don't know if Eddie has gone through the menopause or what but he spent the whole programme spent. And in pain. I saw some of the publicity saying such an old specimen will he make it? will he die trying? I mean he's so old. He is one year older than I am and I take offence at accusations of being over the hill in one's 50s. Although he did look over the hill. And then some. I know I should be admiring of him running all that way (and raising money for blah blah blah) and then squeezing out some tears at the big statue of the great man after a double marathon, but I think I would rather see him grab the mic out of Stewart Lee's hand and show him how to be funny. I saw Eddie Izzard 20+ years ago and laughed till I was nearly sick. He was gifted. He should definitely keep running as a hobby and find something else to do on tv. And maybe try Hokas for longer distance runs. Why did nobody tell him that? 

Monday, 28 March 2016

easter beasting

Religion is a great thing. You only need to turn the news on to see what happiness it is spreading throughout the world. Easter is a great thing, especially the 2 hour tv special on the queen at 90, that is probably my favourite bit. 

Sometimes the idealised and the actual don't match up.
Although the icing like bird shit might be a nest reference.

Saw those bakeries (did NOT buy any, has anyone noticed that 1 in 4 adults are OBESE and are not only killing themselves (which I don't really mind) but the NHS as well?) (and yet we celebrate this with Bake Off and other how-to-cook-rich-food-programmes, someone should have a word with that Nigella) at the end of the run I did with Mary on Saturday, a wee 5 mile recovery run, having done 22 in the Lammermuirs on Friday. We were both a bit hysterical: I think M was amped up on coffee as she was being pretty badly behaved...

And she refused to listen my complaints about who was doing what on facebook and why they were definitely in the wrong and why I should be letting them know. And there was singing. (Who do you think you are kidding Pontius Pilate, If you think old Jesus' dead.) 

Here is some art. 

It's really just my lunchbox from last week (on a tablecloth curated by the Hardies) but since it is WAY more beautiful than anything that the Fruitmarket Gallery have exhibited in the last year I thought I'd post it here. Maybe they could look and learn. Or they could just stick to poorly fashioned random lumps of wood and scruffily painted shite in crappy colours, hung poorly, which has become their modus operandi.

dirty crack of dawn
Sunday Run:
I decided to rise to the twin challenges of clocks-go-forward (what a BST) and Bert's Sunday Run. After being up late sorting out folk on facebook I had about 4 hrs sleep before the alarm went off in the middle of the night and I got up and ran up the road to meet Bert's gang at Gilmore Place. (I had passed up the opportunity to run 42 miles up north with Graham only reluctantly because the forecast for there was cold wet and blowy whereas locally it was allegedly better. Too far to go for a long day in harsh condition.) 

Pilrig St Church clock reading 2.18 about 6hrs slow
obviously the trauma of BST was too much for it as well.

The radiant baby Jesus barges onto the canal

I mis-timed the run up to Gilmore Place arriving a bit early. I was sure Bert had posted 9.15 as kick-off, so I did a wee tour of the area and took some photos but when there was no sign of anyone by 9.08 I just started running, thinking I'd got the venue wrong. In fact Bert had said 9.15 for a 9.30 start and so I was never going to catch up with them chasing them up the canal 20 mins early. Oh dear.

(Post your early morning shag jokes here.)

I hadn't taken a phone with me so couldn't phone Steve to see what my mistake was. He was busy phoning me to ask if I'd like a lift up the road. Anyway a run is a run. I ran up the canal to this bridge where I had the prospect of a run further out the canal (a bit samey) or head up the Water of Leith to the Pentlands. I thought I'd do the latter and the Harrison Park Sunday run seemed a good challenge. About marathon distance in total, running home afterwards. That'll do pig.

In the voice of Loyd Grossman "whose house is this?"
(Well the bit on the right at the end)

Breaking from the Harrison Pk route I decided to go up Poet's Glen - a far nicer option than Kirk Brae. There was a large pond I hadn't remembered and I wondered if it was a new edition or maybe just bigger with the winter rains. There was also this unfortunate frog. 

Splendid views from the top road of the Pentlands and the vistas down to the coast. However it wasn't weather for hanging around - very blowy and chilly and with lots of looming grey clouds. I ran up the road to the Rangers' lodge at Harlaw and along the trails to Red Moss where I did a ciruit of the raised boardwalk. Even in this drab weather it was pretty splendid. I was glad I hadn't committed to the run up North as the higher ground was very chilly and I didn't hang around before descending into Balerno and onto the WoL cycle path.

The dude on the left is thinking "I know him with the camera."
We have run E2NB and a couple of other races together although he was about half an hour ahead at Alloa.

more runners incl. Kenny G-R who said hello.

white chocolate caramel shortbread from Scotmid,
highly recommended, but only if you're doing more than 10 miles

Back onto the Water of Leith.
The magpie threw an Easter party for the mallards but only the pigeons turned up

The council will have to re-think their shoddy landslip repairs for the Dean Village.

I think some of the fuelling (Mrs.Tilly's orange fudge) worked magic as I picked up the pace towards the finish line, (as the small figures on the elevation map show,) the last 2.5 miles were 8 m/m, 7.27 and 7.14. To round it off nicely Mary cooked up some venison burgers and fried eggs.