Sunday, 28 May 2017

time out

After a frenetic week, and with more of the same on the way, it was very nice to be NOT RACING this weekend. Just taking it easy doing a couple of relaxed runs and enjoying the balmy weather. Very pleased not to be chasing times in any of the EMF races, although I wished I had maybe followed Scott H's daftness and got an entry for all 4 EMF events. He completed the 5k, 10k, half and full marathon over the 2 days. Now there's an interesting challenge! Well done Scott, who was motorbiked between half and full. Impressive stuff! (Wonder if they give discount on multi-entries - they are not known for their discounts.)

Anyway, we avoided all the EMF stuff and instead went for an early run on Saturday to Gullane. Jason gave us the heads up about a low tide, knowing we are fans of the mysterious land beneath the sea that occasionally appears when the moon is sucking all the water out. Low tide was about 10.30am but even with the best will we didn't get to Gullane till about then, and the boss said the route was to be down past Dirleton to Yellow Craigs. So it was about an hour later when we eventually saw the water.

Speckled Wood
first one of the year

On the way there we ran through the woods between Dirleton and Yellowcraig. A couple of brown butterflies swirled and swooped and I stopped to see if they would land. I had expected Meadow Browns or something commonplace but they turned out to be Speckled Woods and one landed low in the sunlight. This was a rare treat as they tend to stay up higher in the trees, although the males will swoop and swirl round each other debating territory. And land in sunlit spots in warm weather. I had the big camera so had to creep up slowly as I was limited to x3 zoom. It sat for just long enough to get a half decent shot and I was very pleased. Although they are supposed to be common, they aren't that easy to catch in a photo. 

matching vest and toilet walls at Yellowcraigs funfair mirrors

They have replaced the previous info board
(with badly drawn deer) with this much nicer one.

tide marks 

There were a few other butterflies out and about. I had expected loads given several days of sunshine, but I think the coastal breezes kept them inland. We drove past a few on the way down and I was even able to identify several Orange Tips (all white jobs with orange tips on their forewings) from the car. But I haven't got close enough to any this year so far, for photos. Like the whites they are skittish and tend to fly off or not land near humans. If they are going to be that stand-offish I am not chasing them through 6 fields, since they are relatively common.

Lamb, Craigleith and a ghostly Bass Rock

On the way to the beach Mary caught her foot on a hidden stump and clattered to the ground like a sack of tatties. It looked sore (skinned knee and shoulder, bruised ribs) and she took a minute to gather herself. More aches to add to the list. Non-smiley emoji.

So we eventually got down to the beach at Archerfields. This was one of only about 2 or 3 times we have been able to walk to Eyebroughy without swimming the usual channel of water. We resisted though as the sand at the water's edge was heavily rippled and the ripples filled with sea. Neither of us had other shoes and socks for the trip to Tesco's afterwards so we veered inland. It may have been because we were still a bit tired from the weekend of the marathon but neither of us felt the excitement or mystery of the low tide we had enjoyed previously. It was warm and although there was cloud building was nearly ideal conditions. I'm not sure what was lacking. But both of us were happy to leave the beach and go through the woods to check on the frog pond and see if there was any sign of frogs. Nope. Just tadpoles, in the diminishing puddle that was fast drying out. 

Showing how far out to sea we went (edge of lowish tide)
(Suunto was turned off while paddling.)

Apart from the Speckled Wood the best part of the run was a paddle to refresh tired legs. I wasn't that keen as it is tricky to get socks and shoes back on without a ton of sand in each sock; but actually it proved well worth it. The water was comparatively warm - I would happily go in sans wet suit at that temp for about 15~20 mins. And legs and feet were zinging as we left the beach and headed up to the woods.

the tricky bit: getting feet back into shoes without beach

pine cone heaven

The early start meant we got the shopping done and back home in time for.... well, in time for my mum calling and asking could I visit because she had left her pills downstairs and she was in bed upstairs. It's like she has been smoking stronger dope and comes and goes. I cycled round and sure enough she had forgotten to take Friday's pills resulting in sickness Saturday. I made her some tea and toast in bed then got her downstairs for a meal to replace the one she had lost earlier. By the time I did the dishes and left she was practically straight. I waited for the thrashing rain to stop then cycled back through Inverleith Park where they were still playing the game of cricket I had passed earlier. Did they break for the downpour or stand out in it? There was no nearby shelter so I suspect they toughed it out.

Next day and happily after a good night's sleep most of Mary's aches had receded to the point where she was up for a small run round Holyrood. Lots of detritus from the EMF but no runners. Bottles and gel wrappers and discarded t-shirts. 

Even on basic runs like this one - a lap of the Queen's Drive - I always carry the camera. Especially as the sun was out and you never know what you'll find. Halfway round the road Mary pulled up for a breather at this bench, overlooking Duddingston Loch and views East to Porty and S. West to the Pentlands. In a moment we were joined by a special visitor who checked us out then hung around even though we didn't have any handouts. Almost entirely fearless it came within touching distance and if we had had mealworms I'm sure it would have hopped onto our hands. (Must get some mealworms.)

robin on fence

He (or she) was so obliging; coming SO close and sitting still that I had trouble taking photos in focus and framing them properly. I then got distracted by the scarlet plummage of a Cinnabar Moth. It was not so obliging and I chased it for 60 yards taking many photos and only getting one or 2 usable ones. It wouldn't sit still for a second and constantly fluttered about. There seemed to be at least a couple of them. I presume they are related to the similarly coloured Burnet Moth, another group of spotted daylight moths that appear for a couple of weeks mid-July but are not so flighty.

Now with a million moth pics in the camera, and the moths fluttering off, the robin came over to see what the fuss was about. Again it sat very close by and let me shove the camera in it's face, taking note of the camera settings and making suggestions. I didn't panic this time and got better shots.

shout out to Caroline Kaye
you dropped your EMF envelope - pretty sure it will still be there - near start at the Palace

queen's tiles

Mary was kind enough to take a Ride On photo for my Grindr profile pic.

summer sessions

Well Summer arrived this week and lasted at least 3 days. Like the sun I have been out and about too. A couple of days no running after the marathon although plenty bike miles; 12 to work and 12 home from a painting job beyond Balerno and with quite a hectic altitude profile. Then on Wednesday, I fought the mara-lassitude and shuffled up to Clubbo. I was so fatigued on the way up the road I accepted a lift from Fen Fen who was idling at the lights. I thought I might have to shuffle back home but somehow managed to get the legs ticking over and did a decent workout with Craig's group 20mins out the Innocent Railway and 20 back. Legs weren't too bad; I think the daily bike commute had ironed out some of the aches.

It probably helped that several folk on Wednesday were saving their legs for EMF activities this weekend and so I wasn't left trailing behind. Thursday's bike-commute suffered but with the sun blasting down I was inspired to go along to Carnethy intervals in Holyrood. As Jim H wrote on the weekly invite... "Sunshine! If you're not on Arthur's Seat tonight, then you need to start questioning what you're doing with your life." I have checked the team photo below and hard as I try, I can't see Jim's smiling face. Last weekend he had a big task, running the Scottish Islands Peaks Race in a pair with Graham N which is quite a bit of pressure. Glad to see they survived the 60 hilly miles, and even seemed to enjoy it, though no explanation has been forthcoming about the picture of a pat of butter. Probably something nautical.

the gorsaromas and insects were filling the air 

Gio was spotted on a far horizon
legging it up towards the summit like a flippin' gazelle

Fergus keeps us on our toes by inventing a different torture each week. This time we did the broad grass path from Dunsapie towards the summit. Two 4 minute reps to warm us up, though we were already sweating from the run to Dunsapie. I find the long reps worst so was glad to get them out the way. There was a family group picnicking around the 2minute mark and I tried not to drip too near them. It was a fabulous evening for a picnic. It's never really a fabulous evening for intervals but it crams about 2 hrs of training into 40minutes so is a lazy person's answer to run-improvement. 

The dazzle was an extra bonus this week. Heading up the hill we were blinded by the sun. After the first 2 laps we dropped to 2 minute reps which should have been half the pain, twice as easy. Oddly they weren't. I think the pace might have been increased since it was now so easy. If you think 2 minutes is hardly any time at all, boil the kettle and put your hand in for this long. 

Fergus - his fault.

soaked shirt, fly in corner of eye, temperature and heart rate dangerously high.

lovely evening for a picnic

Was it three 2 minute reps? Then four one minute reps. Hardly worth bothering with the 30 second reps. Mind you time seems to stretch as you look at your watch and it says you still have 12 seconds of joy before you can stop. You run on, past a bright eyed baby who is taking it all in and can't quite work out why running up a steep hill is better than a picnic. It's not. But it does make your dinner taste amazing when (if) you get home afterwards. Still 6 seconds to go. How can that be?

Fergus relented and let us off with just three times 30secs. It should have been 5 but we were all melting. One dude I was running behind, I could see the water running out him down his arms and dripping off his fingers. I lost about a stone in fluids. I took a team photo at Fergus' request and then he took one with me in it both of which I have combined below but due to him being taller and holding the camera at a different height there are inconsistencies of car and kerb and third person in from the right. Anyway we are all there* apart from Jim who is probably back in his office questioning his life choices. 

*Also Eóin didn't do the session despite being in the photo at the start. He had also done the SIPR and was still recovering. The jog home is always a pleasure after such an intense session. In fact pretty much anything and everything is a pleasure by comparison. And there is the anticipation of the bottle of water in the fridge. Must remember to pump the tyres up and try to pb the cycle commute. Best way to pass the hour it takes cycling out to Balerno and continuing out the West Lanark Road. Which in turn makes the sandwiches at lunchtime taste great. And when my head touches the pillow at night I am out cold in about 10 seconds. Hope the Summer lasts!

What a night!