Thursday, 24 July 2014


Last Saturday was Musselburgh 10k. I missed getting an entry but managed to get a transferred place from Helen (many thanks) then wished I hadn't bothered. The second below-par race of the week and plenty excuses along the lines of it was too muggy, and I ran shite. Ok, it wasn't a disaster but it wasn't the pb I was after and about a minute down on what I thought was possible. Very similar thing happened at Stirling 10k that year of moron-gate. Could be over-training or over-racing but more likely over-weight and a bit tired after a heavy week and not enough recovery and sleep. I'm just about over it!

Nicola was first lady though did not have a fine race: she nearly stopped due to a tight and sore hamstring which she is watching, with the European Championships (marathon) coming up.

Johnny had a good race. PB and this cup for first local.

The female first local cup is strangely smaller

Stuart Hay went past around half way (nearly 18mins and already doomed!) just after that taxing bit into the wind. Thought I might do some damage with the wind on our backs but the only damage was to my legs. I wore very light hill shoes for traction on the grass and not the usual Hokas. Which left my calves trashed. However I was pleased it was Stuart who put me into second v50 and hoped it brightened his day and maybe encouraged him to continue with his blog as he seems to have decided to call it a day. Which now leaves me as the grumpiest old fart in this neck of the woods.

photo Mary - I didn't even see Mary was out supporting and taking photos.

Just as well there isn't time in the day to complain about that opening ceremony, I could fill a few paragraphs with ill-judged complaints and sniping. I spent all day today rolling paint onto walls while going through the argument that we should be promoting contraception education rather than trying to better the lives of children who might otherwise die. Planet's not getting any bigger and all that. In the animal kingdom the gene pool stays strong because the weak do not contribute towards it. Then I realised most of my thoughts covering the Opening Ceremony and uniforms and why-are-we-doing-Live-Aid-and-Children-in-Need at a sporting event could be bracketed under the umbrella term Nazi. Which isn't always popular. This will come as no surprise to many of my campaigning friends on facebook. I am actually going to have to watch the opening ceremony again though, as I missed the first bit and it may have been just a tongue in cheek moment (John Barrowman with a transplanted scotch accent was certainly booked in for some tongue in cheek action) and maybe the whole kitch cheese thing was just poking fun at Scots Myths. Though it does seem an unusual platform on which to slag off the host nation dragging us through a pile of shit back into the dark ages. And the singing in american accents just part of the fun? And Irn Bru and tea cakes at a sporting event? I was left feeling the divide between Glasgow and Edinburgh was far wider than I imagined and sure enough them through there seemed to enjoy how amaturish and cheesy it was, while we through here peeked between our fingers in horror.

I have only heard of one person who liked Rod Stewart, (incidentally Rod was born and raised in London and is living in Essex, not Scotland,)(actually I thought he was dead and frankly there wasn't much evidence to the contrary last night) while countless billions asked WTF? Pretty much the same with SuBo although she is popular with the nursing home inmates who buy her supermarket cds by the trolley-load. And singing Mull ofucKintyre. That lovely and clever tune written by another non-Scot has-been. Is there no end to the stuff we shouldn't have been seeing here. But maybe all the good stuff was while I was out the room. (Taking sedatives.) I even stayed up to see how bad the Scottish attire would look, but by then it was long way off the worst thing of the night. In the flashing lights it was harder to discern the ill matching shirts and kilts though you could still clearly see the socks were the colour of cow pat shit flies. 27,000 people signed the petition to ban or change the outfit. That's probably more than will vote on independence. It wasn't just me and a couple of textile designers thinking those kilts don't go with that shirt. But on the larger stage they were not the worst thing by a long shot.

There is more (why flash mobs are the new small pox) but onto better and brighter things. Just in case I was suffering from over training I went for a long run on Sunday. That would sort it one way or the other. I caught the train to Longniddry and ran towards N Berwick via Aberlady.

Missed shot of the day.
I was going up the train (to avoid squawking children) and noticed this old guy nodding off incongruously beside "The Worlds Fastest Cars" and thought I've got to get a pic of that. (So Jim Ramsay, I know.) Anyway he woke up a bit as I returned and I missed the shot and for my sins had to sit near the squawking kids (American) and their Mom who was saying she was really annoyed when a stranger shooshed her kids loudly on the plane. No kidding? (To be fair they settled and robbed me of a punch line.)

What with all the foliage it was really monochrome in the magical woods

Big wide empty beach. Just down the road (Gullane and Yellowcraigs) it was hoaching. The mile from the car park makes the difference.

sand Picassol

annoyed I missed the focus on this one

Here is a shot I promised Ray that I'd rip off from him only it was such a while ago I forgot exactly what he posted. Dandelion close up. Probably much like this only better.

Just before Yellowcraigs there is this bit and it seems curiously foreign, in a good way.

Neil, with a head full of RLS and Treasure Islands

My legs were tight and ached for the first ten miles and either I got used to it or they eased off. The day was rather beautiful although this did mean the main beaches at Gullane and Yellowcraigs were mobbed. I bumped into Neil (pal from school and art school) at Yellowcraigs. There is no better compliment than the one he paid  - that he was there after reading my blog about the coastal runs and had travelled to Aberlady to run it himself. We chatted for a bit then set off in different directions. (Now if we had planned it properly we could have run together - next time Neil?)

I passed this running couple taking photos earlier then they overtook while I chatted to Neil. Saw them again here just before NB taking pics.

In North Berwick I ran past Lucy's and persuaded her to run a few miles. Also I refilled my camelbak reservoir with ice and juice from the co-op. I put as much ice as I could into the bladder and then topped it up with orange and mango, which stayed superbly cold for the rest of the run. 13 miles into it at this point and I was too tired to let myself know the whole journey length, but headed off inland on the John Muir Way towards East Linton. We went past the recently discovered pond and the big pink house (AGF has actually been there, the mover, the shaker!) after which Lucy returned homeward for her evening date with beer on the beach.

The turn off at stink farm was overgrown. I have been suffering from the Stuart Hay Fever but trying to amuse myself by reciting famous artists when sneezing, Matisse and Titian being top choices.

I turned off the JMW just before stink farm to head through Binning Wood. I have been trying to capture the feelings the woods throw up when I run through them. It's not that I want to wear animal skins and run fast with a knife between my teeth but it is possibly in that direction. Maybe that's why I have to work harder to capture the ambience with the camera. I avoid the main tracks and roads and play about with getting lost and exploring hidden corners taking photos and thinking glory be to god for dappled things except a tad more pagan. All too soon out the other side and onto Limetrees Walk.

2 signs here, the first announcing it is the next road for Raph and Jen, and the second a brutally tragic reminder of a night, last November, when 4 teens went for a car ride on this long straight road and only one survived.

I have been saddened and troubled by this for a couple of days; goodness knows how the families of those involved begin to come to terms with it.

My tired legs are asking for shortcuts (we are 22 miles by now) and I reply I wished I knew some. So find some is the answer and I take a left into the woody wilderness hoping I can cut the corner off the usual all-the-way-down-to-the-shore then turn left. I follow a faint trail past a wooded theatre in which stands a massive tree reciting his leafy life story, but I run past anxious to find if I am on a fool's errand. I reach another trail and although I haven't been this way before it is going in the right direction and then YES the gate at the end of the secret trail (I think the bikers call it) and I am back on track and now I do know a short cut.

fly times

Out of the woods and a pack of flies descend and follow me round the corner where the sea breeze comes off the coast and the flies, as quickly as they arrived, are gone. I had planned to climb the hill that gives a great viewpoint along the whole beach but get distracted by surfers.

Ralph and Jen?

I wonder if Ralph and Jen are among them. I also wonder why they don't go further up the beach to the bigger waves. I run along the sand sipping my extra cold orange and mango. It is dilute and nearly magical but every sip makes my mouth a little sticky and I want more. Of course the hidden reservoir keeps you guessing about the remainder and this also tempts my thirst. I am glad when I reach Peffer Burn - I have learnt to leave the beach here as it becomes rocky and difficult, and there is a fine concrete path half a mile inland leading up past Seacliff.

The evening is turning out spectacularly. The forecast predicted this but it is difficult to rein yourself in earlier in the day knowing you will be out till after the dinner gong has rung. To pass the last hour I kept shuffling my shopping list at the Tescos on the outskirts of NB. A cold bottle from the fridge and a larger one for the train. A bottle of white wine for the train? A cake? A tin of biscuits? I was really hungry and even finished the 2 emergency gels that usually go back in the drawer afterwards. I had had food at Aberlady but that was 4 hrs ago.

The sun was going down as I emerged from seacliff and faced the final road miles to NB station. I would only visit Tesco's if I could get there before 8. Otherwise I might miss the 8.20 train. This thought kept the pace going and I watched the numbers travel slowly to 7.56 before I ran into the car park to find they were closed.

so closed so far

Of course it's Sunday and not Edinburgh. I wasted no time cursing the opening hours. A short distance down the road and the co-op, ah the good old co-op - looked closed but open for business and full of far too many choices. I took some biscuits but put them back when I saw 4 muffins at the counter. And only one bottle of chilled water. Forgot the wine and beer and cake and wine. I then ran to the station without eating or drinking as it was getting on, and an hour between trains. It was standing at the platform and I took the first carriage. Then ate 3 muffins, texted Mary to say I was on the train and changed my top.

31.48 miles (plus one either side of Waverley) in 5hrs17

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