Wednesday, 7 January 2015

the year in photos

One of these facebook things had been going around and I received a couple of nominations (thanks Louise and Anna) to post 5 photos. I thought I'll have a quick look through my blogs from 2014 and see if I can't find something suitable. Since I had trouble honing it down to less than 86 photos, I thought I would post the results here under the guise of a visual summary of the year's running. 

Jan 1st ~ dook at Portobello immediately after the Promathon.
Lively if brutal start to the year. Large squad doing both run and plunge this new year.

 Jan 2nd - Greenmantle Dash and too much caffeine by the look of the photo
Taken by Allan G - many thanks.

January in Pentlands

February in Pentlands

One of the best things from the Carnethy 5 was this photo by David A.
Another year, another failed sub60 attempt. Oh well there's always the long wait for the bus in utterly BALTIC conditions to have as a lovely memory.

After a few busy weekends racing in Feb, first long day out (solo) was in early March and a recce of the Southern Upland Way, Lauder to Cockburnspath then (due to missed bus) on to Dunbar. 44 miles. A long slow trek with map in hand it was the first of several good trips there this year.

End of March was marked by a great weekend with team Carnethy and a recce of the Kintyre Way. 67 miles over testing ground let me know I should target the shorter of the 2 options on race day.

Tufted Duck at Holyrood

selfie at Gullane

Second week of April and Spring arrives. Still hat and gloves though. Another long run and one of many involving the John Muir Way and beaches and trails of East Lothian which rapidly became the favourite haunt this year.

From the top of NB Law.

I almost wore this sign out taking photos of it.


May was crazy - 4 serious races in 4 weeks: E2NB (1st 50 and team), Kintyre Way Ultra (photo above) (1st and course record), Goatfell (1st 50) and Edinburgh Marathon (pb~2.50 according to Run Britain 28th best time for 50+ in the UK). I particularly enjoyed the Kintyre Way, my first official win. The weather was mostly good and I paced it reasonably well, taking the lead in the first mile and holding on for the next 35

Edinburgh Marathon 25th May. Not ideal conditions (headwind for 18, tailwind for last 6)
"And then, on the broad road before Musselburgh, Tony Stapley is out jumping about in the middle of the road shouting “GO ON MY SON!” and my hair is standing on end. I start the sprint for the line a mile out. I am overtaking folk as we cruise into Musselburgh and Tom the Brown Bomber is still at his garden gate and I am on fire." Photo Craig

After all that racing it was great to do this Friday evening jaunt to the Pentlands with Michael G marking the start of Summer on the 30th May.

And down the coast with Mary next morning.

This delightful Friday fun run over the Pentlands was a real antidote to the harsh and wet CAAC 5miler just 2 days before. Angus' first non-race trip to the Pentlands and just marvelous. Finishing, after a bus back into town, in the Cafe Royal for one of the quenchiest pints of the year.

Pretty horrible weather for the PRC beach race and fun run in the middle of June, but lots of fun.

However by the weekend the weather was splendid and Steve and I went on a Great Snake Hunt in the Lammermuirs. This lizard was the nearest we got to a living reptile although we did find a snakeskin.

beach art

A busy weekend with Michael G and pal Martin. Largo Law (above) and 7 Hills. First 50 at both.

This was the weirdest living creature of the year. Crow impersonating a vulture?

Lucy makes a gentle return to running, the first of quite a few longer fun runs.

Early July and the sunny forecast encouraged this 32miler from N Berwick over to Traprain, back to Binning Woods via E Linton over to the coast and back to NB. 

This pond was later used in my ice bucket challenge video.

Mid-July and doing speed-work as well as ultra days

July 28th and a fab day out with AGF who took this photo. After a run around parts of Dalkeith Country Park I had never seen before we met Lucy for a swim at Yellow Craigs.

Tynecastle Bronze.
Graham H came up with the idea that we should mark the centenary of WWI with four years of long runs. Every month we would do a 30+miler including a visit to a war memorial. Initially I thought this was a bit nuts, but it has really gained momentum and after a few months we have had some great runs and visited memorials that are all around, hidden in plain sight. The first one was July 30th and so far every month has seen at least 3 or 4 runners log a TB.

In July I got a new camera. 
The zoom is so large you can take pics of people playing tennis on other planets.

Early August and JC was in town. We set out following the skyline route but never expected to manage all the way round. A combination of blethering, laughing and not mentioning that we seemed to be doing quite well, saw us complete the skyline on a very pleasant day's running. 

The fabulous TOUR of FIFE. (All his fault.)

ToF day one: Michael climbs out the sea after the Chariots of Fire beach race in St Andrews.

ToF day 5. Some looking fresher than others.

The Porty v50 Team. 
This was at the Pollok 10k through in Glasgow, although our finest moment (so far) was probably at Hawick XC early in the year when, in atrocious conditions (one runner kept in hospital overnight with hypothermia) we scooped the v50 team prize.

End of August and another NB~NB circuit in about Harvest time with the low sun setting on the last 10 miles of beach and road. I stopped at the pond for a skinny dip and filmed it as the ice bucket challenge. This view which you get just after St Baldred's Cradle looking up the beach towards the Bass Rock always makes my heart beat faster and is one of the highlights of the route.


Thursday evenings are hill reps with the Carnethies. I rarely take the camera unless the weather is outstanding because they are invariably sessions about pain, hard work and heavy breathing.

The weekend of the 7th Sept was the inaugural Tiree Ultra. All the travel incl. a lot of cycling on windy Tiree made for a taxing but hugely fun weekend. Brilliant organisation and course over about a dozen beautiful beaches.

Lucy was first lady, I was second bloke.

This was the leader's footprints over the last beach.

12th Sept and after an afternoon jaunt with L down the JMW I went for a solo swim at Yellow Craigs. Beautiful sunset, quite chilly though!

2nd Tynecastle Bronze run - from Earlston to Kirk Yetholm

It was a tough 33.6 miles.
5 started, 3 finished (incl. Steve on his first ultra!) but in a break from tradition deserters were picked up later rather than shot.

20th Sept was Jim H's Equinox / Harvest Festival run. 13 miles over the Pentlands with local produce sampled along the way most of which were alcohol based. Blessed with superb weather.

Steep descent and ascent up the path opposite during the 2 Breweries race. 

The only way to get Mary to ease up on the sprinting (with my legs trashed from the 2 Brews the day before) was to get her to laugh, so I told her I was being chased down by Metal Mickey.

Mary as a sea snake.
Can't remember the date M suggested the "submergathon" - an fb dare/bet to immerse oneself once every week during the Winter months outdoors (usually Gullane way) but she has managed this well. (I have been busy racing / slacking and missed a few although for a while there we were having some spectacular, if chilly, sunset dips.)

Back to the NB circuit (although the route is more square shaped, and around 19 or 20 miles.)

This time with Fergus, my Wintervals training buddy.

As a result it was about an hour faster than usual and involved fewer photos.

11th October and a sunset swim with the creature from the black lagoon

Next week and Lucy suggested a long run in the sun. We drove to Stenton and after the delights of Pressmennan Lake (above) did a circuit over the Lammermuirs and back. Great scenery, great fun.

So much so that the following week we tackled the Herring Road, Lauder to Dunbar, one of the best days out of the year. We also started from Lauder War Memorial making it another TB run.

We continually swapped places with these 2 bikers over 25 of the 30+ miles

Another sunset swim at Gullane.

And another - 26th Oct. Brrr.

I found the Glenogle 33 tougher than I had previously: probably doing too many miles and not enough sleep beforehand. It was okay but not my favourite race of the year - a bit dull and overcast and too early a start.

Carnethy Mike photobombs the Porty squad at Lauder.
Much to my own surprise I patched myself together enough to do the first of the excellent Borders Series XC the day after GlenOgle. Enjoyed it a lot more. 

Botanic Lights - illumination exhibition at the Botanics

The Waverley Line Tynecastle Bronze run on Remembrance Day was a very enjoyable saunter down the coast on trails to NB

A misty day for Gala XC second of the Borders Series

Plenty of mud and a variety of textures at Gala XC.
Some wit described this pic as the Hunger Games.

30th November saw us at Peebles for the third Borders Series race. Very scenic.

The Pentlands were looking splendid on the way home.

The weekly submergathons (Mary's project) were not getting any warmer.

Graham's Heart of Midlothian run was great fun but not great weather.

Unlike Christmas day which was splendid.

Boxing Day was frosty...

....with a haar over the forth

The last long Henry inspired lunacy of the year - a 7 Hills / Skyline mash up.

Just superb outing with runners joining and leaving the whole way.
The Pentlands were at their best with a heavy frost and minimal wind.

The man himself!

The last photo of the year is a particularly optimistic one. My brother and nephew join in a loony dook at Gullane. We put the wetsuits aside for a bracing plunge. It doesn't seem very sensible but left all involved feeling uplifted and refreshed! It marks the end of a year full of great fun and an occasional notable achievement. And hopefully this is the starting point to a 2015 full of adventures.

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