I am still holding back from running. The housemaids' knee is improving but my mood is not. What with no running I should be finding 5~8 hrs a week of me-time extra, but I have been busy with work, visiting my mum a bit more and making meals for her, and doing a bit more music. I do a small run with Mary on Saturdays but the last 2 Sundays have cycled instead, reckoning the knee needs rest not work. I have been taking photos but the weather has not been great.
Day after Carnethy and this was the run that set my knee off. I only realised about a mile into the run it wasn't going to ease off and I shouldn't be running. However I had some lovely new trail Hokas - Challenger3s - and was keen to put some sand on their soles.
happy now; not so much later
It was blowy and there was a heavy swell in the Forth.
The tide was high and made some parts tricky.
We admired the courage of the surfers - looked Baltic.
We were back the following Saturday. The deer gathered in the usual spot near the golf course. There were about 15 in total with another batch next to the woods. They seem to be attracted by the scarecrows in the field. Again the weather was a bit overcast and the sun struggled to get out from behind the cloud cover.
This week I was breaking in another new pair of Hokas. Road ones this time; the Clifton3. Once I get back to normal I will be able to tell if I can do a road marathon in these. (Stirling in May.) I thought the fat soles would give my knee more protection than the trail shoes. Both pairs felt excellent but I have only done a handful of miles in either.
distant sunlight on the pylons
The next day (last Sunday) we went to the Pentlands. I took my bike to give my knee the day off. I really enjoyed the first half. We started from Red Moss Car Park heading up Beech Avenue, which is no easier on a bike than running. I was happy enough cycling at Mary's running pace. With the wind behind us she was galloping along at a good speed. We then went along to the Howe and down past the reservoirs to Maiden's Cleugh.
mud, mud, mud
Mary got quite a distance ahead while I was pussy-footing it around the muddy bits.
I really don't like getting my bike and shoes muddy while out cycling. When you are running it is easier to jump over the worst bits and run up on the grass. I had to carry my bike up on to the grass and even then I still got wheels and (new) shoes filthy. Not a happy bunny. I was reluctant to then go fast down the other side as it would throw the muck up to eye level. I am NOT a keen Winter cyclist. I think it would help if we had an easier place to wash the bikes after. The reality is buckets of hot water up and down 60 stairs with the bike out the back green.
nice photo of a cormorant (breeding plumage or sinensis?) taken by Mary
as was this shot of yours truly,
by which time I was quite hacked off,
only to be cheered up by hundreds of geese flying overhead
Yesterday (Sat 25th) we did the usual Gullane run. Just before the field of deer we bumped into Roly who was running from Longniddry to NB along the JMW.
This still hasn't fallen in yet.
fewer deer this week, and sadly, one straggler who won't be joining the herd
the forecast was for things to deteriorate
and we could see it approaching from the west
Hundreds of shoreline birds and waders were collecting on the high tide sand spits. We went along to say hello until everyone flew off except for a huddle of sanderlings who were hiding their heads under their wings and pretending we couldn't see them. We left them unmolested.
photo Mary - the bursts of sunshine were cheering
While my knee felt much improved and I could probably have pushed to run today (Sunday 26th) I thought cycling would better speed the recovery. With the weather uncertain and blustery we scrapped the Lammermuirs plan and Mary decided to head west along the cycle path to Cramond and back along the front; with the wind helping in the second half. I gave her 40mins head start then did the same route on the bike. It went well and the cyclepath was quite pleasant. No traffic lights, no traffic and only dog walkers, joggers and cyclists to get in the way. I didn't stop to try to photo the grey wagtails in their lemon yellow waistcoats but they were very cheering, along with the bullfinches. I didn't stop to take photos of the bridge graffitis but fired the camera, hung around my neck, while cycling.
photos on the go
At Barnton the cyclepath goes near the Royal High School (much MUCH less posh than it sounds) and my old school. I took advantage of Mary's absence to take a quick duck down the drive to see if their was any emotional resonance or nostalgia for 1974~79. Nada. Not a sausage. A new brick wall on the end of the main block stairwell I see. Hasn't fallen down yet? Other than that scoff, and a look at the door out through which you eventually escape from the assembly hall when you finally leave the building for the last time, and I turned with an absence of anything other than relief that I never have to thole any such drab institution EVER again. Fuck all that and just about everyone who ever sailed in her. I didn't have a particularly bad time there, just not a very good time.
Passed the peloton on the way down to the Almond.
This photo, nicked from Mary's blog shows the barrier at the top of the Salvesen Steps.
Onto the River Almond walkway and down to 5mph due to mud and gloop. I began to wonder if Mary was just up ahead. I ignored the route closed signs heading towards the Salvesen Steps. They were closed before then some work carried out and re-opened, and now closed again. No idea why. But you can climb quite easily over the lower barrier. Not quite so easily round the top barrier especially with a bike on one shoulder, but it is possible and didn't require the runner to help who had just aided a father and son biking duo to get past the difficulties with their bikes. Past the weir then I saw and chatted to Dhavala, just at that riverside cafe. I asked her if she had seen Mary but she said no. Mary was about 20 yards away in the cafe eating greedy scones and jam!
I cycled to the estuary and weighed up whether to have a chat to the birds or not. As soon as I layed my bike against the small wall a good sized flock of black headed gulls (winter plummage) came right over as if they recognised me. Or rather recognised the behaviour. The mallards had been getting excited but seeing the gulls arrive, mooched back to the shoreline. It was beginning to drizzle and I was reluctant to stop and get out bread to throw to them but as soon I did, I was delighted: they all flew round in a big holding circle and very keenly swooped down close, taking the bread from my fingertips. At this time of the year food is in short supply and they become nearly tame in their enthusiasm. As I was doing this Mary appeared, running down the path towards me. Good idea to stop. She explained she had been in the cafe. After taking a couple of photos and short video (posted on her BLOG) she ran on. I had a few slices of home made seeded brown bread to dispose of, although the light rain and overcast surroundings didn't make for great photos. By the way, save the lectures about why you shouldn't feed bread to birds. Go and tell it to those folk giving stale white processed shop bought bread to the duckies at St Margaret's Loch. I'm not listening! And neither are the gulls...
Hopefully the knee and the running will be back to normal pretty soon. I haven't yet had to revert to swimming in an indoor pool, but that would be the next thing. I am enjoying cycling and it does seem to be a low impact alternative. But I do worry that my running fitness has gone right down the pan. I suppose it could be worse. At least work is busy and going well. Ho hum.