Sunday, 29 October 2017

duty vs fun

I have no problem going for a 30mile run on a sunny day but struggle to find the wherewithal to go for a 5 mile training run locally when the weather is a bit crappy. Weekly mileage has been as low as single figures. So I wasn't really looking forward to the cross country relays at Cumbernauld. Haven't done many short fast intervals recently and it showed. And it was 2.5 miles, eyeballs out sprint over grass and mud. I tried to wriggle out of it but as we had quite a decent team of M50s there was an obligation to run the place I'd asked for a few weeks ago. At least the weather was dull and I wasn't missing a great day in the hills or down the coast.

And that's very much where my running is these days. I'm prepared to put in the effort if I can get excited, but have been looking out the window at the rain and dark evenings and opting for wine and netflix. BTW an excellent series we have just enjoyed: Mindhunter. Set in the late 70s and 80s it follows the real life efforts of early FBI Behavioural Science Unit who interview imprisoned serial killers and rapists in order to understand how such people think and apply this knowledge to solving ongoing cases. It is not car chases but more about psychology and characters and what-makes-dangerous-nutters-tick. Filmed in beautifully filtered yellows and turquoises which is exactly the way the 70s looked. It starts with a soundtrack from the era but progresses into ambient and reflective soundscape. Handsomely mounted (museums-full of post-vintage cars from the era) and with some great characters. Thoughtful yet gripping. (And no celebs, no car chases, no huge explosions or people with super-powers; how refreshing!) (Only bad thing is the use of very large text when doing place names. Hope they drop that for season 2!)(Otherwise excellent!)

Great to catch up with ex-Porty Gerry - the old team back together! In fact the thing I enjoyed most wasn't actually the running but meeting old friends and chatting away. And some new friends afterwards too.

here they come!

And what was it like? 15 and a half minutes of hell was what it was like! A whole day travelling and hanging around, for 15.30 running. And I think they may have screwed up the results. Or not published them fully yet. Good to see so many Porties there though. Duty done. Glass of wine (or 2) to recover. 

So the sun obligingly came out for Sunday and the usual down at Gullane. We had a coffee before leaving and then a coffee and jam scone from the Village Coffee House (still overpriced, but nice enough). Mary was now high as a kite having had 3 coffees and was singing sentences instead of speaking them. It was bracingly cold but fine if you kept moving. First day of the season wearing hat and thin gloves to run, apart from the warm up yesterday.

3 egrets (threegrets) at Aberlady bridge.


Above, the butterfly bush as decimated by the ranger and his gang. Now he eventually emailed back to say he was removing (some of) the sea buckthorn, "as part of a long-term plan to re-establish dune grassland habitat on the site". They are also "grazing the area you mention with sheep to increase biodiversity, including the abundance of flowers and so nectar sources for butterflies and other insects. So rather than to their detriment, this work is intended to improve things for our betterflies." Well that's something I'll be keeping an eye on and reporting back on, this time next year. Although they intended to leave the thistles and nettles (the food sources and favoured egg and pupae sites of many species) many of them got a bit trampled while work was going on. It would seem this area, which is fenced off with an electric fence, is probably specifically tested with such experiments and that the butterfly bush was one of the largest groups of sea buckthorn bushes in that smallish fenced off area. There are many areas of greater density of sea buckthorn (like around Marl Loch for instance) but sadly this is the area they seem to fence off, and carry out their tests. Hence the destruction of much of the butterfly bush. Bad luck butterflies. The ranger, John Harrison, also reported that after monitoring them, this year "has actually been very poor for butterflies."

A point of note: since they are now grazing sheep (there were 2 on site today) the current in the fence has been switched on. A medium/light tickle through the gloves. 

The tide was way out - both subs well clear of the waves. The sun was casting a shimmering light over the sand and the place was empty and vast. For the first time in quite a while Mary suggested we visit the subs and make the most of the good conditions, and smooth sand - even though she had racked up 14 miles yesterday. The silvery expanse of the beach lent itself to photos, as did the sanderlings on the waterline running at a phenomenal speed like they were on wheels. White snowballs zipping along the shoreline checking out stones and looking for things to eat.

3 coffees and Mary levitates

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