Wednesday, 3 November 2010


It's been a busy week or two (as usual it appears). Although I'm not sure I'm actually achieving much!?

I discovered that my old dog wasn't just the usual 'old-d0g-itchy' but had a skin infection. So: pills, shampoo and consultation - £98.... really... ah well, better that's she's comfortable. (grrr)

Had a delicious mutli-course dinner with the fabulous Miss Lane. Spinach & Watercress soup ROCKS - and had it been on a menu it would have been a tough sell, but in person - stunning.

Quick trip up to Perthshire to see ceramics friends & celebrate their wedding. Also saw Dotty which was wonderful - some good natter over cups of tea with dogs sleeping in the sunshine.

Pickle then visited Edinburgh and I took her to sample the delights that are The Phuket Pavillion - I love that Thai, and they have the knack of remembering you, which is just such a nice touch.

Coffee and chat with Smoothie as her son was doing gymnastics. Good to just catch-up and find out how her mammoth trip to Africa was. (Pretty bloody good.)

A bit of careful planning meant that CHG's visit to Edinburgh was timed to coincide with my first proper dinner at the new place (I'd call it a house warming, but that felt a bit too overwhelming). I gathered as many as could be seated, and tried to feed them well. I think the lack of left overs means that they were quite happy with the grub:

Home hot-smoked salmon with beetroot & horseraddish cream.
Roast Venison with dauphinoise and green beans.
Cream cheese brownies with a massive stack of berries.

(A menu that enabled lots of prep before-hand and simple enough to make the night easy.)

So after that wonderful weekend, where the sun was gracious and enabled a lovely walk on Sunday, I decided that the new week was going to include what I now think of as: The Revenge of the Brownies. (Da da dahhhhhhh.)

On Monday I put on my running gear. This is the first time I have done this in Edinburgh since moving in. I thought: I'll run through the park along the flat sections and once I get to the 1.55miles just head back. This will avoid most of the hideous hills.

But for some reason, as soon as I entered the park I found myself heading up hill - just going straight up the steep side of Queen's Drive. I don't know why this happened, but once started it seemed churlish to give up. And my only aim was to get to the top without any walking.

I was genuinely apprehensive. I don't really like running up hill. (Some people do - Wheeler - and they are generally known as nutters!) And I haven't run up that hill since my very first 5k years ago. But, it wasn't too bad. In fact it was confusingly un-bad ('good' would be over-selling it).

November 1st:
1mile up - all up - 11.45
I mile across the top and back - 9.51
1 mile all down hill - 8.59

Total for 5K - 31.30
I was satisfied by this, but a little irked that it's over the magic 10min/mile pace - a pace I desperately worked to get under. But I suppose that is what you get for not training enough and running up big hills.

After this run I felt the pain. Not horrible, but definitely pain. The ache in the legs and the slight wince going up and down stairs (not useful when you live on the 3rd floor). I tried to walk it off by doing another 4 miles that day heading to and from the fabulous Granny Greens.

So, in a bid to quash the pain I went out for another run today. Conditions were much better - it was dry for a start; and this time of year is just the right side of cold (for me). All I need are 3/4 leggings and a long sleeved shirt. It works perfectly.

Mile 1 - 11.43 (now I swear this could have been faster but the golden dog needed some time to warm up... and she seriously pulled me off my stride)
Mile 2 - 9.43
Mile 3 - 8.39 - the dry weather made the fear of slipping on the downhill negligible so I could go a wee bit faster.
Total for 5K - 30.57

Honestly, despite a lack of form and not being quite where I want to be with running I was bloody delighted by this. It's 17 seconds slower than I ran the race 3 1/2 years ago - but it also isn't hard to do. I'm not killing myself to get there, I'm just able to do it with relative comfort. (Mental note: must actually try harder.) Also it is *just* under the 10min/mile pace - which always makes me feel better.

Now this renewed interest in running is both the old feeling of just bloody enjoying it, and the fact that the council gym in Edinburgh (about 3min walk from my door) is £6.50 a visit. Holy Shit that's expensive. Now I know that if I pay monthly, or buy a discount card it gets significantly cheaper - but I still think £6.50 to use a gym is just taking the piss. (Or have I lived in the sticks too long?) Rant over.

The running really does give me a weird sense of satisfaction and I'm beginning to believe that my basic level of fitness might be ok. I can top it up more easily now, and am surprised by what I can do, rather than frustrated by what I can't. I'm not sure if it's just getting back to a low level of consistency - or all the city walking - but things definitely feel easier now.

So all I can do is work on further and faster...

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