Tuesday, 22 September 2009

To the pylon!...but not beyond

I was half expecting some work to come in today. But it didn't, which meant I could adopt Plan B for the day. So, after a couple of hours serious gardening (i.e. digging out firmly entrenched giant grasses, manipulating boulders and shifting flagstones. More building than gardening really.) in the beautiful sunshine and cool gale that we had this morning, I just had time for an hour's run before Mags and I visited the Edward Lear Landscapes exhibition at Grasmere.
So I headed for East along the Dales Way, which is rapidly becoming my 'default' run if you like. It's seriously undulating without being a soul-destroying grind at any point, and you get great views of the Howgills. Also, there is a whopping great pylon just beneath the high point of the run. And it took me 30.10s to reach it, so it was the perfect 'touch the pylon and turn for home' point.
It was a cracking run. I've been hitting the pool and the gym a bit recently, and I think my leg and core strength has increased. It felt very relaxed as a run, even though my average heart rate was about 80% of max, so I must have been working reasonably hard. So a good smileyrating I think...
Smiley rating 8.5/10

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Skye Larks in pictures

I've just discovered how to get piccies on my blog! So, at the risk of boring you all senseless, here are some holiday snaps...

The white speck is a beautiful house on the way between Elgol and Loch Coruisk in Skye. Bet they don't get pizzas delivered! They must have one of the best views in Britain; out to sea to the island of Soay.

Tthis is the boat from which it was taken. The 'Misty Isle'. She was built in 1966 in Mevagissey in Cornwall and spent a lot of her life ferrying passengers to and from Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour before the current owners bought her to Skye.

You've heard of salt-marsh lamb. This is salt-marsh beef! At Elgol, the cattle wandered the beach contentedly munching the seaweed (if you look really closely, you can see the stipe of a bit of Laminaria sticking out of this one's mouth). And if it all gets too salty, they just wander up the beach to where a stream flows into the harbour and drink their fill.

Enough for now. I'm just getting used to the technology.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Skye larks

I defy anyone to have had a more scenically beautiful run than I last Saturday. A simple, stress-free 35 minute trot out from our fabulous B&B (Coruisk House - highly recommended) at Elgol in south west Skye.
It was a stunning summer's evening at the end of what a friend called a 'blue day' - when the sky stays that happiest of blues all day long, the sea is the colour of a travel brochure and the distant hills are a soft purple. The road, single-track with passing spaces, undulated gently but persistently to give me a good work out; the sun was still strong and warm on (horror of horrors) my white, knotted legs and the air had that refreshing chill breath of oncoming autumn.
To top it all, the landscape (which, to be fair, is largely bog) mixed the rich gold of the dying bracken with the pink of the heather, the vivid green of the late season grass and endless shades of browns, greys, pinks and yellows of the lichen-covered rock.
We had a fantastic week with great seafood and pleasing wines but curiously no whisky - until we got home!
So now it's back to work, back to training and back to working on the motivation as the darkness creeps in. Now, where's me headtorch!
Smiley rating 10/10

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Of bogs and drizzle.

I'm sitting here wearing a T shirt more proudly than any other (apart from my 1st MV50 triathlon I did for my 50th birthday, obviously. Except it's a lousy T shirt for such an event). I did the Puma Lakeland Trail Derwentwater race today - 8.96 miles, 2,060 feet of ascent, through knee-deep bog in parts - in 1.25.58.
This was an average of 09.35min miles which, though not fast by any sort of keen runner standards, is as fast as I've ever gone over such terrain. So I'm smugly chuffed.
It's not as if the build-up was carefully planned and spread-sheeted (runningbear, I need your help on this. Do you run clinics for the Excelphobic?). I ran last Sunday with brother-in-law Pete, cycled to and from Wilf's Cafe to meet Mags for lunch on Tuesday, did a 'mini' triathlon (swim/bike/weights) in the gym on Wednesday night and bugger all else except test champagne (long story) and eat too much. But it all came together in the drizzle near Keswick this afternoon. At one point I saw that I was running a 7.01 minute mile and the Garmin shows my fastest was 04.54. God knows where that was. I think it's an anomaly.
Curiously, I woke up this morning thinking it would be OK. A sort of deep, vague feeling that it was going to go OK. Yes, I still had all the usual "I hate events: Too many people. Too much stress. I need the toilet - again" thoughts, but once the thing got started, it was fine. Maybe I was just well rested. Anyhow, a big thank you to Mags and niece Helen for driving me around and braving the conditions and I'm truly sorry I didn't see you as you shouted encouragment at the end, to the organisers for a cracking event, to the other runners with whom I shared a shivering fit at the start line (why did it take so long to get us started??) and the girl who kindly rescued my cap as it blew off in a squall coming down towards Latrigg.
Next week's training will be long windswept walks around Skye as we're on holiday. Hooray! . I'm going to takesome running shoes as well. I fancy some pre-breakfast trots if the weather's not too awful.
Smile rating 9/10