autumn already – seize the day!

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The weather forecast promised a day of sunshine and a brief Indian summer. With the thought of one last hurrah of sunshine, it was almost mandatory to make the most of it.

I am in a period of transition, or maybe limbo is a better description because transition implies that you are moving in a planned way from one state to another- whereas I have left somewhere and as yet do not know the next destination.

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Fellow readers who are freelancers may know this feeling well – unless your inbox is crammed with future assignments. Just into October and having finished one longish contract and slowly getting used to not being part of my old gang,  I am residing in ‘in-betweeny land’  not fully sure of what lies ahead and yet not able to summon up enthusiasm to make a start on those set aside craft/garden/household projects I was too busy to do when working  ūüėČ

There are a couple of work projects bubbling under – but they are at the tentative stage and all told not quite enough to be overworked. Freelance life is an interesting one that’s for sure.

So Carpe Diem  – seize the day and all that!  Nothing for it than to go running.

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Train dreaming and place name poetry

 

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For the past 6 months or so I have been working in London and commuting weekly between my home city Edinburgh and London. Travelling for around 4 and a half hours each way on the same route – gives plenty time for train window dreaming and watching.

Maybe because I spent my¬†early years on a farm – I notice the crops and farming circle of life more than what might be happening through glimpses of windows or back gardens. My ‘seen from a train window’ novel –¬† would be short on drama and deeply lacking in Girl on a Train tension.

My Oct to June photo feed is packed with seasonal variations on a theme of east coast skies, fields, sea, distant cooling towers, tiny houses, trees jumping into focus, blurry videos and the odd sunrise and sunset. Watching how the colour of ploughed fields changes – from the reddy brown earth of Dunbar to almost black of the Fens.

There are familiar punctuations that mark the journey passing; southbound Рout to sea on the East Lothian coast, approaching the Scotland РEngland border at Berwick, counting the bridges over the Tyne, the light at York station, and then non stop from York as London draws nearer Рthe big  flatlands of the south.

And the poetry of place names

Balderton Barnby, Norwell Cromwell, Temple Hirst, Chapel Haddesey, Appelton Roebuck

Rattling on…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A thing of beauty is a joy forever – running with poetic inspiration

Forgive the lofty and possibly misleading headline – but today as per my ongoing post marathon quest to rediscover my love of running, my ‘mojo’ or however best to describe the need to get back on the two-legged horse, and remember why it is a fun thing to do- I decided to try running a favourite route.

The route¬† I chose is much loved for many reasons. First and foremost – it includes a section through the evocatively named Poet’s Glen, whose name appeals to my inner romantic – ¬†but beyond these¬†literary¬†references, it is a much loved run because when I am not in training or being a ‘serious’ runner, I opt to walk part of the route.

I  could run the narrow uphill section Рbut I choose to walk not simply to avoid the steep incline and the stony path with associated high ankle twisting potential, but importantly Рand here is the big thing Рsometimes it is nicer to walk than to run.

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Walking the short section that takes you from the road above the Dell path to the reservoir section,  is a welcome pause to gather breath, take in the surroundings and slow down.

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This route has lots of other things going for it Рnot least the views. After the first half of steady uphill running, you find yourself elevated above the tree sheltered  Dell path and see all of Edinburgh and Fife below. And knowing that after a two-mile uphill slog there is a welcome downhill section leading me back to my front door is a very rare and attractive feature in a run route. There is something very pleasing about a run that takes you home with a downhill ending and something I appreciate living as I do on a fairly elevated part of Edinburgh.

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This route is a good illustration¬†of the contrasts you can enjoy¬†running in Edinburgh. As a fairly compact city surrounded by both hills and water – you do not have to be a distance runner to experience a smorgasbord¬†of rugged heather clad hills, bucolic pasture, leafy glades, urban architecture and a ¬†glimpse of the sea all in the course of a morning’s running.

To return to this route – I would love to give an authoritative¬†account of the significance of the Poet in the poet’s Glen – but this requires more¬†research than I have undertaken. Earlier this year, I did meet two ladies from a local historical society who were very well informed and shared a lot of background on local history with me as I stopped at a 7 mile half way point on a training run.

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Alas, I  confess when I am running my ability to retain detailed historical or other relevant detailed facts is limited.

So today’s outing was an easy Sunday run,¬†filled with many life-affirming¬†views of nature – and at ¬†5 miles is the longest distance I have managed to cover since the marathon, so was a step in the right direction.

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Summer running – having some fun

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I have not been running much this month- truth is since the marathon I have not yet got back into a proper running groove.

It is only 3 weeks since the race, so early days  Рbut knowing of other marathoners who have struggled to find the motivation to run again after training for a big event- I hoped this would not be the case for me.

I thought it unlikely, as one thing that kept me going through the latter stages of marathon training ( aside from the fear of running the marathon ), was the thought of getting back to just running for fun. Running with friends, running punctuated with stops to take pictures, running without the dread of speedwork and just running without it feeling like I was doing my homework!

But it is funny that when the pressure is off and there is no ‘reason’ to run, no plan to tick¬†off, no specific session to complete, how it can be very easy to find lots of reasons to just not bother.

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Late afternoon today, after another day of not running Рwith the sun shining and the bees busy in the garden Р I  heard the running sirens calling.

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Turns out, when running motivation is in short supply the best cure is a run.

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Running the seasons

Based on a highly unscientific sample of fellow runners, I have come to the conclusion that Autumn is the favoured season of most. Autumn, or Fall as those across the ocean prefer to describe these months, certainly wins on the light stakes Рwith soft pink sunrises and hot red sunsets.  Even the grey flat days have an elegant beauty.

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Come late afternoon there is ample opportunity to run through cool sunshine, catching the beauty of orange, red and yellow leaved trees bathed in golden light as backdrop.

And if October weather is kind and free of storms, the stillness brings with it mists and mellow fruitfulness and easy running in cool, quiet air.

While the days shorten and we all know that winter is just around the corner, nature says goodbye for now – leaving in a blaze of glory before hibernating till spring.

Elemental island run – Tiree

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Just over a  week ago I visited the island of Tiree for the first time Рand to use a cheesy but appropriate cliché РI was blown away by the place.

It is a strange kind of otherness and contrast to one late Friday afternoon, leave the plasticky confines of Glasgow airport departures – with its shiny duty free, unimaginative bars and rainy windows and then barely an hour later find yourself transported to somewhere so different that it feels like the place you left behind had never existed.

It is the joy of the weekend break of course – but some breaks offer more solace than others, and none more so than that provided by a small Scottish island – where the wind blows in all directions, sea is everywhere and the weather is so magical and changeable you can spend the whole weekend just watching it run through its’ repertoire.

I managed a couple of runs while I was there and while Tiree is pretty flat, the wind does make for a bit of a tough workout. It also means you have to keep your wits about you as running on roads with wind whistling and howling ¬†– you don’t hear cars approaching until they are upon you.

Not that there were many cars to avoid on my most memorable run – where I set out with a forecast of 45 mph winds – a smattering of rain but very mild temperature. Perfect for the kite surfers I saw on the beach – and quite a joy when I had this wind advantage behind me for the first mile or so.

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Earlier I had almost talked myself out of running but once out was glad that I did step out. It was a 5 mile out and back and the fiercest section was running towards Gott Bay into the wind that was whipping off the water – and where it did feel a bit as if I was running backwards.

Running along the beach was fun and exfoliating and then the skies darkened and it started raining – the wind dropped to a modest 21 mph making the return leg easier – but by this time wind had been replaced with heavy rain – making my last few miles a bit refreshing.

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Tiree has almost too much sky and clouds and sea and beauty to take in on a short visit and in the few days I was there – I was very aware of being in a quite different place and of feeling the weather systems constantly change around me.

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Commuting musings – Friday 26 Aug

Today after a misty kind of gloomy Thursday, the sun is shining.  I frequently walk along  various lengths of this stretch of the canal Рand prefer walking over running or cycling.  The slower pace of walking is meditative and I see more. Early morning sunshine is always uplifting but maybe even more so when you live in a place where these few sunny days are to be cherished.  Late August there is a tiny hint of Autumn and a reminder that these lovely long days of summer daylight are beginning to shorten.  Sometimes when I start my working day with this 30 minute nature interlude the temptation to bunk off  work and just keep walking is very strong.

But so far I have not yielded to temptation …

 

It’s all about the weather : days 22- 28 everydayinmay

Like many people who live in these meteorologically varied Isles РI spend a lot of time talking about the weather and I fully accept that I may be borderline nerd-like around the subject. I certainly tick a lot of boxes for a would be weather obsessive

1. I am British ‚úĒÔłŹ

2.¬†I live in Scotland ‚úĒÔłŹ

3. I run a lot outside ‚úĒÔłŹ

all I need to complete the set is to take up gardening or farming !

Running or not, I enjoy weather watching and cloud spotting and am not just a fair weather friend of the weather if that makes sense. I love frosty mornings as much as sunny afternoons, get childishly excited when it snows and even like rain.

Harder to love is a grey flat sky, a north wind at a bus stop or a sneaky drop in temperature mid May when you have stuffed your opaque tights to the back of the drawer – but maybe these are just tests that the weather gods present me with to prove that my love is true. ‚̧

Last week while running every day I experienced a few weather contrasts – Sunday May 22 was spent running in glorious Spring sunshine in Cambridgeshire, Monday 23 and back home my evening run was in bright warm sunshine – lovely. Tuesday 24 I caught the best of the day with a very early run and sunrise capture, but by Wednesday 25 the sun had vanished and my run was a chilly downhill to the train station against a cold headwind. Thursday 26 ¬†was just wet and temperatures in single figures. So by Friday 27 I was girding my loins for more cold, grey, windy running but instead enjoyed a late lunchtime run in equable temperatures, no sunshine but ¬†without a breath of wind – ¬†taking me to Saturday 28 – Day 28 of running everydayinmay, where the weather was pleasantly mild, even some patches of blue sky but as I was running with my good companion Alison and ¬†know I am just 3 days away from the finish – I would happily have run through a blizzard ūüôā

Along with many others I am running everydayinmay to raise funds for Dimbleby Cancer Care, a charity that provides much appreciated practical and psychological support for cancer patients. If you would like to donate please visit Scout or Sally’s Just giving page. Thank You

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Day 22 – running everydayinmay… in May

I used to think the saying n’er cast a clout till is May is oot – meant you should keep wearing your vest until the end of May – and living in Scotland as I do that makes a lot of sense.

Then one cold May day, I was at some event or other and just chatting during a tea break to two very nice ladies and they kindly pointed out to me that the saying referred to May flowers – or the blossom of the hawthorn tree – which made more sense. Although of course as it happens, May blossom is often not fully out until the end of May certainly in Scotland, so I guess it works either way. There is a lot of folklore associated with the Hawthorn tree but folklore aside, May blossom in full bloom just so, so lovely.

This weekend I was visiting Cambridge and as I am running everydayinmay – on Sunday my day 22 run was a very enjoyable and easy trek along by the river Cam out of the city towards Fen Ditton and Horningsea following the towpath.

Although you can see and hear the motorway from some sections of the route, and now and then a glimpse of a train rattling along a couple of fields away, it feels very rural and pastoral and peaceful. I love how with running you can be just a few miles or minutes away from a city and yet be cast back in time and place and surrounded by nature.

It was a warm, sunny morning and my legs felt surprisingly fresh given that Sunday marked day 22 of consecutive running.  Surrounded by the heady fragrance of white hawthorn blossom, running everydayinmay in May Рwith a flat route, sunny skies, and a wonderful wildlife soundscape did put a spring in my step.

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Day 22 Miles run 10 – total miles 99

Along with many others I am running everydayinmay to raise funds for Dimbleby Cancer Care, a charity that provides much appreciated practical and psychological support for cancer patients. If you would like to donate please visit Scout or Sally’s Just giving page. Thank You

Friday evening run – day 6 everydayinmay now with video !

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So last Friday  I did my everydayinmay run in the evening after work and caught the best of the day. There are quite few people taking part in this collective challenge, with the shared objective of raising funds for Dimbleby Cancer Care Рa charity that supports people who have cancer, providing both practical and emotional support.

We are scattered throughout the country and maybe even in some other countries too – but are connected by a common goal and of course the wonder and splendidness of social media. Depending on which is your channel of choice – you can tune in and find out how fellow everydayinmay companions are doing on any given day.

This is a big motivation for me and I  am sure others , as even when running alone, it never feels that way. And although I run regularly Рthere is a big difference between choosing to run on selected days and making a commitment to run or move for 5k EVERYDAY for a whole month.

So is quite the bonus to see a Tweet or a Facebook post or Instagram from someone who is just as dishevelled and sweaty and you are.

Rock on everydayinmay people !

In¬†amongst this happy band of walkers, runners, bikers and swimmers sharing their efforts socially – I look forward to Helen’s¬†¬†record – as Helen does a vlog , featuring live running and with her lovely anchorman son signing off each time – and often stealing the show with some unscripted comment ;). ¬† Helen makes it look effortless (well maybe not the running bit ūüôā ) and so inspired by Helen and flushed with misplaced optimism around my own technical competence I decided¬†to have¬†a go at recording¬†my run last Friday.

I will leave you to judge Рbut while I was pleased that I could just about manage the co-ordination of feet, hands and looking vaguely in the right direction , I reckon I have quite a bit of work to do before I have any chance of becoming YouTube famous.

So in the interests of sharing that is an essential and enjoyable part of participation in  everydayinmay Рhere are the 2 videos that made it beyond the cutting room floor.

Sorry about the sniffing …

 

 

We are all doing this challenge to raise funds for Dimbleby Cancer Care, and it would be wonderful if you were able to  make a contribution or sponsor my efforts by sponsoring Scout or Sally here