All out of sequence – days 9 and 10 everydayinmay

Everydayinmay Monday 9 - 1 (5)

My quest for life perfection ( hahaha) is a road full of twists and turns and with quite a few cul de sacs and wrong turnings to boot, so while I can just about manage to fit running everyday around working, eating and sleeping – finding time to write about it has stumped me once again.

It is true of course that much as I enjoy running and writing about running,like most of my fellow everydayinmay folk I am fitting time to do this around everydaylife .

So as I tick ‘writing a witty daily column in a national paper’ off my potential career change list, here is a bit of a recap of everydayinmay progress featuring  days 9 & 10 -the murky days in the middle.

Day 9 –  I ran in the evening as just could not drag myself out of bed on Monday morning to run before work, but as it turned out it was worth holding off until the evening as it was a beautiful sun filled, May evening with magical light and blossoms looking very pretty.

After a workday Monday this was a very pleasant end to the day.

While I am not doing big daily mileage – I have been doing some longer runs at the weekend and work is a bit full on just now – so today was a kind of rest day for me. Running on my own and without any time pressures, I was mostly ambling along stopping to take pictures, enjoying the sunshine , and amusing local dog walkers with my attempts at ‘selfie under blossom tree’.

Next to running with friends , this is my favourite kind of running –  it’s meditative,therapeutic and after a day at my desk  a perfect way to tease out the workday tension knots.

Everydayinmay Monday 9 - 1 (6)

Day 9 3.21 miles

Everydayinmay total 42.66 miles

Everyday tips and tricks – day 10

Everydayinmay Monday 9 - 1

As a 10 min mile pace runner, 3 songs usually equals a mile covered ( unless listening to my Ramones playlist). This otherwise useless fact is one of many of the mind games and tricks I use to get me get through the occasional patch of running ennui.

It is not that I find running boring – but not all runs are created equal and I do sometimes need to find some extra motivation. As a veteran of taking part in daily running challenges I know there will be days when I don’t feel like running but I also know that once committed to the task my stubbornness and desire for completion will not let me miss a day or give up.

On this current challenge – I don’t even have to run everyday if I don’t want to – I could be mixing it up with walking or cycling or such like – but having started running I recognise that I am now in that mildly addicted trainspotter mindset that I fall into.

I take pleasure watching the days tick off and seeing my monthly mileage increase, so allowing myself a day off running would feel like cheating on my self-imposed target.

Crazy me   

Of course I am only running 5k each day – and it’s a bit of a leveler to consider people who have chosen to run longer distances regularly – most recently thinking of  Eddie Izzard and his inspiring 27 marathons in as many days.

But as a fellow everydayinmay participant – Thomas –  highlighted the other day, most of us taking part in this challenge are doing it alongside our day to day lives, and without a team to offer support finding a time to run or walk or cycle 5k in between taking kids to school, working shifts, travelling on business, eating, sleeping – generally living.

 Just trying to be normal

Everydayinmay Monday 9 - 1 (2)

Day 10 3.17 miles

Everydayinmay total 45.83 

 

  

 

 

Cool and breezy afterwork run – day4 everydayinmay

facebook-banner-3

 

So the whole May the 4th thing passed me by today, not that I am really up with Star Wars and forces aside it was one of those work days when I was looking forward to my after work run to provide some much needed balm.

The sun appeared briefly but as I was running and chatting with my friends Alison and Lil ,I did not stop for pictures and by the time I got back  a cool breeze had whipped up which is tricky to capture on a still photo.

Weather aside as is often the way – running with good friends gave the work day a much needed perspective 🙂

Everydayinmay Weds - 1 (3)

Day 4 3.39 miles

EDIM total 15.9miles

 

Food for free ramsons reminisences

Earlier this month I made wild garlic pesto with my daughter and thought it a very current thing to do. Foraging,making food from scratch and connecting with nature definitely seems in vogue right now.

The day before we had taken a walk to collect the wild garlic from a woodland path and then, with a 21st century twist to our attempts at wild survival,had Googled to verify the plant type lest we pick anything deadly and then referred to Google once more to find a recipe.

Was very enjoyable to first harvest the leaves, then make the pesto together – even if the pine nuts, pecorino and olive oil were neither free nor foraged locally. But satisfying still to make food with a tiny connection to the land and to enjoy a bit of mother – daughter bonding over a shared food discovery at the same time.

After our pesto adventure I  came across my ageing copy of Richard Mabey’s book -Food For Free – given to me as a school prize for Modern Studies in 1976. Prize winners were free to pick their own book and my choice of this guide to feeding yourself from nature’s larder was, I imagine, something that fitted with me going through something of a mildly hippy phase – along with dressing in cheesecloth and listening to Bob Dylan.

In the mid 70s at the school I attended my favourite teachers seemed to me very modern and liberal – certainly after my village primary school. My teacher of Modern Studies,with her views on the Russian revolution and questionable power of the media certainly appeared to be interesting, worldly and cool to my 14-year-old self.

Choosing the Richard Mabey book coincided with a rather fogeyish interest I had at the time around the disappearing skills of food preservation and cooking and wanting to know more about how things were done in the ‘olden days’ – quizzing my  farmer dad about how to preserve food, make butter and making a reasonably successful  attempt at crowdie – basic cheese making.

With the benefit of hindsight I could say  this was me reacting to the change  I saw in eating patterns and dominance of factory produced ready meals – Vesta curry, Findus crispy pancakes  and the like, but I don’t know that I was trying to make a social comment  or that I was ahead of the curve, more likely I was just a bit of an odd child.

Is interesting now as with a renewed interest in food provenance and craft skills  more prevalent to think of that curiosity and my childhood experience. Many things I took for granted growing up in the countryside  around freshly grown food and a kinder approach to farming now seem to pop up on lifestyle and food programmes,  magazine articles as a return to a better way to live and eat. Reassuring I suppose to know that while food trends and fashion ebb and flow the fundamentals of good taste, heathy food and craft survive.

These days I no longer live in the countryside so my foraging is of the urban variety and I am really just a dabbler in  trying to find food for free, but through the small act of gathering wild garlic and making pesto with my daughter, I felt I had gone some way to rekindle my latent hunter gatherer.

jar of home made pesto

 

Soul food running

If last Sunday was all about racing, this week it was all about running . Running the way I like best; no pressure, straight out the door with the sun shining and a good companion.

After what has felt like a very long wet winter, I was happy to be woken early by birds chirrupping outside and daylight with proper sun streaming through the curtains at silly o’clock in the morning.

If only I was  a bit more flexible I would have jumped out of bed – and cast the curtains open wide – ‘a la Maria in the Sound of Music’ – but as it was the rarity of a blue sky at 7am had me scampering skittishly and thinking how best to make the most of the day.

Edinburgh is a compact city made up of interconnected villages and skirted by the Pentland Hills, a low range to the west of the city. I live close to a country park at the foot of the Pentlands, and can be in open countryside within a 15 minute brisk walk.

My running companion Alison lives close and our regular route tends to be variations along the Dell – a path running alongside the Water of Leith following the route of a disused suburban railway.

But today with the sun in the sky early and not a breath of wind we decided to take to the hills – and do a circular route that took us from the Dell via the Poets Glen to the country park and skirting two reservoirs.

It was glorious.

Pretty much all the ingredients for a perfect run were there. Sun in the sky,no wind and with an equable temperature. Birds singing and buds emerging. Wild garlic carpets and trees losing their gaunt winter look.

When conditions are like this and there is no time pressure – it makes for a joyful outing. We stopped now and again to take pictures and chatted about topics wide and varied ( but to be fair we do that in all weathers ! )

The air felt clear and fresh and 7 miles passed quickly, leaving us plenty of time to enjoy the rest of Sunday.

Food for the soul 🙂

 

Race anticipation – reflections on the fear of possible success …

Some people read newspapers back to front and I think my approach to training is perhaps similarly contrary. Running is something I do for my overall wellbeing – exercise I have come to  later in life that combines many things I find uplifting – being outdoors, watching the weather, observing nature and spending time with friends.

I acknowledge now that I am mildly addicted to running, getting a bit twitchy and irritable if I have not managed to get out for a run, so regular social runs are a comforting constant to keep the twitching at bay. And as my running confidence has increased it’s easier to find ways to slot running around the rest of my life, with being a run tourist one of my favourite ways to discover new places.

So if running is mostly about looking after myself, and offsetting life’s stresses, I wonder why I keep entering races?

I don’t really know the answer to that, and writing this a day before a race is maybe not the best time to come up with a considered analysis!  For some people running is the perfect outlet for their competitive spirit, but I don’t see me fitting in that category – my desire to win is underdeveloped – although I do like to set myself personal goals and challenges.

While I long to be more ‘zen’ about running and its place in a quest for self improvement, I do enjoy keeping a tally of distance covered, pace and effort. Running has unlocked my inner geek around lists and records and the joy of seeing the miles increase on my Nike+ app is something I would struggle to give up.

And maybe a race creates a framework or purpose for this measurement – so while I am not desperate to be first – taking part in races does let me see how I compare to fellow runners and if I have made any progress since the last test.

So back to today and training plans or otherwise. I have never yet properly stuck to a race plan as for whatever reason I am not really very  good sticking to a set of prescribed rules to achieve a desired outcome.  While I don’t just rock up unprepared, training for races has mostly involved increasing mileage and incorporating this into the runs I have planned with Alison. We are good training buddies. This means I usually get to this point before a race feeling OK about my ability to complete the course but also wondering what might have been achieved if I had made the effort to follow a proper plan rather than just play it by ear.

This year while my run training has not followed a plan as such – I have been following a different plan that has had a positive impact on my running. Having acknowledged that I am not the best at following rules and plans,  since  July 2015 I have been following an eating plan, and by doing this have lost quite a bit of weight. ( so am around 16 lbs lighter than I was this time last year).

The weight loss and results I have seen by sticking to some simple rules around eating from fitnaturally ( good natural food, not too much) has encouraged me to incorporate some different types of fitness training – and  I have been doing some strength and speed work with a colleague from work who is a personal trainer.

The weight loss is making me enjoy my running even more than before and I am feeling in good shape and while I have not yet followed a race training  plan to the letter – it definitely feels as if I have put in more effort than before, or addressed some weaknesses.

So why despite all this do I have the usual if not more pre race anxiety this time around ?

I can only put it down to my fear of failure , and back again to why I have mixed feelings about racing. My previous haphazard attempts at training have been replaced by a bit more effort and instead of it giving me confidence it has made me feel I have eliminated my excuses for failure !

Today I am trying to set my expectations and calm my jitters against a different background of possible success – how strange for me !

But fortunately life experience has me prepared and so I am  tapping into my collection of  the ‘whats the worst that can happen scenarios’ and am sure I will manage to make a kind of peace with myself before the start line.

See you at the other side 🙂

Inverness half blog - 1Inverness half blog - 1