Cool and breezy afterwork run – day4 everydayinmay

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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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

 

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 Рexercise I have come to  later in life that combines many things I find uplifting Рbeing 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 РI 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 Рand  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 Рit 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 ūüôā

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