Thursday, 23 July 2009

sardines and port

right then guys. edinburgh was great as you can probably gauge by my recent posts. now its time to take in a different experience with our family trip to portugal. we fly out there saturday and there's a real buzz around the house about our adventure.
the picture above is where we're staying..the kids are so excited by it all.
hopefully i'll carry out my idea of two daily runs - one early , one later, one hard, one easy. i may even come back fitter. who knows.
so til next time..enjoy yourselves and your running :)

Let me see your hands

The thoughts of the man himself about the great night in Edinburgh....

Throughout our story we have had so many shows that have been genuinely great. We have even had some that I would call magical. That said, for whatever reason and it is probably down to a combination of things, it had been a long time since one of our magical shows had happened in the place that arguably matters most to us - our homeland!

With that being the case then naturally I had increasingly high hopes that the recent Edinburgh Castle show would therefore manifest into one of those occasions that somehow stand out from the rest.

Two days after the event I can tell you that it certainly did. Or at least for me it did! But I am also sure that those who were there on the esplanade that night will back me up on it!

It was a helluva night for Simple Minds and fans of Simple Minds! A night in fact where the inexplicable takes over and a set emerges within an ambience so strong and rare that the proceedings seemingly becomes detached from whatever else is going on in the world.

It was also a night where even the natural elements did their best to attempt messing things up, before retreat. No amount of water was going to rain on our parade after all. And nothing but nothing was going to stop the music and the force that lies behind it.

The scenes and sensations that took place at Edinburgh Castle on Saturday night will burn into our memories forever!
Thanks to everyone who came and played a part! You were the best audience ever!

Jim Kerr

Sunday, 19 July 2009

come in, come out of the rain

twenty years ago i went to my first ever simple minds gig with some mates, including now long time friend jonny macc, at roundhay park. for the 55000 fans there, jim kerr and the guys 'gave it laldee' and belted out an unforgettable show. since that day they have become my favourite band whom i've seen live many many times.
twenty years on, the prospect of seeing them at the truly monumental edinburgh castle was something i just couldn't pass by. and so it was, this saturday myself and jonny stole ourselves north of the border, on richard branson'e 21st century equivalent of the flying scotsman, for what was to be an awesome and electrifying, if not also a tad wet, night to the anthemic tunes of the minds.

but before all that malarkey was to take place, a little run was in order...well, you shouldn't visit places without your running shoes should you! and you get to see the sights quicker than riding an open top bus too!

so, as soon as we arrived in the beautiful city we were off out for a trot. expecting a city run i had come armed only with my road shoes. but a mention of a place called arthur's seat soon changed what lay ahead. i didn't really know what to expect but i certainly wasn't expecting such a huge hill so early into the run and so close to the city centre. the off road climb was without doubt lung busting but the views over the city and out to the firth of firth were breathtaking and made the ascent more than worth it.

we even ended up doing a little scrambling and some off piste due to my poor pathfinding. only once did a come a cropper with the poor grip of my road shoes, but fortunately was able to steady myself before i went totally head over heels. it was a great way to start our brief stay and needless to say it set us up nicely for some late afternoon visits to a number of really cool bars to quench our resultant thirsts.

at the last of these bars, orloroso, we were sat taking in the panoramic views on the roof terrace with jonny pointing out the huge blanket of black clouds rolling menacingly over the firth of forth towards the city.

with total conviction i said it was brightening up and in fact the clouds were heading away from the city. i was soon to eat my words.

a little later we arrived at the castle in good time before the minds were due on and it was at that point with the aforementioned black clouds now firmly over us that the heavens opened. the torrential downpour was relentless with every drop landing and bouncing back up with such force. some people elected to take what cover they could but for the rest of us a soaking, of a magnitude fitting only of such a grand occasion, was the order of the evening. it was brilliant and just like being a kid all over again.

8.45pm arrived and on came the guys we'd all travelled from far and wide to see. the wait was worth it. the soaking was worth it. and with complete irony, 'waterfront' was the first number they belted out. it was a gig to behold, where spirits rose with each and every tune, especially two all time favourites of mine..'big sleep' and 'someone somewhere in summertime' moving and evocative.

for two hours i didn't stop clapping, jumping, dancing or singing along.

this was a gig that for me was up there with the best i've ever had the fortune to be part of. an honour to be so close to the talent of jim and the band. and yes jim we were doing ok!

next morning we had an hour or two to take in the sights. one sight i wasnt expecting was that of hundreds of people on mountain bikes taking part in the edinburgh rat race. i'm not sure what any of the japanese tourists made of such british, or should i say, scottish eccentricity. but for me it was a fitting sight with which to leave such a great city.

inspired by the melodies of the minds and the rat race we got talking about future running challenges.

it had all been great food for the soul.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Peakers Stroll (Take Two)

after last weeks 'short cut' i had it in my mind to go and run the full monty this sunday.
throughout saturday night the heavens kept pouring and i lay in my bed thinking 'no way am i running the route in this'. but as i awoke at around 0430 there was silence outside and my cue to get up and get ready for our little trip out.
we started from peak forest at around 0700 and were lucky not to bump into anybody at all until we were on the summit of Winhill. our run to that point had been beautiful. just me, my sidekick, a few sheep and cattle, and a wonderous landscape. running up high along ridges really inspires me and this is a great area for just that.

this time as well, the sun came and went but most importantly, the previous days downpours meant that charlie was plentiful in hydration.

from winhill we dropped down to ladybower giving the pooch the chance to douse himself in the reservior. a bit of climb out of the valley and we were on our return leg.

arriving in edale i only had one thing on my mind..a bit of tucker. the local cafe , 'Coopers', dutifully obliged with a splendid bacon sandwich for us both washed down with a tea for me. but now then...what's all this was meant to be a run not a bleedin' picnic!!
and herein lies the rub of this post. for whatever reason(s) i was starting to not enjoy our trip out and all my demons were coming to the fore... 'catholic' guilt about how selfish this pastime of ultrarunning is feelings that it has been feeling harder recently, but as an old schoolteacher used to say ' who said it was going to be easy donaghue!'
..a feeling that maybe just maybe i can't be arsed anymore..a sin in itself!!
..or maybe i've gone as far as i'm going to go and maybe its time for a fresh chalenge
..and finally, i have enough pressures without running being another of them
so what's to become of all this? today was supposed to be a great day of it were, but parts of it weren't. i just don't know. this year has been more of a stop stop year than anything else.
but part of me feels abundantly grateful for being able to just do this kind of thing. i'm just not sure which side of my psyche will rule the day.
all suggestions welcome !

Sunday, 5 July 2009

hot dog!

so we entered the peakers stroll rather than taking a trip up to osmotherley with one of the reasons (amongst others) being how i thought the heat might be too much for chasbie.
anyway we got there , peak forest, nice and early to register..still not sure why we arrived 1.5 hours ahead of the start but we did. this race is LOW KEY. the walkers had gone off at 9am and when we arrived there was all of 3 other runners there. but hey it filled out to all of around 40 runners by the time the bell rang...yes the bell, the starter standing on a street bench ringing the old school bell. a choice of 9,13,17 or 25miles was on the menu and we had naturally selected to opt for the full monty.
we'd met up with safety pin (aka simon moorhouse) whom we'd planned to run with and without further ado we were off, the bell still ringing in our ears.
from the sound of the bell it was all uphill right over and up to mam tor. and it was hot! but we had a fair bit to catch up on and time seemed to tick by quite easily.
once up on the ridge it seemed to feel even hotter with the heat of the sun bouncing back up from the limestone track and stone slabs.
it wasn't long before i noticed that chasbie was panting quite heavily. not only that, he kept trying to lie down in sheltered spots or roll in what were now totally dried up mudbaths and puddles.
the going was slow and trying and wanting to keep my boy from any harm i decided we'd abort the full monty and simply do the 13. handing over a bottle of coke and some jellies to simon, we bid each other farewell and he was left to continue with someone far bonnier than ourselves.
for the rest of the run i teamed up with 2 other nice blokes as i didn't have the 13mile route map. one of them had forgotten to wear his running shoes so had to contend with running in his merriel sandals, but being an experienced hardy fellrunner it didn't seem to matter to him in the slightest.
from hereonin there wasn't really much to report apart from the fact that once chasbie got into the river between hope and castleford, he emerged a changed dog. on fire. his usual self. but it was too late. i was mentally resigned to plodding back to the finish and was doing a splendid job of plodding physically. the climb up cavedale was tortuous, as ever thus and the site of the finish was more than welcome as chasbie dragged me along the final mile. no sprint finish today.
i dont know what to make of today really. its an odd one. i dont feel at all tired but neither do i think i would have done the 25miles justice had we carried on...but then at the time that didn't seem like a sensible option anyway.
and so another race that has lead to a degree of dissapointment. next up is lowther trail race in august..the question i do it?

Friday, 3 July 2009

change of plan

not that anyone will be in the slighest bit interested but, for a number of reasons, we're now running the Peakers Stroll (25m) on Sunday instead of Osmotherley on Saturday.
we will return to Osmotherley next year hopefully.