Tag Archives: marathon

Seaside cycling

Clearly, my training plan veered off course last week (five days in a row of zero exercise). This was due to one of my best friends visiting from Barcelona, blizzards and motivational bleugh. However, I managed to get out onto the cycle paths of Edinburgh today.

I carefully consulted various maps with the assistance of my cat Martini.


As you can see, the maps are the perfect size for a cat to curl up on, before chasing them all off the bed and batting them around the floor.

My flatmate came to the rescue with her excellent knowledge of Edinburgh, so we set off along Broughton Road with minimal traffic. We reached the safety of Ferry Road cycle path quickly and I was grateful for smooth tarmac, as my experience of off road cycle tracks in Aberdeen was more like rattling through a snipers’ alley on the moon, with added patches of swamp.

The really fantastic bit was a good five miles out. I had no idea how beautiful the River Almond was, but the walls of a ruined fort framed green water cascading down a weir, over waterfalls and slooping towards the harbour.

My friend was really enjoying the woodland track. She careered down hills where I was liberally applying my brakes, splashed through treacly mud puddles that I tried to avoid and raced headfirst towards humps for bunnyhops as I steadfastly stuck to the flattest path. What a wuss.

The only downside to such a lovely route was its sudden interruption by a massive flight of steps, 40 to 50 of them, up and down. Briefly puffed, we were cheered by the fact there was a pub less than five minutes away and even managed to make it up another steep hill with the lure of the Cramond Inn.

Fortified with a pint of expensive orange and soda (£3.45 in a Sam Smiths?) and mediocre scampi and chips, we carried on along the harbour front and back towards Leith. My knees were beginning to niggle a bit and my flatmate was feeling the pain too, but the return journey of six miles took us 45 mins.

WEATHER cold, but autumnal rather than mid-winter

TRAINING off-road cycling


PACE steady

FEELING satisfied

REWARD crab claw and samphire tortellini




Day 5: back in the game…

Slippage after a good start. I had intended to run on Saturday but the combination of working away in Inverness, sub zero temperatures and more fun things to do in hotel rooms, restaurants and even the town hall saw that plan thoroughly defenestrated.

A Monday off is always a chance to run around and do everything I normally can’t get out of the office for. I’ve been meaning to give blood for the last four months but failed until today.

Obviously, I think everyone who gives blood is wonderful but I walked into the middle of scores of students donating for the very first time. Teenagers were getting flipped upside down every 30 seconds as they passed out. One poor lass had a brief spasm as her blood pressure dropped too low and four more students keeled over like dominoes, getting a rollercoaster look at their toes.

I’ve been lucky enough to just get a bit woozy after my donations, but clearly running anywhere was a bit of a daft idea. I did, however, buy a second hand mountain bike that I can wheel around town without anxiety, unlike my racer.

So I did do some exercise today, riding my new bike around the Meadows, up a few slopes and – grinning inanely – freewheeling down the writhing steepness of the Mound down towards Leith. Roughly three miles of pure, new bike joy.


EXERCISE Short, hilly cycle

PACE freewheeling

REWARD homemade curry and naan with an old schoolfriend visiting from Barcelona

FEELING breathless

First run of 100 – nearly foiled by ice

At the very last minute I got out of bed, pulled on my running kit and legged it out of the door before my mind could backflip again. I had gone to sleep planning a route and determined to stick to my plan of running in the morning, whatever the weather. But then I woke up in my cosy bed to the radio warning me of ice everywhere.

I lay in bed, torn between the need to get up and run around and the urge to snuggle with my two cats, from 6am until 7.30am. I had decided running could wait until after work, reasoning the ice would have melted by then, twice – before reminding myself I am ALWAYS too knackered after work to run anywhere.

 The clock has started ticking down today. If I’m to have any chance to make it round this marathon I have to put in the work. So, with snowflakes drifting around my face, I braved the first day of the Edinburgh spring with as much bounce as I could muster.

After the shame of running over Leith Walk – one of the city’s busiest streets – in my pink leggings, hat and gloves, I made it to the isolation of Calton Hill and faced down my first challenge. The path goes up a steep hill and I know I cannot run to the top of it without stopping – yet.

I made it up as far as the third lamppost before my heart threatened to pop and I had to walk, but only until the next lamppost, when I started running again and made it to the top. Hopefully this is one thing I can work on gradually building up until I can make it to the top  in one.

Having reached St Andrew’s House on the other side and checked out the snow-flecked peak of Arthur’s Seat, I began a slower ascent back around Calton Hill to my starting point. Feeling surprisingly energised after a mile, I decide to extend my route through a small park on London Road. I wound around the undulating footpaths and add another easy mile to the route. Just time to shower, grill a bacon sandwich and make some fresh espresso before heading to work…

WEATHER: ice, light snow, cold

TRAINING: hilly running

MILES: two

PACE: easy

REWARD: bacon