Thursday, 25 March 2010

Fast Black

Turn on the news, pick up a paper and all you'll see and hear is doom and gloom.

Good news doesn't make the headlines. It's just not sensational enough.

But it's not all bad out there.

Last week my 85 year old grandmother had an operation to have a finger removed. I know sounds a bit drastic, but it was the result of her reluctance to attend hospital after a fall a couple of years ago.

A few days ago she could take the cabin fever no longer and called a cab to drop her 'down the street'.

Tea n cake and two bags of shopping later she calls for a lift home. Now Strathaven aint like the metropolis of East Kilbride from where she came. Round here you need to know a week from Wednesday that you'll need a cab.

The lady on the phone politely advises her that 'yes Mrs Anderson, you can have a car at 7pm' a mere 3 and a quarter hours away!!

A young couple over hear her plight and come to her rescue to offer her a lift home. She doesn't know them and they don't know her, but a sense of common decency wouldn't allow them to see her high and dry.

I'd like to be able to thank them but there are probably a few Helen and Jimmy's in Strathaven.

There's more good news..... It's Friday tomorrow.

And tomorrow it will mostly be doing this.........

Sitting on a train heading South with a bowl of pasta, a cheeky wee bottle of wine and a girly mag.

Enjoy the weekend :-)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Hardmoors 55. A Marshals Eye View

I wish I had known before hand that miles in Yorkshire are MUCH longer than standard miles.

The day got off to a rocky start due to a slight overindulgence in the staying-awake-late stakes.

Up and out the hotel door early o’clock, much to the surprise of the night porter. The Pirate and I were travelling in convoy and I was elected lead driver. A twisty turny journey to Helmsley took a great deal longer that expected.

On arrival we met up with lots of WHWR friends; Tim Downie, Sharon Law, JK & Doc McIntosh. It was great to finally meet Andy Cole, who ran the whole race in a flat cap. Top man!

Jon Steele, as expected had all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed. Very well organised indeed.

The runners were assembled outside for the start and a geezer from the National Park gave a speech about stunning vistas and dramatic views, none of which would be seen that day.

After the off the Pirate and I cooked up our breakfast on the veranda of the Football Pavilion, who said marshaling was hard work? The smell of sausages cooking in the open air is divine.

We cleared up and packed all the drop bags in to my wee Corsa and headed to Osmotherley Village Hall. Sue Knowles and I were chief cooks and bottle washers, with loads of help from Helen Withams daughter Clare. I didn’t think tea and coffee would be a big hit with the runners, how wrong was I? The freezing cold harsh conditions were beginning to take its toll and most people enjoyed a cuppa, even if it was only to heat up their hands.

The Drop bag facility worked very well here. Some runners were uber professional and had laminated cards with their particulars detailed precisely. Others scrawled their name and number with a biro.

The weather was reeking havoc with expected arrival times, and rather than freeze to death atop a hill The Pirate waited for the first runner to arrive before heading to his next checkpoint. The Pirate was dispatched to Carlton Bank just after 11am.

Given that the conditions were so tough most runners arrived in fine fettle and the banter was great in the hall. JK and Sharon arrived, following a wee detour, and quickly demolished the contents of their drop bags. Sharon was suffering the effects of the cold and struggled with her hands. I had to assist quite a few runners with gloves, zips water bottles and the like. It was then I realised just HOW hard the Hardmoors 55 is.

I saw Tim briefly as I was leaving for my next CP. Felt bad that I didn’t have time for a cuddle, coz I quite like them, but I was meeting Mike Mason, King of the Essex Underworld, and I didn’t want to keep him waiting. I’m quite attached to my kneecaps you know.

Mike and I were the keepers of the Kildale Hall checkpoint, about 42 miles in to the route. More tea and coffee available here and all the biscuits you could eat. Jon’s Mum and Dad were on hand for spotting runners approaching from the hill and taking pic’s. What a lovely couple.

Mike and I developed a system where he would head to the top of a hill check what the runner required and ran back to give me a heads up. This worked very well and again most people took advantage of a hot cuppa. Runners were looking very weary by this stage, and while the banter was still good the buzz was a little more subdued.

It was here that my WHWR buddies came a cropper. Doc McIntosh presented himself to me and declared himself out, along with two others. He was followed soon after by my wee mate Shazza. Sharon is a tough cookie and can handle most things thrown at her, however she arrived in tears and shaking uncontrollably. I was really concerned for her. Luckily, Julia, Helen Withams support had shed loads of spare clothes and we got her changed and into a sleeping bag and placed her next to the radiator. Tim was the next causality. He said it was the first time he thought he might actually die during a race. He made the right decision and I managed to organise some transport for them both back to the finish.

It was about now that the rain stopped and the sun came out. Talk about crap timing.

Mike’s wife Gill and daughter Sian arrived from their day trip armed with fish and chips and helped us clear up the hall. John Vernon was taking over from Mark Barnes as sweeper and I felt for him as he headed of into the dead of night to cross the moors.

I said my goodbyes to the Mason’s and headed off to meet the Pirate at the final CP a mile from the end. He had been there for hours and while I had armed him with copious amounts of food that could be easily reheated he had packed it all at the bottom of his Bergen. He told me once that he gets grumpy if he doesn’t eat…. We sat there in the pitch dark, careful not to destroy our night vision (?) it was like a stakeout. Something I have zero experience of, evidently.

It was eerie to watch the distant light from head torches bobbing along the top of the final hill down to us. As the clouds had lifted it caused the temperature to drop dramatically, but at least the final runners weren’t getting soaked anymore. John Vernon and Flip escorted their two charges to the finish line and we finally called a halt to Hardmoors 55 2010 just after midnight.

Jon Steele looked totally gubbed (sorry J) and relieved that while there were a few DNF’s everyone survived a brutal outing on the moors. A great event. I look forward to returning in the better weather to see those promised vistas.

My experience this weekend makes me thankful that my race, the Clyde Stride, is a relatively flat town and country event in the middle of summer ;-)

ps. I've just about forgiven Steve Walker for calling me a bloke :-)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Hardmoors 55 2010

Just a few pics from Hardmoors 55
You can feel the tension building.
Big Jon reminds everyone that they have to drop a can of beer with Dave as the pass the final checkpoint!!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Fake Bake And A Couple Of Tinnies

My printer is working overtime at the moment as it reams off all the available information for this weekends Hardmoors 55 trip.

Jon Steele runs a tight ship and as promised the event is being organised as a military operation. I’m a wee bit worried coz my military career is limited to a year in the air cadets when I was 13. Blue wasn’t my colour.

The poor Pirate is deflated not one but twice. His gammy ankle has prevented his participation on the run as a competitor and has been allocated some hefty checkpoint duties instead. Imagine his delight at hearing his main duty was adjacent to a public house. Imagine his subsequent horror at hearing the route has changed and he’s now posted on a disused railway line. I’m sure he’ll survive, although someone better drop by with a bottle of fake tan. He has taken to using it on his hair; you think I’m kidding ;-)

The HM55 looks like a cracking event, quite tough and a real challenge. I think it’s time I set my sights on some goals. Although some of the hair brained challenges I’ve heard about this week are a little beyond me, me thinks.

Mrs Wilson, Striders matriarch and WHWR veteran is just two runs short of her hundredth marathon. This feat will finally be achieved when she completes the Edinburgh marathon in May.

Craig Hamilton, former Striders president completed a double iron man last year, and to give himself a rest but still set a goal he decided to run everyday this year!! And I thought the Marcothoners were mad.

But to top it all, Tom Wilson, husband of above mentioned Mrs Wilson also ran everyday for a year and the next and some of the next. 1000 days of running back to back!!

You’re all mad, loop the loop. How did I ever get involved with you?

Now where is my knitting?

Monday, 8 March 2010

Ups and Downs

I think I painted myself in a pretty bad light in my last post. I’m not usually someone who parties hard all weekend. Honest. I like nothing better that curling up on the sofa with nice bottle of red, a big bag of kettle chips and watching a movie with my beloved. Circumstances have conspired against us in the past couple of weeks and have halted any such notion of domestic bliss.

This week I have redeemed myself, well sort of. My new Brook’s have been well and truly broken in. They are most definitely not shiny white any more.

Saturday was the Striders 2nd annual cross country event, and my first. A club event, open to friends and family. At a quid for members and two for friends you cant go wrong.

There were two options; a short route and a long. I offered my services during the week thinking we always need marshals and was told “I’d prefer it if you ran” ok no probs.

I arrive at the village hall nice and early and chat with the assembled Striders. There are 60 people ready for the start line and there is quite a buzz. It’s a perfect day for it, like spring has truly sprung. It is only now I learn that of the 60 people registered only 6 of us are doing the long route; and the 5.5 miles I thought it was is actually 6.5. I really should pay attention.

It has been about four years since I’ve worn a Striders vest, apart from the Caley Challenge, I couldn’t tell you the last race I took part in.

I just don’t have that competitive streak any more. Years of spending my weekends at Karate competitions knocked that right out of me.

I was looking forward to taking part, and called the Pirate for some words of encouragement.

“Attack the race, no holding back. None of that namby pamby nonsense. Take them out, but don’t set off too fast” he then went into some sort of gobbledy gook about oxygen debt. Yeah yeah like I’d ever be going fast enough for that.

It was a crackin run. I loved every minute of it. A proper hard core route that went something like this.

Down, up. Into a field, down, cross the river, up. Over a stile into another field, down, cross the river, up, back down. Cross the river, up, down, run beside the river. Scramble on your hands and knees up an embankment. Up, down, up, up, up finish!!

You’ll have noticed there are quite a lot of ups and down’s….. Well it’s not called the Avon Valley for nothing!

I’m delighted to announce I was 3rd lady. Well there were only 3 of us, but it sound’s good.

I still felt strong at the end which pleased me greatly, coz I had a night out with the girls to see Hormonal Housewives to prepare for and a pair of killer heels to wear. The price we pay for glamour ;-)

Mrs Mac x

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

It's A Small World

Monday was supposed to be just a wee gentle jog round the town, given that I had by my own admission ‘over indulged’ a little on the weekend.

Seeing my gaffer confirmed this to me.

Walking in to the office on Monday morning I was met by ‘I hear you can fairly put it away’. Now I’m not sure if that’s the Scottish vernacular; but generally it means I could give Oliver Reed a run for his money.

Anyway, my run. I headed out with a wee group and partnered a girl who is quite new to the club.

You know how you end up blethering and your pace just runs away with it’s self. Running the hills and allsorts I was.

We did the usual bit about what do you do, where do you work blah blah blah.

Turns out she’s Old Bill, CID none the less.

'Oh I met some of your colleagues on Friday' says I.

'Where was that?' She replied.

'The wee pub in Hamilton.' I continue.

'I was there too!' She exclamied.

Uh oh, I think I used the term diddies in my last post.

Better not let her see it then.

Lucky for me she had gone home before we arrived.

She agreed they are indeed Diddies.

It sure is a small world.