Lockdown – One Year On – Part Four (Andrew)

I wrote the following entry a year ago and then decided not to publish it given the uncertainty over how COVID would affect everyone. I didn’t want to publish an entry talking about going to the swimming pool when it might have been safer to stay at home. It seems okay to publish it now as a way to look back at this time last year.

I thought I had trouble breathing last night. Every so often I’d need to take a deep breath while I could feel a heaviness over the top of my chest. It didn’t help that I was also coughing… and had turned green and smelt faintly of decay.

Those last two symptoms might be hyperbole.

Did I have the Coronavirus? Or, after 130 minutes on the indoor bike cycling through Zwift, was I just tired?

We seem to be gripped by a fear that everyone is about to die. Even though the statistics show that we’re not. That most people will pick up the virus and then recover a few days later, we’re treating it like the end of the world, which is depressing. I thought the world would end in fire and brimstone, not with a mountain of bogroll and tinned tomatoes.

Maybe we’ve been spoiled by films and television. We see the endtimes in terms of the spectacular when, in fact, for everyone but the heroes battling to save the planet, it ends with a full fridge and a clean bum.

I worry about catching it. I’m being irrational but still I scour websites for “What are the symptons?”, “What does it feel like to have the virus?” and “how many 42 year olds have died from the Coronavirus?”.

It’s pointless. I’m looking for answers to confirm a fear. I should be looking for “How many people have recovered from the Coronavirus?” and “How many 42 years olds have the lottery?” because the numbers are much more comforting. 

At work today we had a call to plan how we’ll deal with the virus. Travel stopped between offices. Cancelling meetings. Limiting use of the kitchen. Asking people to let us know if they think they are ‘vulnerable’ and what to do with someone who decides to self isolate for two weeks then comes back only to self-isolate again and again until it starts to snow in December and they can take the Christmas break.

We have an action plan but it’s already out of date. We issued it 5pm. By 5:05, Boris Johnson was recommending everyone worked from home and that whole households should isolate for 14 days if one member showed symptoms. Maybe the extra toilet roll has started to make sense?

Rugged Run – Meikle Bin from Clachan of Campsie

Should I run when injured? A doctor will say “definitely not” but I say “how injured am I?”

Like all runners I tend to ignore aches and pains by telling myself, “I’ll run it off.”

The day before this run I slipped and injured my back. I didn’t feel sore at the time. I was actually quite impressed by the quality of my fall to the ground. I managed to hold onto my phone all the way down. Even Tom Dailly the Olympic diver wouldn’t have fallen as gracefully.

I felt fine to start the run but during it I got sore twinges in my lower back so I did what any runner would do. I ignored them and hoped it would get better. It didn’t. By that evening I could barely walk as every movement sent a sharp paint through my back.

The next morning it took me 20 minutes to get up out of bed as I couldn’t twist without pain. I’d move a little bit of myself and then wait until the pain went away before trying again.

I had to get my wife to put my socks on me because I couldn’t bend over. Trouble getting up, scared to fall over and requiring a career – it was a good lesson in what old age will fell like to me.

Thankfully I feel better today but whilst watching the video below remember that I suffered for my art.

I previously wrote about Meikle Bin here. This is similar but it adds on some extra climbing by starting at the base of the Campsie Hills in Clachan of Campsie.

Check out the video to see the route.

VIDEO

MAPS

Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

An interesting route but the road section might put people off doing it. If so you could start at the forest entrance instead

Parking

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Clachan of Campsie can be very busy

Facilities

Rating: 1 out of 5.

None on the route

Nearest cafe

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There is a cafe and in Clachan Of Campsie

Run Surface

20% road, 50% path. 30% off road.

Dog Friendly

Yes as long as you go back the same way you came.

Elevation

635M of elevation.

Outdoor Swim Review – Pinkston Water Sports 2021 update (Iain)

“Pinkston is home to Scotland’s only artificial whitewater course, a flat water basin with bathing quality water, meeting rooms and storage facilities for clubs and groups, Pinkston Watersports is an official Glasgow 2014 Legacy project and is operated by Glasgow Watersports Ltd, a registered Scottish charity run by a volunteer board of trustees.”

https://pinkston.co.uk/facilities/what-is-pinkston-watersports

Threre is much debate about where the name Pinkston originates from.  Supposedly the Scottish version of the name originated in the old barony of Pinkerton near Dunbar. The barony had the motto “Post nubila sol” which translates to “After clouds sunshine,” which is a fittingly apt motto for an outdoor pool because anyone who uses an outdoor pool needs a positive attitude – it might be cloudy today but the next time I swim it will be sunny!

I’ve used the facility for the last few years. It’s a great place to get an outdoor swim in a safe environment.

Last year (2020) during lockdown, Pinkston offered a pay and swim session. Pinkston was the only swimming pool open as it could operate in a COVID safe manner due to it being outdoors.

This has resumed as of April 2021.

They offer a number of different times (https://pinkston.co.uk/activities/swimming/) I like the 1700 Monday slot as I can get a swim in after work but before I have my dinner.

I was back this week for my firs swim of the year there. It wasn’t very busy – there was 4/5 others swimming. The full length of the basin was open which meant I could get a nice 400m loop in. The water temperature was surprisingly in double figures (10C) I’d worn my full winter swimming kit but I could have word less and still been ok.

I appreciate everyone’s view of temperature is different but double figures is ok for me. I can swim until 5C but below that is too cold for me.

The only downside to the swim is that Pinkston can’t open the changing rooms to users. Everyone has to get changed outside. Which could be considered a positive thing – getting changed outdoors is a skill all outdoor swimmers have to learn. You might as well start at Pinkston.

REVIEW

Ease of Access:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The area around Pinkston is getting regenerated. Local roads and access points are sometime closed so always check google maps first to find the best way there.

Water quality:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The water is murky. Don’t expect to see the bottom of the basin. The pool is not that deep. I can stand up at any point in it (I’m 6ft tall)

Swim Quality:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Their is a 400m-ish loop when the basin is fully open. The site is open to the east and west which means it can be tricky swimming at sunrise/sunset as the Sun shines directly into your face.

Other People:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Due to Covid regulations only a small number of people can swim at a time. It never feels busy and there is plenty of room to swim in.

Would I go back: 

Yes – it is convenient to have somewhere in the city. It is good for beginners and it is a great starting point for people who want to move from the pool to outdoor swimming.

Film Friday – Lennox Castle – A Guided Tour (Iain)

Film Friday is a weekly (when I remember to do it) recommendation of one video to watch this weekend.

I recently wrote about Lennox Castle https://twinbikerun.com/2021/04/06/lennox-castle-iain/ Have a read of that and then come back here. Have you read it ? Good.

After filming there I discovered a piece on YouTube showing what the site originally looked like. It has changed allot since its heyday.

Lockdown – One Year On – Part Three (Andrew)

I wrote the following entry a year ago and then decided not to publish it given the uncertainty over how COVID would affect everyone. I didn’t want to publish an entry talking about going to the swimming pool when it might have been safer to stay at home. It seems okay to publish it now as a way to look back at this time last year.

We’ve been at home all week. On Monday, Boris Johnson announced a nationwide lockdown, which we’d missed as we were walking the dog and, with the announcement trailed in advance as a ‘big statement’ we pretty much expected to find that we’d been incarcerated on our return. Not that it made much difference to us. Mrs TwinbikeRun has been home for six days and I’d been home for four. We weren’t going back to work or out and about now. 

At home we’ve divided the house in two with each of us at opposite ends of the top floor. We share a speaker and she gets to choose the playlists as I don’t need to listen to music while working and can easily tune it out if I need to. However, after one day we need to establish some Spotify ground rules when choosing tracks. And, according to Mrs E, rule number one is that it’s entirely reasonable to listen to One Direction’s album ‘Made In The AM’ five times in a row.

At work, on Monday lunchtime the Scottish government announced that we must close down all work for the foreseeable. On Monday night the UK government announced we could stay open. We listened to Nicola Sturgeon and not Boris and closed down on Tuesday. Others didn’t which led to one newspaper report of angry staff recording conversation with their boss to ask him “Who was more important, the chief exec who ordered them to work, or Nicola Sturgeon?”. The answer: “Well, Nicola doesn’t pay your wages does she?”.

A day later everyone was shut. Everyone was on “furlough” and we just had a skeleton crew. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate name!” I said and the next day we were the “core team”. 

Today, is the weekend and I can tell because my laptop is closed.

Other than that I’ve tried to clean my bikes, get them ready for summer and generally potter around the garden. I don’t potter round gardens. I pay people to do the gardening. I hate gardening. Instead, I realised something bad about me today: it takes around 500 people to die before I will willingly take out a lawnmower and cut the grass. 

Rugged Run – Earl’s Seat via Finglen (Iain)

I’ve previously written about Earl’s seat here https://twinbikerun.com/2021/01/05/rugged-run-earls-seat/

This time I wanted to try to get to the top via finglen. I thought if I followed the river for as long as possible then I’d be able to jump across to the once the sides of the glen became less steep.

I was correct 🙂

The walk up the river was surprisingly easy but it was a bit of a slog across the moor at the end.

Check out the vide to see the full details.

VIDEO

MAPS

https://www.strava.com/routes/2800766251958271880

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Quiet but can be slog if the ground is bad.

Parking

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Plenty of parking in Clachan if you get there early but it can get busy later in the day.

Facilities

Rating: 1 out of 5.

None on the route

Nearest cafe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There is a cafe at the start and end of the run.

Run Surface

80% moor/grass. 20% off road (through trees)

Dog Friendly

It depends on the route you choose to go down but I normally don’t take my dog’s just in case there is sheep.

Elevation

542M of elevation.

Film Friday: A Day In The Life Pro Triathletes (Andrew)

Lucy Charles-Barclay and Reece Barclay are both professional triathletes and husband and wife. Both were swimmers before converting to triathlon in 2014 having no background in running or cycling. They are now both successful professionals and Lucy has become one of the best triathletes in the world.

Their YouTube channel is worth a follow and this video in particular is worth a watch to see what a typical day of training if like for them as they get close to a race. I say “typical” but as the video was shot in lockdown it also shows how they are training and having to comply with COVID regulations.

Lockdown – One Year On – Part Two (Andrew)

I wrote a few entries a year ago and then decided not to publish them given the uncertainty over how COVID would affect everyone. It seems okay to publish it now to look back at this time last year.

We are living in historic times. Which is just like living in non-historic times except there are fewer books written about it.

Years from now people will look back and ask how we coped with lockdown. I can say this: “today, I cleaned out the shed and catalogued all of my old paint pots by room and colour. Result.”

I also emptied the shed and found a patio strimmer. I don’t even know what that does. Do patios need strimmed? Are they not made of concrete? How do you strim concrete with anything but dynamite? However as it’s in an unopened plastic box I can only imagine it was bought at a point when I did know what it was and thought I would need it but not at a point where whatever it did was actually required urgently as I never opened it. In fact, there was so much junk in the shed that behind the leaf blower – something else I’ve never used – I found the Ark of the Covenant. 

Today, my wife and I decided to go the local Morrisons for a weekly shop. I volunteered to go on my own as it seems selfish to both go together when shops are limiting numbers. We make a list of what we need for the week and think about taking latex gloves – another shed surprise (were we going to carry an operation in there?! Maybe an amputation with the patio strimmer?) – but decide against it as I’m not a serial killer.

Outside Morrisons there are barriers set up to direct people to queue to get in. We stand two metres apart, self  isolating, until one man walks out the shop, and decides to push his trolley back along the queue rather than going straight out into the car park. It’s like watching the boulder coming towards me from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Do I run? Jump out of the way? Or just let it flatten me? Luckily I’m next to a gap in the barrier and he takes his plaguemobile out of it. 

Inside the store a couple wander round the veg aisle touching carrots and onions and saying “These are no good. Not this one.” Well, not now you’ve touched them!

Another man walks round in a white tracksuit and a Burberry checked facemask. I might not be able to see his face but at least I can still tell he’s Glaswegian.

At the checkout I ask if the store has been busy today. “It wasn’t safe earlier,” said the man at the checkout, “but they’ve reduced the numbers coming in and it’s okay now”. Oh, that’s good, because Coronavirus is like a cool party. Once people leaves, it’s doesn’t hang around. (This may not be medically accurate).

I then drive home with an itchy nose. I don’t touch it. At home I try and open the groceries with my hand wrapped in an arm of my jumper, which I’ve pulled down.

“That’s smart,” said Mrs TwinBikeRun, “now you won’t get the virus from that jar of Jalapenos.”

“Exactly!” I said.

“You’ll just get it on your jumper sleeve that you’ll wear for the rest of the night instead.”

I throw my jumper somewhere I know I’ll never touch it again: the shed.  

Lennox Castle (Iain)

Lennox castle was built in the 1830s.

Lennox Castle Hospital
Lennox Castle

In 1936 it became Lennox Castle Hospital.The largest and best equipped hospital of its kind in Britain. The hospital cost over £1 million to build, 

At its peak in the 1970s over 1700 people were crammed into the sparse accommodation.

Conditions were so bad that in even the hospital’s medical director said he had never worked in “a worse pit”.

There is a good history of the site here https://historic-hospitals.com/2015/05/01/lennox-castle/#:~:text=LENNOX%20CASTLE%20HOSPITAL%2C%20LENNOXTOWN%20Lennox,to%20designs%20by%20David%20Hamilton.

The hospital site

You can find the details of a rugged run that passes by the castle here https://twinbikerun.com/2020/02/10/rugged-run-lennox-forrest/

Film Friday: Bob Graham: Ultra Running Documentary

The Bob Graham Round ultra running challenge is a challenge to run up and down 42 mountains (aka Fells) in the Lake District within 24 hours. The challenge is named after the first person to complete it back in June 1932, Bob Graham, a guest house owner. For the next 90 years he would have be pleased that other people have followed in his footsteps as his challenge inspires people to travel to the Lake District to complete it – and he can rent them a room when they arrived. It should be called the Bob Graham Advert.

This documentary about the Bob Graham Round follows Danish runner Kristina Madsen as she attempted the round in 2019. I’ve read a number of books about the challenge and they all say the same thing: if you’re attempting the challenge there will be a big community of runners willing to help you. Previous racers, local runners who know the fells, everyone will go out of their way to help anyone trying the challenge. And this documentary is no different, it shows the problems she had when some of her support pulled out, the people who stepped into help her, and it shows how grateful she is for everyone’s support. It’s nice. Very nice. But…

… wouldn’t it be great to see just one film where someone turns round and says “why are you talking about my support crew, they didn’t run it/cycle it or swim the Atlantic – I did! It was all me! I am the greatest!”

Humble is nice but it would make a change to see Kanye West or Donald Trump complete the Bob Graham.