Lockdown – One Year On – Part One (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 am the last person who should be giving medical advice. Except maybe for Doctor Who, who’s neither a medical practitioner or a PHD, just a conman with a phonebox. Or perhaps Dr Hannibal Lecter, who’d eat you as soon as cure you. So, when I try to answer a medical question, can you still train with the coronavirus, I’m not being too serious…

Can you train with the coronavirus? If it was a cold or flu or a broken leg then, for most runners, the answer is “yes, just run it off!”.

Amateur athletes are notorious for training and racing while ill. We assume any cough or headache or Ebola virus is just a sign that the training is working. “Of course, I’m not well,” we say “I’ve been training!”.

But, yesterday, I went swimming and I thought: “Should I be here? Should I be in a swimming pool that’s a coronavirus cocktail of sweat and spit and whatever else has washed off the bodies of a thousands swimmers?”

And what about the changing room? Do I need a hazmat suit to change out of my birthday suit in a room filled with perspiring bodybuilders?

Or do I assume that this is no different to any other cold or flu or bug and live life normally until the government says otherwise?

It seems as if many have already started to panic. There are no toilet rolls or pasta on supermarket shelves. Personally, if I was stockpiling, I’d be stocking up chocolate biscuits and cake. Stuff fusilli pasta, if I’m coughing and hacking, I want a KitKat.

I don’t get the obsession with pasta either. After the virus started in China there were numerous people saying they wouldn’t eat Chinese food. Now the virus is in Italy, we’re eating Spaghetti Bolognese like our lives depended on it (literally). It seems we’re only suspicious of our food when it doesn’t come in a cheese sauce.

We’re also washing our hands for 20 seconds. The Government says you should sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. I don’t think you need a song though – just wash your hands like you’ve just killed a man and don’t want to get caught. You don’t need soap to clean hands, just pretend you have a guilty conscience.

But, if water and soap is effective, then all you need to do if you want to swim in a swimming pool is pour some liquid soap in the pool. Turn it into a sink. That way 2000 metres will leave you cleaner than an hypochondriac throwing out his Kung Pow Chicken.

And, if you’re adding soap, then why not also add conditioner for your hair? I was told by a hairdresser that if you want to avoid damaging hair with chorine then apply some conditioner before you swim. Now, you’re not just training, you’re protecting yourself too. With all the soapy water, you’re immune from the coronavirus. And you have great looking hair.

Possibly.

Maybe.

However I’m not a Doctor and this is definitely not medical advice.

[Postscript – it turned out this was the last time I was in a swimming pool]

Campsie Sunset (Iain)

One of the features of Apple Airpod headphones is that they don’t require any wires to connect to an iPhone. I can be anywhere from 30ft to 100ft away from my phone and still listen to my favorite Cliff Richard albums. Only kidding, I would never listen to anyone as uncool as Cliff. I prefer Des O’Connor.

There’s a reference only people of a certain age will get!

I know the range because I had to google “what is the range of AirPods” when my iPhone fell out of my pocket whilst jogging. My music stopped playing 30ft to 100ft later.

It happened at Holehead Radar station. A place I have previously written about https://twinbikerun.com/2021/02/16/rugged-run-holehead-radar-station/ I was there because it was a nice evening and I wanted a video of the sunset.

I searched for my iPhone but I couldn’t find it. I went home to borrow my wifes phone and I then drove back to look for mine. It was pitch dark and foggy by this point. I walked all the way to the top of the hill but just as I started looking for my iPhone, my wife’s phone died. The battery had gone flat.

So the next day I got up early and this time, with a fully charged phone, I was able to find it.

I’m pleased with the footage I shot but whenever I watch it I don’t feel the beauty of the sunset. I just feel the pain of nearly losing my iPhone and how sore my legs were after 3 trips in rapid succession.

Film Friday – You’ve Been Running Wrong (Iain)

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

I don’t think about my running when I run. I run like a Nike advert – I Just Do It.

But after watching this, I did wonder if I have been running wrong….

If you want to know more about Tony Riddell check out his website. He’s quite an interesting guy https://tonyriddle.com/

Training for Celtman 2021 – March (Andrew)

Celtman is going ahead!

But I must admit to some nerves. Swimming pools don’t reopen until the end of April and the lochs have only just started to warm up and reach 5 degrees. Yet, just a few weeks later, we will need to swim 3K in the sea. That’s a big ask and one that I do worry about as a lack of training will certainly mean a slower swim, at best. There will be an increased risk of hypothermia and I’ll certainly be more tired on the bike after swimming without adequate training.

To help prepare, Iain TwinBikeRun spotted that Pinkston Watersports was starting open water swimming in it’s canal lock again in April. We were able to book a weekly session through to the end of May so at least we’d have one swim a week. I’ve also applied for the Arlington Baths for membership so I can use their pool once they reopen, which I thought was an expensive but safer option than trying to get in the Glasgow Life swimming pools. And, finally, I hope it’s sunny for the next two months so that the water can heat up and I can get back to wild swimming. Five degree is my cut off for swimming as the effort to swim is not matched by the time in the water. If I’m going to spend at least an hour trying to get to a loch then I want more than just a few minutes in the water.

Hopefully, all this effort, will help bring back some swimming ability before June, assuming it does go ahead. Because although the organisers have announced that it will I think it may be too ambitious to hold it so soon after lockdown eases because athletes may say that a lack of swim practice is just part of the “extreme” nature of an “extreme triathlon”, sometimes athletes need protected from themselves.

I am reminded of sitting in a boat waiting for a swim to start when the organisers announced it was cancelled due to high winds. The safety boats couldn’t sail and there would be no one to protect the competitors. “It’s okay,” shouted one man, “I don’t need a boat!”. However, some decisions need to be taken out competitors hands, especially when those hands haven’t been in water since lockdown 3 started in December.

Rugged Run – Earls Seat From Clachan Of Campsie (Iain)

There is more than one way up to Earls Seat. It is commonly tackled from Dumgoyne but I wanted to challenge myself and see if it was possible to get to Earls Seat by following the Finglen River from Clachan of Campsie. It was easier than I thought but I only recommend it if you are comfortable navigating with no paths around.

Check out the video to see the route.

VIDEO

MAPS

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

Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

An interesting route but probably not a good way for most people as its pretty rough.

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

40% path. 60% off road.

Dog Friendly

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

Elevation

542M of elevation.

Film Friday – Davide’s Way Against The Clock (Andrew)

What do you do if you are a racer who has no races to race? If you are rising star of trail running, Italian runner Davide Magnini, then you continue to race the one thing you can still race: time itself. He challenged himself to try and beat the current records for running three iconic Italian courses: Ortles, Stelvio Pass, and Presanella.

If you like watching someone running up a hill faster than most of us can run down it, and if you like watching someone run down a hill faster than we could sky dive down it, then each of these short films are well worth a watch:

Run Every Street (Andrew)

The last street

After 50 runs averaging six miles each time, I have finally completed a single page of my Glasgow Street map. To put this in context: there are nearly 200 pages in my street map (though it does cover half of Ayrshire, the Central Belt and as far north as Kincardine) so I have completed 0.5% of central Scotland!

Aside – I really should have got a street map with a smaller area, my progress would seem much more impressive, just like an advert for a sofa always makes the cushions seem bigger by hiring very small models to sit on them. Oh well, I’ll know better next time.

With one page complete, I thought I’d share some tips in case you think of trying to run the streets around your own home:

Tip One – There is a purity in running every street from your own home. It’s what the Pope would do, as he’s very pure, though I have to point out that he’d have it easy as the Vatican state is very small and he’d be able to run every street just by crossing St Peter’s Square to give a speech. However, if you’re not the Pope, and I’m fairly confident the Pontiff will not be reading this so it’s unlikely your name if Francis and you’re going to appear on Strava next week with the Vatican’s local hero tag, then you’ll probably have quite a few streets to run. And while the first ten or so runs will spiral out from your home, the next runs will involve you having to run along the streets you’ve previously claimed to get to your new world of virgin streets. After a few more runs, you’ll find you’re running 1 – 2 miles to get to the new streets and suddenly your average run has risen from 4 – 6 miles to 6 – 9 miles because you feel that you at least need to make a good effort to claim the streets after you get there.

So, just like the Pope, I feel I need to absolve you of your sins. Once you get to that stage, it’s okay to drive a bit or cycle over before starting. I didn’t. But I am pretending to be the Pope in this example so must be whiter than white. However, in future, now that I’ve finished my page, I will have no hesitation in driving from my house to get to a ‘start line’.

Tip Two – You may feel tempted to look at your phone to check where you are or what streets you need to cover. And for this, I must confess, that I have sinned! For yea, didst I look upon the Google Maps whilst trying to find a street in Orchard Park that I’d missed the first time and didn’t want to miss a second time as I’d already ran two miles to get there. But, if you can, try not to use your phone. There is nothing more satisfying than working out the layout of a new housing estate just by looking at the road and checking whether it’s covered in tarmac like a public road (which is likely to have roads branching from it) or is made of bricks like a private drive (and likely a dead end). And, you know what else? Orienteers use maps. And you don’t want to be an orienteer. Orienteering is nothing but advanced geography with trainers. Who knows what an ox-bow lake is? Orienteers, that’s who! The dweebs! Avoid!

Tip Three: After running all of these streets I have found a new love of the area I live – because these are no longer Glasgow’s streets, these are my streets. I am the Snake from the old Nokia mobile game. I have conquered these streets and turned them red, blue, green, brown, orange, yellow, blue and purple in my name. Now, to add the other 199 pages to complete my atlas.

Rugged Run – Dunglass (Iain)

Early last year, I come home to discover a herd of cows had rampaged through my garden. A local farm had left a gate open and their cows had escaped. The cows came down the road from the farm, passing lots of other houses, and took a fancy to my place. They all ran in and caused a big mess!

My wife was working at home that day and she didn’t notice the cows were in the garden. Although, she did wonder why their was a lot of noise coming from the garden.

If she had noticed then she wouldn’t have gone out to investigate. She has a fear of cows. Which I think is stange. How can you be scared of something as laid back as a cow? But the very next day there was a headline in a newpaper that read “MAN DIES IN COW ATTACK!” and ever since then I’ve seen lots of similar headlines.

A recent story on the BBC

Maybe, I should be wary after all!

Dunglass is a volcanic plug. Which is a rocky formation formed by a volcano. The most famous examples of them in Scotland are both in Edinburgh – the land Edinburgh Castle sits on and Arthur’s Seat. There are a few more which you can read about here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Volcanic_plugs_of_Scotland

Dunglass is an excellent viewpoint which is next to the John Muir Way. Just a short scramble provides a good vantage point overlooking the route as it heads towards Kirkintilloch.

You can get to it from either Lennoxtown or Strathblane. Just walk along the John Muir way. You won’t miss it!

Any why was I talking about cows? Dunglass is in a field which normally has cows in it so be careful and give them plenty of space.

If you don’t bother them. They won’t bother you.

VIDEO

MAPS

https://www.strava.com/routes/2797875057064053872

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Amazing view for very little effort

Parking

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There is plenty of parking in either Strathblane or Lennoxtown

Facilities

Rating: 1 out of 5.

None on the route

Nearest cafe

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There are cafe’s and a supermarket in Lennoxtown.

Run Surface

90% concrete path. 10% off road.

Dog Friendly

90% yes but there are cows in the field were Dunglass sits.

Elevation

59M of elevation.

Coronaversary (Iain)

One year ago, I left my office not knowing whether I’d ever be back. So I stole as much as I could. I made off with a laptop, a desktop, two monitors, a keyboard and a mouse.

I thought I’d be away for a long time but I returned two days later to pinch my chair.

Working at home for a year has been strange but not as strange as this analysts dress sense when he revelated a pandemic had been declared.

It was hard to take news seriously when it was delivered by a man who took style tips from Cruella Deville.

This was the first person I saw wear a mask. I found it quite unnerving. Not the mask. The fact he was wearing a t-shirt for The Rise of Skywalker . It is the worst film ever!

I think it is important even in the worst possible circumstance to keep a sense of humor about it. Otherwise it would be unrelentingly depressing.

I will celebrate my coranaversary in the same way, over the last year, that I have celebrated two mothers days, one Christmas, an Easter, three missed weddings and multiple birthday party’s. I’ll be in the house thinking of all the money I’ve saved!

Film Friday – A Mile An Hour: Running A Different Kind Of Marathon (Andrew)

It sounds simple: run three miles and then run one mile every hour for 24 hours until you run a marathon. It sounds so simple that maybe you should make it more complicated. How about running one mile every hour and also build a table, some oars, clear all the rubbish along the way you run and maybe 30 odd other household tasks. Why not try and do as much as you can in 24 hours? And run a marathon?

If you like the sound of simple ideas that clearly collapse when you get to around hour 20, mile 20 and you’re utterly knackered then this is the video for you. Optimism, idealism and a healthy dose of stupidity. But such a simple idea that you think: “maybe I should give it a go too?”