Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tiree 10k Results: Run, Walk and Kids

Above l - r: Fifi Munn, Me, Joanne
Ok folks, here are the results as provided by Will. Click on the links below to view the spreadsheets.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

VIDEO BLOG Tiree 10k 2007: The morning after ...

Hi Guys! I'm afraid there is no 'before' and 'after' video. Unfortunately, the batteries ran out on the camera after a few stills had been taken by a friend while I was out on the course.

The day was not a complete success - but it wasn't an absolute disaster.

I ran the course in 01:03, three minutes off target. But, that was still three minutes faster than last year.

I've decided to tell the whole sorry story in a video. Click on the photograph above to watch me sitting in the car, talking about my race. Warning: this lasts about 11 minutes!

I forgot to say a couple of things. First of all, Joanne walked the course in 01:40, twenty minutes faster than she did in 2006. Well done, darling.

The other thing I meant to say was that I watched Rocky IV before heading out to run, to get pumped up.

Maybe I should have watched Rocky I instead.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Aerodynamics: Eve of the Race

Hello! Well, here I am, almost there. Tomorrow, Saturday 26 May: the second annual Tiree 10k Road Race. This old duffer has been training now for about three months. Not consistently, I have to admit. And not as hard as I should have. But now it doesn't matter because the moment of truth is approaching fast.

To make up for the lack of dedication in training I decided, this morning, that I should try to be as aerodynamic as possible. So I got out the hair clippers and took off my hair. All that remains is a stubble. I believe I may have been born with more hair on my head than there is today.

I got up fairly early today, did some stretching exercises, some strength exercises and then headed over Sandaig way to the fist mile marker. I jogged back a mile to the start and then ran back to the car at race pace. I managed the mile in 9:24, right on the money for a first mile. That lifted my spirits, a bit.

I've been tired today but not as a result of the early morning exercise. I was on a Skype conference call to fellow runners in the United States and Canada at 2 a.m. this morning. The time with them, of course, was much more civilised. It was great to talk to Steve Walker, the pod caster from Massachusetts who puts out Phedippidations. We were discussing the second annual World Wide Half Marathon, set for October. I'll tell you more about this in a few days.

Tomorrow I hope to record a 'before' and 'after' video. My aim for tomorrow isn't to 'beat' anyone except myself. Last year I came in at 01:06:00. I was a bit disappointed at the time but it was my first road race, after all, and given the fact that I decided to start running at the grand old age of 50 I don't suppose it was all that bad.

On Saturday I want to finish just under the hour. One second under the hour will do me. Please send me your positive thoughts.

There's something like 40 runners taking part this year, 30 walkers and a whole load of kids on the fun run. This is an event which is just going to get more and more popular.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 21, 2007

Missionary Talks: David Livingstone

My new friend down Mexico way, David Peach, contacted me by email this morning.

You may recall me telling you a couple of days back that David is a missionary taking the Gospel to the deaf people of Mexico. That's David and his family, above.

David was mailing to let me know that Part 1 of his podcast about the life of David Livingstone is now online. And yes, it features yours truly in the 'role' of David Livingstone.

I know it would be a great encouragement to David if you went to his site and downloaded the podcast. It is free, of course, and, though I say it myself, it makes interesting listening.

Part 2 comes out next week and there will be an opportunity to download the only thing as one complete podcast shortly after that.

To get more information click here.

I'd like to thank David for asking me to contribute to the podcast. I enjoyed taking part.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Longing for July

Joanne and I are really looking forward to our holiday in July.

The holiday has a theme, you see. I can hear it but I can't exactly describe it to you.

You'll remember how I told you about making contact with my long-lost relatives in Suffolk and Dover? And then my cousin in Wales? And my cousin in Australia?

You know, they say you can choose your friends, but not your relatives. I would have to admit I've never been a great guy for keeping in touch with my folks.

However, I'm just enthralled by the family contacts I have made over the past two years.

The weird thing about all of this is that it's my Father's side of the family that is falling into place here.

And it's bringing me contentment.

Tonight I got an email from my cousin in Dover. I have never met Jeff. Neither of us knew we existed until two years ago.

This talented and innovative photographer, knowing that we are on holiday to coincide with our wedding anniversary he and his friends have re-scheduled a BBQ meet from June to the 21st July - overlooking Dover - which ties in with our visit and anniverary.

Now, how nice is that?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Skype Me!

Here's an interesting little experiment. I recently downloaded Skype - the internet telephone system which you can use to make calls to people on other computers. The quality is great, much better than web chat or anything like that. You have to be on Skype to be able to call me - you can download it free at - and as long as I'm available (the link on the site will tell you) we can have a chat, if you like! It'll be interesting to see how that goes. The free download link is below the advert for the 'Pro' service and the calls - between computers - are free too.

I'd recommend you either use a headset with a microphone or use a microphone and headphones when using Skype.

Friday, May 18, 2007

David Livingstone and the Tiree 10K

Not content with being mistaken for a muscle-bound Hollywood idol and a popular singer/songwriter based in Holland, I have now taken on the mantle of David Livingstone for an up-coming podcast about this famous son of Blantyre.

Just about everyone has heard about David Livingstone and his missionary work in Africa. In particular, Livingstone is remembered his campaign to rid Africa of the scourge of slavery.

Last week a Missionary to the deaf people of Mexico - a gentleman named David Peach - contacted me through a running email ring we both subscribe to and asked me for some advice on how to pronounce Livinstone’s name: was it ‘stone’ as in ‘rock’ or as in ‘stun’? Having been born and brought up in a little town in Lanarkshire which was only a ‘stone’s throw’ away from Blantyre I was able to say it would be the latter.

After I had communicated this information, David then asked if I would be interested in reading some quotes from the great man’s journals and letters for a podcast (a sort of internet radio show) he was preparing.

So last night I sat down with my script and got on with it. David seems pleased with result and I’m looking forward to hearing the finished programme. I’ll let you know more about that when it comes out.

Is there no beginning to my talent?

It’s nearly upon me. The 26th of May. The second Annual Tiree 10k run and walk. Have I trained enough? Am I ready? Definitely not, on both counts. Click on my training schedule to the left and you’ll see exactly how I’ve been ‘preparing’. Lots of running, a bit of cycling, multigym workouts … but precious little running.

The reason for that is I’ve been having a lot of pain in my right shin when running any distance. In the past few weeks the furthest I have ‘run’ has been about 3.5 miles and even then I had to stop, walk a bit, stretch and go on for another little bit.

If only the pain will stay away on race day! I’m now trying lots of different techniques in desperation, such as walking on my heels (which supposedly builds up the shins) and walking on my toes (which builds up the calves and thus supports the shins better).

I heard someone say recently that ‘running a race is 90% psychological and the other 10% is all in your head’. Come race day I can only hope the adrenaline will carry me through. To think I’ve actually booked a place in a further two officially organised races this year!

I’m really not trying to ‘beat’ anyone here. The only person I’m racing against on the 26th is myself. I only started this running lark about 14 months ago, ages 50. Last year I came in with a time of 1:06. This year, anything under an hour – even one second – would please me. But if that shin acts up I will definitely have to stop several times and stretch. That’s going to hold me back.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Last Friday night Joanne, Jenny, our two friends Catriona and Fiona, and yours truly (of course) headed over to the Lodge Hotel for a wee refreshment to celebrate Jenny's 24th birthday. Apparently I had a great time.

That apart it's been a disappointing weekend. The wind has really picked up. It's been gusting up to about 54 mph today. Joanne and I tried to venture out for a walk but managed only 2 miles. It doesn't look like the wind is going to die down any time soon, either.
Should have known, of course: tomorrow is a holiday.
In other news: Joanne had left the Co-op and has gone to work at the Crofters' Commission offices in Crossapol. Next door, that is, to where I work. There's something nice about going to work together in the morning, I must admit. It also means an extra hour in bed for both of us, should we so wish it.
Joanne is really enjoying it so far. Looks like this has been a good move for her.
As the weather is so depressing we've finalised - or at least finalised the first stage - of our holiday this year. In July, Joanne and I will have been married 25 years. We had originally planned to go back to the town in Scotland where we went our honeymoon - a hotel in Pitlochry, in Perthshire.
Unfortunately for us the hotel we spent our first few days of married bliss has now been converted into a backpackers' hostel. I suppose we could go back there; we could even ask for the same room. We'd probably get it, too. Only thing is we'd be sleeping in bunk beds and sharing the room with another four people.
So now we are heading down south to see recently discovered relatives. Although my Father was an Aberdonian his Mother - my Grandmother - came from Dover.
Like me, my Father had a long and kind of impressive name. He was Charles Nestor Howe Scott. The CNH bit always intrigued me. One day, about two years back, I 'googled' 'Charles Nestor Howe' and this came up, right at the top of the page:
Check it out. I was amazed. First time of asking, I found out that my Great Grandfather was called Charles Nestor Howe, that he was something of a hero, and his Great Grandson, Jeffrey Howe, had been doing a whole lot of genealogical research on his family in Dover.
So I contacted Jeffrey Howe. He was as gobsmacked to hear from me as I was to learn about him. His Father is my late Father's cousin. Does that make us second cousins? I don't know for sure.
Whatever, I'm heading down to Dover, Kent, in July to meet him. His Mum and Dad now live in Suffolk where I will visit them and hopefully also visit my Auntie Barbara - my Father's sister - who also lives in Suffolk.
What a fascinating trip this will be.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Last Man Standing: Rest In Peace, Tarzan

By a bizarre coincidence, Gordon Scott, the actor who played Tarzan, mentioned a couple of days ago in this blog, has died aged 80. The other 'Gordon Scott' I mentioned, the Scottish singer-songwriter living in Holland, replied to an email I sent to him remarking on the coincidence: Hi Gordon, thanks for getting in touch, I had a look at your blog, looks like you're keeping yourself busy on Tiree!! Liked the music by the way!! I have a confession to make, Gordon Scott is my stage name, my real name is Gordon Falconer (Falconer kept getting spelt wrong over here so I decided to make it easier for the venues). I'm coming over to Scotland in July with my fiddler, unfortunately we won't be on Tiree, but if you're on the mainland do come and see us & have a pint (the dates and venues are on the website).

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Video Blog: Kirkapol Chapels 1st May 2007

Join me as walk and blether during a visit to the medieval chapels at Kirkapol yesterday afternoon. Warning: All, some or nothing of what I say may be historically accurate. Except for the opening ceremony of the access track: I was there at the time! CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO.