If technology doesn't seem like magic, it's probably obsolete

I'm finding less time to update my blog these days, but my flickr photostream is often updated.

Playing in my house right now...

At 00:00 GMT on Thursday I was listening to:

More of what I've been listening to

Latest pictures from my phone
More pictures from my phone

Friday April 30 2004 at 21:23 GMT

Overall I'm not a huge fan of linking a site just because someone has put something up, but I think Mr Beckett has some staying power and could do with the linklove. He's not a tech person per se, but he's knocked together the decent beginnings of a site for cars and owners of cars that can get to 60mph in 4 seconds or less. I've suggested to him to reduce the size of the main image and add an RSS feed. He should also keep an eye on two formiddable bloggers with their Fun1 Formula One blog. Sharp wit and insight make a heady mix.

Friday April 30 2004 at 01:56 GMT

You just know I'm going to have to give this a go! Suggestions of routes very welcome.

Friday April 30 2004 at 01:52 GMT

Last week I found this very handy running site, called Cool Running. Their articles and stretches to overcome my sore ITB have been very good (bonus link 1 bonus link 2).

They also have a great warm-up routine, which is something I was looking for previously, as well as lots of good training tips. Useful for the English, who should be exercising five times a week. Are the Irish, Welsh and us Scots all fit enough already?

One of my birthday presents (from my Godson and his slaves) was a subscription to Runner's World which I've just been browsing through an has a stack of useful articles too. Unfortunately (for you), the best ones require subscription. Trying not to get information-overloaded now!

Friday April 30 2004 at 00:00 GMT

I've be taking it easy on the running front since Sunday, thanks to my sore ITB, but tonight I was just dying to run, so I did. Now that I'm getting the hang of my watch I decided to wear it to training.

We did a warmup round the Meadows first, and then 3 sets of 5 runs of ~1 minute with 30 seconds, then 45 seconds and finally 60 seconds between each rep. We finished with a lap of the Meadows and then I ran home. 13.09km in total, with a running time of 1.03:46. Here's the map from tonight, (and here in SVG; if you get confusing messages about a plugin, get it here for free). If you have more problems, please leave a comment!

It's interesting to note on the map the slight discrepancies, where it looks like I've been running over the rooftops (down Morningside Road) and leaping across roads and over houses around the Meadows. My expectation of the watch (and GPS) was that it wouldn't be perfect, so it's interesting to have this as a case study of sorts. There is, of course, the possiblity that the map itself is slightly out. Still, I have a GPS device on my wrist!

Thursday April 29 2004 at 20:07 GMT [via mobile]

Royal Bank employees picket outside the EICC.

Royal Bank employees picket outside the EICC.

Thursday April 29 2004 at 10:40 GMT

Last night the LA Lakers beat the Houston Rockets, sending them out of the NBA playoffs by winning 4-1 in the best of seven games contest. Obviously I'm not happy the run has ended, but they are a fairly young team and it was great for them to get this far and get a taste of the playoffs. Next year...!

Wednesday April 28 2004 at 01:58 GMT

Mobitopia post Ten years (to the day) have zoomed past since Orange launched in the UK. I've posted about it over on Mobitopia.

Tuesday April 27 2004 at 01:14 GMT

OK, I've been really slow to post about this, but I've been busy! After a few chats with Matthew following his GPS Running post on Mobitopia and a good amount of price-checking, I splashed out on a Garmin Forerunner 201 from, for about USD 130 delivered (~67 pounds) to a US address. [Note: I didn't do this to avoid tax, just because won't ship internationally with a UK credit card; the value is underneath the threshold for bringing goods into the UK.]

My first problem was that it didn't come with an international power adapter (it only handled 110V, instead of 220V). A quick visit to Maplin solved my problem for GBP 20 (still over GBP 30 cheaper than I could buy the watch directly for in the UK!). Second problem was that I tried to start the timer when I was still inside, which it just didn't like -- it needs 30 seconds or so with a good view of the sky before things start. Basic user error...

The Logbook software from Garmin isn't very exciting, but does provide an XML file output of each run, which is pretty cool. My grand plan was to write a small app to upload these files to a database and do something interesting with them. It might have taken me a wee while to actually get it all sorted, though. ;-)

Via somewhere I ended up at this Phillip Torrone post on Engadget which links to a few interesting sites. USAPhotoMaps sounded cool, but a bit ... US-specific, plus there is a download. GPS Visualizer sounded incredible, but too good to actually be true. After outputting my Sunday run to XML, I ran the upload to see what would happen. To my genuine surprise, I got a superb map of exactly where I ran, along with elevation data.

The map is in Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) format, so you'll probably need to grab the free viewer from here and restart your browser before you can see it. Here's a link to the map (this may not work, yet; I'm still getting to grips with SVG) (150k map, it will take a second to load; more thanks to Adam for helping me set up my Web server.) That is magical technology! Tomorrow I'm going to have a further play about, and see what other wonderful things it can do. UPDATE: Here's the map as a JPG.

Please let me know how you get on with the SVG file, as I plan to post more maps of my runs and if it isn't going to work in SVG, there is an option to use basic JPG.

Monday April 26 2004 at 23:54 GMT [via mobile]

I probably bought this two weeks ago, but never got round to blogging it. This is after my Sunday run.

I probably bought this two weeks ago, but never got round to blogging it. This is after my Sunday run.

Monday April 26 2004 at 21:41 GMT

After talking about the Yahoo! Messenger, I saw on 2lmc that there is a new version of the client available. You can download it directly from here, but beware when you're installing it. The 'typical' installation looks like it will install an extra toolbar in your browser, set Yahoo! Mail to be the default on your computer and set Yahoo! as your homepage, plus other nasty and annoying things, no doubt. The better plan is to select the 'custom' installation and only select the top option, for Messenger itself.

The beta has very much an XP/OSX feel to it. To me it feels 'heavier'; there are more features and more bits to it, which unfortunately makes it feel like the MSN client as opposed to the slightly more basic-looking but fast and easy-to-use previous Yahoo! version. I'm sure I'll get used to it, though. It still seems pretty memory-hungry, too.

[Update at 23.27 GMT]: Newsfactor has a good article on why this is a big update for Messenger.

Monday April 26 2004 at 21:31 GMT

As I said two days ago, my use and reliance on email has been decreasing. Matt and Matthew, two guys I've met via Mobitopia and talked with in #mobitopia, both had similar thoughts within 24 hours. Matt's illustration of IRC use is great, and really is an example of a typical day.

My further thought for today is exactly how much power Yahoo!, MSN & AOL hold -- power which is only going to increase as more people find email a pain. With email, people/names are associated with multiple addresses which include old addresses, spam-laden addresses etc. With instant messaging (IM), there are still 'spam' users on the system, but they can be blacklisted easily, leaving the user with a superbly clean list of contacts, and Yahoo! with a great insight into who you talk to when, and about what. Given that the IM protocols effectively remain closed, if, for example, Yahoo! suddenly decided to start charging for their service, exactly how much money would they make? $TACK$!

As always, there are open source alternatives, most notably Jabber, but the only people I know who use that would be described as technology aware, whereas most of my Yahoo! friends are the polar opposite, so it looks the power will stay with the big three for some time.

Monday April 26 2004 at 12:27 GMT

Well, yesterday was a whole lot of fun. The plan was to go to bed early Saturday night and then head over to see my parents. What happened was that I stayed up until 4am doing random computer stuff, then slept through my alarm at 7am.

When I finally surfaced at 9am, I decided to take a run. I managed 16.91km (~10 miles) of a slow and rubbishy run. After my right Iliotibial Band (ITB) gave me pain a few weeks ago, I thought I had conquered that one ... but now it is the left knee's turn. Grrr. This running lark is really making me appreciate just how incredible the body actually is!

When I made it back to my flat, I just felt like lying in my own self-pity, but I knew I really wanted to get home to my parents and have tasty food as only they can concoct, so I ordered my leg into action and through a series of minor miracles got a train (x2) and was transported home. As ever, my parents had a delicious menu laid out, very nicely started with Champagne from their recent sortie to Champagne, along with stories of the region itself! They're both looking very well from their holiday.

Somehow lunch stretched into hours and I finally made it back to Edinburgh just before 7.30pm, for a few beers with John (Robbie's dad) and Rich. We planned to watch the Real Madrid vs Barcelona game, then ask the Haymarket bar staff to switch over to Sky Sports Extra to show the basketball (Houston Rockets vs LA Lakers). That fell apart quite quickly, when they decided to show another football game instead, and they only have one Sky box, which means one Sky channel only... The Caledonian was similarly showing the football, so we decided to head along to a real sports bar!

Sportsters (beware sound on site) was such a letdown. We found a table and started to flick through the channels to find the basketball, with no joy. We asked at the bar, and found out they too only had one Sky box, and they were showing the Bilbao game too. Sports bar??? As Rich pointed out, someone should go to the States and see what a sports bar is meant to offer.

So, we headed back up Market Street to a small place called Belushi's, which is attached to a hostel. It looked a little ... dive-y for our liking, but they were showing the basketball, and the guy behind the bar seemed pretty friendly, so we stayed there for the entire nailbiting game which Houston managed to push into overtime, but eventually lost. They're getting the North American Sports Network shortly, so it should be good for all basketball, baseball and ice hockey fans, too.

After that, we popped into Oloroso for a pint and a birthday cigar and then home. All in, a very enjoyable day indeed!

Sunday April 25 2004 at 01:34 GMT [via mobile]

My sister is the Queen of quality cards, although she does have the added benefit of working in a card shop.  My birthday card from her says: If technology doesnt seem like magic its probably obsolete.  How very true!

My sister is the Queen of quality cards, although she does have the added benefit of working in a card shop. My birthday card from her says: If technology doesn't seem like magic it's probably obsolete. How very true!

Sunday April 25 2004 at 01:15 GMT

Tomorrow I'm doing a long run and then meeting my parents for lunch. My plan is then to visit my Godson (and his family ;-), have a few beers with John and then catch up with Rich to watch the Houston Rockets vs LA Lakers NBA playoff game, so there may or may not be beers at Oloroso. Give me a shout if you are/were planning to come along.

Sunday April 25 2004 at 00:58 GMT

To be perfectly honest, I've never done a B&P (blank and postage -- you send someone a blank tape and a postage paid envelope for return, they copy a live show on to the tape), because when it seemed attractive, I had already got rid of contact media equipment and others were not using CD-Rs for recording yet. Then I decided I'd just stump up the cash and pay ten pounds for the nice cover, too, buying CDs 'commercially'.

Thanks to some neat technology called BitTorrent and a slightly more open-minded attitude from the record labels (did I really just say that, and did I mean bands?), the practice has been updated. Joey points to some Pixies live shows (their first for about 12 years), available using BitTorrent technology. By the looks of things, they were online mere hours after the show would have ended!

I've downloaded the Minneapolis show, and the quality is great, although it should be, seeing as it was a soundboard mix. Apart from the Pearl Jam fan site, where the Pixies shows are kicked off from, I'm not sure who else is being quite as progressive for live shows right now. The Grateful Dead seem to have an active group going on for old shows (information here). The Barenaked Ladies and Metallica are both offering pay services. If only they'd move to BitTorrent, their bandwidth costs would drop and they could make the shows much cheaper or even free and reach more people. And welcome to Utopia. ;-)

On the subject of BitTorrent, I should also mention Azureus, a graphical BT client, written in Java. Runs rather nicely, if you're not such a fan of the command line interface of the Python client.

Sunday April 25 2004 at 00:17 GMT

It looks like someone had a bit of an issue with their keyboard when registering a domain. Instead of entering Mobitopia, a fine name, and finding it taken, they entered Mobilopia. Even stranger, they then went ahead with the registration. Would you do business with an organisation called Mo-bile-opia?

Sunday April 25 2004 at 00:07 GMT

Jeremy Zawodny was talking about having a good email clearout today -- signing off those mailing lists that you're just on ... because you've been on them for ages, even though you never read them nowadays, and just reducing the inbox clutter.

A few months ago I completed a similar exercise, signing off several lists that delivered minimal new information to me, moving some to be read as RSS feeds in Bloglines and getting Thunderbird to handle the rest for me (it has a great SPAM filter, built-in).

These days, I often receive just a few valid emails to my personal account on a daily basis, which is quite a change from days gone by. So, what's changed? Well, I send far fewer emails than I used to, for starters. Instant Messaging and IRC (imagine a group instant messaging conversation, normally centred around a specific topic, mobile technology, for example ;-) are far faster ways of sharing links and ideas.

Thanks to a merciless campaign, the overwhelming majority of my online friends, family and colleagues now use Yahoo! Messenger to communicate. The handy offline message functions regularly doubles as 'email-style delivery', without having to remember someone's address. On IRC, we have the mighty mobibot which grabs all those juicy links and spits them out for the Web, not to mention Monty who passes on information to other IRC users when they're away.

Blogs have a big part to play in email disappearing, too. With people discussing ideas online using comments and their own blogs, there is less need for email, particularly group email. And who can forget the humble text message? There are numerous occasions where I've started writing an email, then thought "hey, I can send that right now, and even better, get a receipt guaranteeing it has at least made it to the other recipients handset". Sure, email is 'free' and SMS costs, but for that instant gratification it seems we as a whole are willing to pay.

Given the ever increasing tide of SPAM slooshing around, I'm glad we have these alternative and superior methods available. I'm sure Jeremy will get over the withdrawl symptoms soon enough.

Friday April 23 2004 at 12:01 GMT

I'm getting this online before everyone disappears for the weekend. My birthday is Sunday, so beers in the 'Roso. John "Robbie's dad" is hoping to come out for a few, but he has a early & busy day on Monday, so things may well kick off quite early (7pm?) but I should definitely be there from 8pm. Open invitation to all.

Excluding Iain's wedding, my aim is to not drink after Monday until the marathon on June 13th. As the mighty Flaming Lips said, "the test begins ... NOW".

Thursday April 22 2004 at 22:57 GMT

Sorry I've been so quiet lately. Work is double busy at the moment which meant I kind of lost my weekend, I was in Frankfurt on Monday & Tuesday and then we had visitors from other offices here on Wednesday. Phew!

Last week I only managed to get in a four mile run on Tuesday, a good Thursday night session (four times a times mile run, each repetition getting faster; my times were 7.20, 7.05, 6.42 & 6.34; 9 or 10 miles in total, after a warmup and running to & from the meeting point) and then just three miles on Sunday.

Tonight was my first running day this week, and it was a solid session: 4 repetitions of a 2 minute run, an 8 minute run, then two times the 2 minute run which had to be done faster than the initial 2 minute circuits (check) and then an 8 minute run to round off, followed by a mile cool-down. Right now I am very tired -- quite a while since I've felt just so energy-empty. Sleep is calling.

Tuesday April 20 2004 at 16:43 GMT [via mobile]

Heffe with Borno.

Heffe with Borno.

Monday April 19 2004 at 17:53 GMT [via mobile]

... and looking straight out.

... and looking straight out.

Monday April 19 2004 at 17:49 GMT [via mobile]

The view from my hotel room looking back to the city and our offices...

The view from my hotel room looking back to the city and our offices...

Sunday April 18 2004 at 22:39 GMT [via mobile]

My Godson is growing up quickly!

My Godson is growing up quickly!

Sunday April 18 2004 at 14:22 GMT

Allan and Sophie completed the London Marathon. Allan ran 4 hours 46 minutes and Sophie did 4 hours and 9 minutes. Extremely good work by both of them, and even more reason to get over to their sponsorship pages: Allan Sophie.

As Allan wasn't sure if he was going to run, none of us (parents/sister/me) made it to London to see him run and to help him afterwards. Thankfully the super rocking Eric and Karen went along and helped him to find his feet -- HUGE thanks to you both! Eric got a few pictures and videos of Allan: picture one, picture two, video one (1.7MB AVI) & video two (5.7MB AVI).

Saturday April 17 2004 at 11:11 GMT


The boys have all sent me their photos from our Serre Chevalier trip last month, and I'm slowly getting round to putting them online. First up are Kev's excellent pictures. Enjoy!

Friday April 16 2004 at 14:29 GMT

Sunday is the London Marathon, and I'm really pleased to say that my brother Allan will be running his first marathon then. Sophie is also running, as she did last year. Both are running for very worthy charities, so please support them: Allan & Sophie.

Thursday April 15 2004 at 23:46 GMT

Over the last few days I've had some good times at dinner. On Monday I created the chile to end all chiles from the Lupe Pintos cookbook. Given that it took me something like four hours to construct, I felt eating it on my own was not right ... so Jams and Rich fired over to give me a hand. It was tasty, and all gone within about twenty minutes.

Last night I met up with Fiona for dinner, because it sounded like fun, we hadn't seen each other this year and ... Fiona got engaged! We agreed to eat at Ricks as neither of us had eaten there before. It was a fun meal, and the food and service were great, until we were looking for the bill, at which point there was NO-ONE about!

Tonight I dined alone, but I'm really proud to say that I haven't bought any pre-made meals for several weeks (in a row). My diet is definitely on the up and I'm finally making some very good use of my lovely kitchen. Running has really upped my already large appetite, however after weighing myself tonight ... I am exactly the same weight as I have always been. Amusing. Suggestions for good meals to make are always welcome. :-)

Wednesday April 14 2004 at 22:25 GMT

Man, I just saw that Caron Keating has died after a seven year battle against breast cancer. Sad news indeed. She was definitely one of the most memorable Blue Peter presenters. This Blue Peter site is great for the memories...

Wednesday April 14 2004 at 09:26 GMT

The Toronto Maple Leafs have made it to the NHL playoffs, and are leading in their battle against the Ottawa Senators. Anthony sent me this amusing song, in support of the Leafs. I think I've also got to say "Go Leafs go!".

Sunday April 11 2004 at 22:55 GMT

Da Vinci Code

These days I don't read half as much as I'd like/should, but after picking up Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, I simply couldn't put it down.

The story is a multiple murder mystery intertwined with lots of code-breaking and religious involvement, essentially in search of the Holy Grail.

If you plan to read the book, stop reading this post now.

Initially I was very impressed with the amount of knowledge I thought I was going to be able to impress my friends with on detailed religious areas, but it turns out there has been plenty of artistic licence used. Nevertheless, the book is a great read, so pick it up if you can.

Sunday April 11 2004 at 22:50 GMT

Sunday April 11 2004 at 22:26 GMT

On both Friday night and Saturday night, I was out with friends. Friday was to see my friend Colin perform in Oklahoma!. Good fun. Then I headed into town to meet Kev and a million other people for some beers, which ended up with his brother and I drinking large quantities of Jack Daniels in Po Na Na.

On Saturday, I did some stuff around the house, got a haircut, bought a Saucony Functional Fun T (I would like to the Saucony site at this point, but it is quite hideous -- they are clearly too busy designing great products) and a stack of ingredients to make a mighty chilli thanks to the fantastic guys at Lupe Pintos. I caught up with the boys for a few beers in the Standing Order, Oloroso (new 'bar manager' needs to get to know his regular customers and cool his jets on the 'time to leave' deal...) then headed on to Tan's club night at the Cellar Bar. All good!

Today we had a birthday lunch for my dad at the Tower Restaurant attached to the National Museum of Scotland. Food was very good, and it was great for us all to be together. I am very fortunate to have such fantastic parents and siblings. :-)

This evening I wheeled out a solid 90 minute run, going from my house to Liberton, back to Fairmilehead, then to Colinton before heading home. I'm taking an educated guess (thanks Yell) that the distance was about 11 miles/17.7km, which is a fairly decent jaunt. Intentionally I was not pushing myself to run fast, and at the end I really felt good -- I reckon I could have kept going for another few miles, but I was already about an hour late to meet Allan for a quick beer... Now I am absolutely knackered, and going to get some well-earned sleep.

Sunday April 11 2004 at 15:23 GMT [via mobile]

Amusing poster outside the museum.

Amusing poster outside the museum.

Sunday April 11 2004 at 12:46 GMT [via mobile]

Team lunch for my dad at the Tower restaurant.

Team lunch for my dad at the Tower restaurant.

Saturday April 10 2004 at 22:01 GMT

I was beginning to get pretty disappointed with some of the pictures from my trusty P900 -- they seemed to be pretty fuzzy compared to what I was expecting and other phones (notably the Nokia 6600). This afternoon I found a super-soft cloth and carefully cleaned the filthy lens, and clarity appears to have been restored and I'm a happy user once again!

Saturday April 10 2004 at 18:56 GMT [via mobile]

Ingredients for a proper bad-boy chilli!

Ingredients for a proper bad-boy chilli!

Friday April 9 2004 at 18:31 GMT [via mobile]

Watching/listening to a friend at Church Hill Theatre in a production of Oklahoma! Sold out every night, so big things are expected.

Watching/listening to a friend at Church Hill Theatre in a production of Oklahoma! Sold out every night, so big things are expected.

Wednesday April 7 2004 at 15:12 GMT

My Fedora box is now online and fully configured, again thanks to John. After the initial install, I was having quiet a bit of trouble getting up2date to work a) reliably (it kept throwing GPG errors and stopping during downloads); b) at any decent kind of speed (I was getting 10-20k, when I was expecting 60k). John found this very handy PDF document on updating Fedora Core 1 (thanks, Linux Transfer!) that solved both problems. With Red Hat 9.0, I had paid up and was used to using the Red Hat servers without thought. Of course, when updating Fedora, every user's up2date is pointing to the main Fedora servers by default which, I guess, have much less capacity ... and should require less capacity if each installation correctly uses a local mirror.

Here's what to change to make up2date work more efficiently:

  1. close up2date
  2. select a close Fedora mirror from this list
  3. edit /etc/sysconfig/rhn/sources on the line yum updates-released, replacing what's there with your favoured mirror
  4. restart up2date

Apart from that, I have to say I'm liking using Fedora. It just feels good. My aim is to stop carrying my laptop home each night and to start using my Fedora computer. I only generally use a few applications on my laptop (Firefox for tabbed browsing, Thunderbird for IMAP email, Chatzilla for IRC and the Yahoo! Messenger client) which all have Linux flavours available, so things are looking very favourable. Assuming I can find a card reader for my Compact Flash and Memory Stick Duo with a decent photo editing package, I'm set. Recommendations for both are very welcome. Go Fedora!

Wednesday April 7 2004 at 13:36 GMT [via mobile]

During the update on Sunday.

During the update on Sunday.

Wednesday April 7 2004 at 13:15 GMT [via mobile]

John's neat computer, as compared to my P800 phone. Very smart indeed!

John's neat computer, as compared to my P800 phone. Very smart indeed!

Tuesday April 6 2004 at 22:59 GMT

I've had my Top Up TV on for a week or so now, and I have to say I'm not really impressed. Admittedly, much of it is my own fault for not reading the small print, specifically about when the channels are actually available. Here's a handy guide showing when the channels are on (I missed that when I signed up).

For example, I was quite looking forward to some Discovery Home and Leisure watching, but it is only available from 6am until midday (UK local time), which is when I'm typically sleeping, getting ready to go to work or at work. The same is true for Bloomberg, which is only on from 5am until 10am, but not in the evenings. UK Food is only on from 10am until 4pm, which completely rules it out for me!

As I haven't taken (and don't intend to take) the porn channel, there are basically only 5 out of 10 channels that are available to me on a working day, two of which finish at 11pm (UK Style & Discovery), a further two are showing old stuff (UK Gold & Turner Classic Movies) leaving just E4 showing new programming when I am at home to watch it.

If you're considering subscribing to the service, make sure you keep the expectations of what you are actually getting firmly in check. At least at only GBP 8/month, the cost is not too painful to bear.

Tuesday April 6 2004 at 11:11 GMT

  • Superman & Seinfeld, via Mahyad
  • Blogaholic quiz; I scored 56 out of 100 which means You are a dedicated weblogger. You post frequently because you enjoy weblogging a lot, yet you still manage to have a social life. You're the best kind of weblogger. Way to go!
  • I just found Richard's Edfest site (via Richard himself). Looks like a neat implementation of an idea I had a while ago! He just added an RSS feed too. Cheers! There's a possibility I may request contributor status...

Monday April 5 2004 at 13:37 GMT


After getting another reminder email from Red Hat telling me errata support for Red Hat 9.0 would end on the 30th of April, I got together with John to upgrade my home server.

John brought round his supersmall mini-ITX computer, which is really lovely. Once my moblog scripts are working again tonight, I'll be able to post a picture of it. Over the years, I'd accumulated a LOT of unneeded files, so I took the opportunity to spring clean over 14GB out. It then took about three hours over a fast 100Mb connection to dump all my MP3s and files off lofi.

The Fedora install itself was going to be an upgrade, but there were a few niggling things with the file system setup that required a disk format, so we opted for a clean install via FTP from John's box.

So far, I'm liking Fedora. I'm now using the GNOME desktop instead of KDE and liking that difference too. Everything feels a bit more polished and smoother than with RH9, even though the difference is probably actually tiny. lofi even feels a little bit faster, too. :-)

Monday April 5 2004 at 12:59 GMT

One of the guys I met on Saturday had completed 17 marathons, and gave me this amusing/despairing advice: "a marathon is split into two halves: the first 20 miles and the last 6 miles".

Sophie has continued her reign as Marathon Queen, completing the Paris Marathon in an excellent four hours and five minutes. In less than two weeks, she runs the London Marathon! This year Sophie doesn't have a sponsored place, but she is collecting for charity, Action for Blind People. You can donate here.

Monday April 5 2004 at 11:19 GMT

Last Thursday at running, I volunteered to run a short leg (3.15 miles) as part of a team in the Scottish Athletics Road Relay National Champs. When I got to Livingston on Saturday, however, I'd been volunteered to do a long leg (5.8 miles / 9.3322 km).

My first race (in ... 12 years!) went OK. I made it all the way round in one piece, in a time of 42.03 minutes; just for comparison, the fastest lap was 29 minutes! Extrapolating my time out to 10km would give me a time of 45.13, which counts as 'something to improve from'. Overall, I was pretty pleased, given the undulating course, my first time nerves, the level I'm at in my training and the weather (moderately windy, light rain at times).

I have to say a big thank you to Jill for helping getting my legs into shape. On Thursday night I overstretched the hamstring(s) in my right leg, so I popped down to see Jill who massaged my legs and helped ease the tension, getting me on track for Saturday.

Small (non-paid) advert: if you need sports massage, sports nutritional advice or weight gain/loss assistance, then give Jill a shout. She has a room at a cool salon just off Broughton Street in the middle of Edinburgh (map here). Unlike some masseuses, Jill has a very personable approach and is genuinely interested in her work -- she took time to show me detailed diagrams of what was hurting my leg and what she would be doing to remedy it. Her contact details are: 0131 557 6517 or jillycraig [AT] .

Monday April 5 2004 at 10:35 GMT

Sorry for the non-blogging of recent -- I've written several things but for one reason or another, they haven't made it to the site. I'll try and catch up on them today.

Friday April 2 2004 at 12:50 GMT

Seeing as Sandy has totally not mentioned it, I'll update you. Her and her kids are off on holiday -- the first time in 21 years for Sandy. Not just any old holiday, though -- she's off to Botswana for two weeks to visit her dad. Not jealous. Nope. Not at all...

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