Saturday, 27 February 2016

March Motivation

Er, so this is a really big photo of my face and was also not taken on my run today but whatever, it illustrates the general gist of the post well.

With the move back home, this month has felt a little bit surreal. While I get settled into my new life my motivation to do much other than work, eat and repeat has taken a bit of a hit. But alas, I am here to write a post telling you that this is about to change. March will be the month where I get my life together, once and for all. Erm, maybe.

It has started somewhat early as this morning I got up and went straight out for a six mile run. It's getting a little easier to convince myself to do that as the sun rises a little earlier and it no longer feels like I'm dragging myself out there in the middle of the night. It was a crisp, slightly frosty morning and the cold air turned my hands red and sent a chill through me as I breathed it in. It felt good. With that, the half marathon training has officially begun and I shall no longer purposely ignore my run keeper notifications. The app sends unfailingly cheery messages such as 'Looking forward to your 12 mile run tomorrow, Kylie?' Recently, these tend to be answered with a resounding 'fuck off'.

No more! Let's be friends again Run keeper. I truly apologise for my contemptuous behaviour.

I also bought myself a nice shiny pink yoga mat in order to encourage more dedication to practicing that more regularly so you can tell that I'm really serious about this lifestyle change.

Although, whilst I'm trying to be more motivated, I'm also trying to be a little bit more streamlined. This realisation occurred when I was frantically searching for a triathlon to take part in. The options available to me were the Montrose Triathlon, only a week after the half marathon or Monikie Triathlon two weeks before my wedding. Thoughts of injuring myself and hobbling down the aisle on crutches put the kibosh on that one. (As an aside, isn't that a wonderful idiom. I've spent half an hour on google trying to figure out what it actually means and where it comes from. Short answer is - I have no idea).

In amongst all this triathlon organising a thought occurred to me. Maybe I'm doing enough? Perhaps I don't always need to be cramming stuff in for the sake of it? Couldn't it be said that starting a new job, getting married, running a half marathon and writing a blog is enough for one person to do? I think, if I was being a little less tough on myself, I'd probably think it was.

So for March my goal is thus; focus on the running, the yoga, the wedding and the job and do the other stuff when I have the time and inclination. Hardly an epiphany I know but much needed nonetheless.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Three weeks in

The first few weeks of our new life in Dundee have flown past. A mix of working, living and catching up with lots of people has meant that our days and evenings are full. This was exactly what we wanted after the quiet solitude of our lives in Edinburgh and while it's wonderful, it's also new and overwhelming and we're trying to negotiate with the time and space available to us in order to find the right balance.

Moving back to the place where I grew up brings with it mixed emotions. I'm excited to be closer to home but also, there's a sense of deja vu and perhaps, dare I say, defeat. I sleep in the same bed I did as a teenager. I ride the same bus to work that I rode into town on Saturdays to spend my pocket money. I traverse the city without really thinking about where I'm going or what I'm seeing because I know it too well.

I've been trying to make a conscious effort to get rid of this attitude and take a bit of time to appreciate my surroundings and let myself be surprised by things I find in a city I know well. The best thing about home is that it's only a short run to get out into the countryside and so when the light allows, I've been making sure that my running routes take me away from the grey pavements and out towards the fields and dighty (pronounced di-ch-ty) burn that travels southeastwards on its journey to meet the river Tay.

On our second weekend in our new home we ventured out to the snow covered Sidlaw Hills and I rejoiced in the fresh air and powdery whiteness of my surroundings. Then, that evening we found a new favourite pizza haunt, a most essential thing in any place I expect to call home.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Edinburgh: A Photo Diary and a Farewell

We left Edinburgh a little over a week ago. In the month preceding our leave I tried to commit as much of it as possible to memory. The weather didn't help as it was a little too cold and dark to do so much exploring but I tried nonetheless. I made a conscious effort to look up and gaze towards the Pentlands on my way to work and on the occasion that I spotted a a nicely coloured morning sunrise, I took out my phone and snapped away, mentally framing the vision in my mind too and reminding myself just exactly how deeply I've loved this city with its ragged skyline and Arthur's Seat looming over the spires of the old town.

Running along my usual routes I lifted my gaze from the path in front of me more often than I normally would and tried to permanently scan the scenes around me into my brain for future reference should I ever miss them, which hindsight has shown me that I do.  I didn't manage to get down to Cramond, one of my favourite discoveries during my time living in Edinburgh but I can picture it so vividly that I wonder whether it is possible that the memory will ever fade. Living in a new city meant that every trip out of the house allowed me to explore unknown streets and find new favourite haunts.

I've loved Edinburgh so much but for the last couple of years I've felt like it has been missing something for me. It's fine living in a city that you love, but life isn't really about buildings, and nice running routes and an abundance of restaurants. Initially I loved the feeling of living in a city where we didn't have any ties. It gave me a sense of independence, a feeling that I was out there on my own. I like solitude. It suits me, within reason, and gives me a sense of freedom. Over the last couple of years though, that solitude has become ever more oppressive and my love for the city didn't seem like enough to keep me there.

And so, changing circumstances bring us back to the town I grew up in. I've switched the claustrophobia of solitude for that of a life already lived. When I left six years ago, I didn't think I'd return so happily, imagining instead that I'd want to live in a variety of places and explore more of the world yet I'm excited and positive for this move. It's allowing us the freedom to build our lives from scratch again and because of this we have the opportunity to consider exactly what we want that to look like. The strange thing is that when I really think about what I want my life to be, it's very different from the ideas I had when I was younger about what that would look like. It involves much more stability and routine than I ever imagined would be desirable.

So, here we are. Starting over in my home town, with a new job in a field that I'm really interested in and which seems like a small step in the right direction. And personally, I'm taking some inspiration from my previous efforts on this blog which taught me that I can live a life filled with new experiences right on my own doorstep if only I go out looking for them.

For now, at least, it's likely that Edinburgh won't feature as much on the blog so I thought that I'd share a few of my favourite photos as a way of saying a fond farewell to the city that has been my home for the past six years.

 This is one of the most iconic views over Edinburgh and for good reason. From this spot Edinburgh looks at its finest, all towering spires and moody buildings. Edinburgh looks brilliant in the sunshine but it is on a dark day, with a grey sky menacing that the view from Calton Hill really captures its essence.

 The photo above is taken from the very steep walk up one side of Arthur's seat and looks out towards the Forth. the dark shapes just before the river are buildings on Calton Hill so I'm essentially staring back at the vantage point from which I took the first photograph (kind of).

During my training for the Triathlon in 2014 I discovered that a cycle path nearby my house led me straight to Cramond and decided to go off for an adventure. It was the kind of sunny day that had the smell of summer permeating the air and I came across this place for the first time. It quickly became one of my favourite places to cycle to until some bloody buggers stole my bike. It's a little bit of wilderness right in the heart of a bustling city.

Also while on a cycling kick I often ventured down to South Queensferry and felt pretty dwarfed by this view of the Forth Road bridge.

 The photo above is Greyfriar's Kirk which I often liked to pop into if I was walking around the grass market area because I am a creepy bastard who loves graveyards and this is one of Edinburgh's finest. Also - interesting factoid - J.K Rowling was reportedly inspired by the gravestone of one Tom Riddell for the name of her infamous villain, Voldemort.

In keeping with the creepy graveyard aficionado theme, this is the Commonwealth graveyard which was just around the corner from our flat (which was at the back of the buildings in the background). 

And finally, I'll finish with a picture of a pretty spectacular sunrise taken from the window of my work office. The perks of starting at 7.30am!