No not from running - bad luck Tom. But from work. Yes it's that time of year when we all get to recognise our National Day. A day when British nationals actually now choose to travel here voluntarily and then decide to sign up for life.
But let's rewind a day to Monday 25th Jan, and with it comes it's own fiercely proud national day that has stood the test of time. Yes folks that's right, you surely guessed it - it's none other than Scotland's Robert Burns Day.
Also known as Rabbie Burns, this young lad (died at just 37yrs old in 1796) has long been the source of much inspiration for the timeless poetry and lyrics he crafted. You may not know this but for most of your adult lives, you have more often than not sung one of his songs once every year at the strike of midnight on December 31st. Yep - Bob was responsible for our drunken Auld Lang Syne efforts.
Moving on from the actual reason for the day, the Scottish just love to recognise and celebrate the occasion and as such we were fortunate enough to be invited to our mate Craig (Kilted Scot) Wiseman's house for a real treat - Haggis!
Having done my run already (10km easy), we landed early with a six pack of Scottish Ale (see below for review) and kicked back with Anna and Craig whilst Jaden launched with their kids. We caught up with him later in time to take him home to bed.
And there it suddenly was. The Haggis - consisting of Oatmeal, Suet, Onions, Liver, Offal and seasoning of course just in case it was needed. The build up was massive. Timmy Lindop was doing his best to convince us it was not to be eaten, Corky just wanted some black pudding instead, and us, well, we were just intrigued.
Craig performed the traditional "addressing of the Haggis" which contains translated lines such as "The groaning trencher there you fill, Your buttocks like a distant hill" and the like. Probably a good thing he addressed it in his native tongue before piercing the stomach lining and exposing the haggis meat.
And so Greta decided to step up and take the first spoonful closely followed by me. The result was surprising. "Tastes like mince" according to Greta and she wasn't far off the mark. It was a combination of mince and liver and we didn't actually mind it. We didn't have much more but we didn't mind it nonetheless.
So after a great night with mates (Jeet, Birchy,Jac & Kevin, Timmy and Sonya) and after a wee dram or two of Glen Fiddich whiskey (yum), it was time to call it a night. Don't believe what Tim tells you. We didn't leave at 8.30pm. He never gets it right.
It was closer to 9pm.
Tues 26th Jan - Australia Day:
Greta had entered us both into the Knapsack pairs relay race in the Blue Mountains for the morning. This was a 3hr event where I would run a 5km technical bush loop, then Greta, then me, and so it went on, alternating laps for 3hrs whilst managing the handover and subsequent entertainment of Jaden each time.
It was definitely tiring. There were dark moments, frustrating periods, a few shining moments, then episodes that just wouldn't resolve without the consumption of sugar, and ultimately just pure exhaustion for us both.
But luckily when we handed him over and were out there running our laps, it was bliss. What a great little 5km loop that had something for every bush runner including a sweeping panoramic view looking back off the mountain.
We both ran well - averaging 22mins (me) and 25mins (Gret) consistently and by 3hrs 10min we finished our 8th lap giving us the win over the next team by close to a lap. Special mention goes to HuRTs legend James 'Taffy' Matthews for hosting us in his marquee and for just being a decent friendly bloke - one who could clearly see that we were battling with captain grumpy most of the morning between laps.
Total distance for me - 21km in approx. 1hr 28mins
Special mention also to HuRTs - Erika Jordan for her 2nd place in the 3hr solo event covering 7 laps in approx. 3hr 5mins. Great effort.
Wed 27th Jan: Nothing eventful at all really today - 17km recovery run (4:25's) some of it with long time occasional training partner Russell Stokes (who once held the Guiness world record for 10km running with a pram. Done at the Striders Nth head course with his 6yr old in the pram because the 2yr chucked a tanty). Not bad huh?
As mentioned earlier, Monday's Scottish BBQ allowed me to try a great little ale which I will surely buy again.
5.2% alcohol. It's not quite at the stout level but it does have a noticeable and pleasant aftertaste. They brew it from 100% Scottish Pale and Crystal barley malts and the result delivers a nutty, biscuit character with subtle spiciness. (ok I stole the last bit off the packet).
But we all really liked it so I'm giving it a 9/10.
PS: There's spots still left for our Phuket training getaway May 28th - June 3rd. Check it out!