You may have noticed — or you may not — that I vanished shortly after reappearing towards the end of last year.

Blogger’s block, nothing more interesting than that: a strong conviction that I really didn’t have much to say, so best say nothing at all. That plus day upon day upon week upon week upon month upon month of grey-dome skies, undefined uni-temperature seasons, and unrelenting pissing rain. 

The one, of course, in part the product of the other.

But here we are, it’s suddenly spring, we’ve had three consecutive days of almost unblemished sunshine, my watch claimed 24C at one point, and I ventured back into silky open water for the first time since last September. 

And as I gently clocked up 1km it felt like a key part of me was coming back to life. 

The Willowgate Activity Centre, just to the north of Perth, is a fine spot. A man-made body of open water, but literally on the banks of the Tay with picturesque Kinfauns Castle above and — especially right now — a wider backdrop of absurdly bright, vivid, green, the consequence of all that rain. 

So there’s that as a catalyst plus there’s transitioning from my seventh to eighth decade to drive me back here to Making Waves and committing once more to capturing some of the assorted stuff going on inside my heart and heart.

When I was, say, 40 I saw 70 as really pretty crumbly old, in the same sort of way I viewed 30 as impossibly, ridiculously ancient when I was, say, 15. But now I’m here it doesn’t actually feel too much different from being 69, or 60, or even 50. 

I certainly don’t feel ‘old’, but then I’ve arrived here pretty much unscathed. Nothing of key importance has fallen off — and to be fair to myself, I do work extremely hard to maintain that record! — and the only real markers are a modest decrease in running and swimming speed, a bit of muscle loss (now being fully addressed through proper strength training), and a growing disinclination to engage in pointless conversations.

The actual birthday was wonderful: a magnificent bridging weekend orchestrated by my daughter that pivoted around Balmoral where I ran the 10k on the Saturday as a 60+ before making my 70+ debut in the three-mile trail race on the Sunday. Coming back from injury, my times were unremarkable, but the symbolism and pure joy of it all was what mattered.

Balmoral also saw me consciously jump off the training wagon to race: in February, sidelined somewhat by various muscular niggles, I signed up for a year’s online coaching specifically designed for old farts and had been assiduously following the heart rate-based run and strength training formula. I’m currently back on the wagon, doing exactly as I’m told (that doesn’t happen often!), and it’s paying off. My aerobic threshold is improving week on week, the niggles are receding, and I’m really looking forward to the next 10k. This one — at Monikie Country Park, north of Dundee — is pancake flat and a totally different proposition to hilly Balmoral. Can’t wait to see how it goes!

At the heart of this training plan is the slow-down-to-speed-up approach, and it took me a few weeks to have the big ‘duh’ moment and realise this is also one of my coach Katie Joy’s beautifully versatile and deceptively simple recipes for success across all areas of life. 

And you know what? It absolutely works…

What I’m grateful for: Feeling the spark of creativity once again after what felt like a pretty long time spent in a wordless limbo.

What I’ve gained: Insight into how directly and strongly that which we can’t control — in this case many months of somewhat manipulated weather — impacts across our lives, whether we’re fully aware of it or not.

What I appreciate: The glory that is a Perthshire spring, with the local farmer’s cattle out in the fields at last, everything in bud, warmth in the sun, and being able to walk, run, and — now, again — swim somewhere so beautiful. 

This exercise is one of the many powerful yet practical tools Katie Joy has created to help you get clarity, abundance, and balance. I can’t recommend her courses highly enough! 

Katie can be found here…
… and here on Facebook… 

Main image: The Balmoral Bristow 3-mile 2024 trail route meandered next to the river Dee before heading (fairly sharply) straight uphill for a bit.
Inset image: me and daughter Claire after the 2024 Stella Drilling 10k — this was my 17th Balmoral race, most of them 10ks.