▨ Jamie McHale

May 2024

Marathon, JS Nights, Northern Lights

May was a busy month. I really feel I packed a lot in!

The coolest thing that I saw was the northern lights over Edinburgh. I had waited up looking out my window and saw a glow in the sky, so headed out to Holyrood Park to take a look. In real life there were pinks and faint columns of light dancing across the sky. My camera picked up more spectacular colours with the long exposure. I was pretty pleased to see the aurora in real life - a bucket list item checked off!

I organised two community nights for the JavaScript groups in Glasgow and Edinburgh. We had a range of speakers at each, showcasing what people are working on or thinking about. It was a fun switch in format for the event, and I think we will try and run another set of these next year.

In addition to the JavaScript community meetups I also attended the first Tectonic event in Glasgow. It was good to see a new addition to the scene, and to have the chance to catch up with some folks I’d not seen in a few years. It was also kind of Nick to add both the JS Meetup and Scottish Technology Club logos to the partners page / badge.

I went viral on Twitter after complaining to the Council about bad parking (after speaking to the bad parker directly), causing a reaction where many hundreds of people decided to send abuse my way - over 3 million people saw my tweet, and tens of thousands visited my profile. It seems the source of the traffic was the “archbishop of banterbury” IG account who featured someone quoting me telling me to “get on with my life”. I feel totally justified in my original tweet. The Edinburgh pavement parking ban has been great for people (like me!) who regularly push children in buggies and prams, but also for wheelchair users, partially sighted folks, or people with mobility issues. It was fascinating seeing a lot of the reactions: people making up all sorts of weird justifications, ignorance of the situation, calling me a grass (Edinburgh parking = mafia omerta apparently!). The reaction on IG was much better, with lots of people pointing out the issues with the parking. The original quote-tweeter eventually said some of the pushback against him from wheelchair users was justified, but I was a pedantic attention seeking prick. I guess people have a fixed view of other people in their head, and even if they are persuaded by the argument, they hold onto their original conception of the person. Weird! The episode certainly made me aware of what a firehose of traffic feels like, and will hopefully make me more cautious about assuming intent in other people online.

I trained for and ran the Edinburgh Marathon in May. I ran a few ParkRuns with the boy, enjoying the warm weather. I think that the investment in the Thule Chariot has been one of the best purchases I have made.

I did two long training runs, one 21km, and one 31km. The reasoning being that with limited time to train, if I can run 20km I can run 30km. And if I can run 30km, I can run ~40km. I did the longest training run looping around the hills near Kirkcudbright, with beautiful bluebell woods and the sea to spur me on the last few km.

Unlike the previous two marathon attempts, my training regieme was very limited this year, but overall I think this helped! With only two really long runs under my belt I decided to go out as easy as I could and stick to a pace that I knew I could handle. I had to resist the urge to run at the pace of the crowd. Another difference this year was that I ran with headphones. I haven’t listened to music while running for at least a decade, as I like hearing my breathing. To keep the connection with my breath I opted for a pair of Shokz bone-conduction headphones. They worked well! I used Spotify to generate me a playlist with a bpm that matched my prefered pace.

I ended up running 4:31 - an improvement of more than 15 mins over my previous time.

Aside from that I managed to fill time in the nice weather taking trips to the Botanics and the Zoo with Harriet and Jack. We have a zoo pass now, so no anxiety about getting our moneys worth on any individual trip!

At the end of this month I finished up the final assessment for the British history module that I have been studying at the Open University. That’s me now completed (grade pending!) ‘two years’ of a three year degree. The module was enjoyable, as it helped me find and put into context a number of other sources.

That’s what I have for this month - see you in June.