Aliveandrunning2013 September 9

A great Grunty Fen half marathon yesterday. I ran it in 1 hour 47 minutes which is 8 minutes faster than last year and 3 minutes faster than I ran a similar flat half 14 years ago. As usual I was exhausted  when I passed the finish line but recovered quickly. I was so focussed at the end I failed to see or hear family friends screaming support. Lorna asked Isobelle to meet up and take me back to where they were cheering the other runners coming in. Lorna said that it worries her too much when she sees me bent over and totally drained and my rival Mike said he had concerns as well when he ran with me. Oh dear! Next time I’ll run straight into bushes, recover and then present myself to polite society smiling, relaxed and exuding surplus energy like a newly coiled spring.

The course was flat, windy and open with fields on either side. The recent hot weather has subsided and was just right for me on the cool to warm scale. I drank at water stations on two occasions (at 7 and 10 miles), walking while drinking for around 30-40 seconds. When I started running again I felt refreshed and less tired. In the past I’ve not taken on water during a race (unless it’s been really hot or I felt thirsty) and I’ve not stopped. I now  think taking short drinking breaks works best for me. I’m running another half in a month, not on a road surface like Grunty Fen but on trail, grass and undulating woodland. This will be more demanding and depending on the steepness of the hill, I will revert to walking for short periods.

Good news regarding Lorna’s ankle injury which has stopped her running for around 5-6 weeks. She had a telephone assessment by Physio Direct, a PCT funded free service which was thorough, used internet images to identify the injury and lasted 50 minutes. This was followed up by an emailed treatment plan including videos of remedial exercises and correct running form. Lorna has previously seen a physiotherapist and her GP and is currently waiting for a rheumatology out-patient appointment. It’s thought she has insertional achilles tendonitis. Thankfully it is treatable (and preventable with changes to running form and particular exercises). I miss running with Lorna and she misses running. We have a shared interest now and lots of running events to chose from. Hopefully, Lorna will be back to health in 2-3 months and will quickly regain her fitness. She is highly motivated so this won’t be a problem.

I watched two TV programmes this evening. The first one, Panarama, looked at the problem of mentally ill persons in a state of aggressive disorder being taken to police stations and placed in a cell prior to assessment by a mental health team that might take several hours to arrive. The police stated that they didn’t have sufficient mental health training despite estimating that 20% of the persons within their remit fell into this category. Various CCTV footage showed individuals self harming in cells or needing to be restrained by police officers. The problem with the 30 minute format of this type of “revealing a scandal” programme is that they emphasise the drama and aggressive behaviour as shocking entertainment  and neglect reasonable and objective discussion concerning the reasons and solutions to the problem. Clearly the police need much more basic mental health training and to  work more closely with psychiatric liaison staff. There needs to be recognition of the consequences of the loss of so many psychiatric beds and the frequent inadequacies and under funding of community based interventions and treatments.

The second programme was Motorway Cops, unbelievably broadcast, not on Dave or ITV 4, but BBC 1. It contained the usual video record of a car taking off and being pursued at high speed by police through traffic and suburban roads thus demonstrating that both the chased and the chasers are as stupid, criminally reckless and dangerous as each other. The programme started with a serious crash with injuries to another motorist following a police pursuit. There was no discussion about the high risk of police chases which are almost always not commensurate with any known risk that the offender might pose should he not be apprehended. The police tend to revel in this kind of behaviour and take the moral high ground to suggest that they act heroically to prevent harm to the public. It’s a load of bullshit, of course. The programme did have a genuinely moving element within another storyline. Unfortunately, overall, these reality police shows are entirely self serving and obsequiously take the view of the officers they are showcasing. It’s enough to make you puke!

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