Aliveandrunning January 31 2015 Janathon Last Day 31


Cambridge parkrun’s 5th anniversary today and fancy dressers (or rather cross dressers) were  out in force. No surprise this wasn’t a record crowd because the weather proved to be entirely predictable for this time of the year – cold, overcast, threatening snow/sleet and lots of icy, muddy puddles to up end you. 446 took part and it was undeniably a fun morning. After the run, we had a good coffee with friends and discussed the races we intended to run over the next few months and into the summer.


10388120_10153176092881159_7766766346408462217_n (1) I lead this small pack of aggressively competitive runners hungry for success. Because of my altruistic mindset I allow them to overtake me a few metres further on. I also opt to maintain my open mouth, thoughtful zombie look so they take the better picture.

10954552_919060101462016_7161758411558819207_o (1) The 118 on the left is Mary Holmes who, I believe, is 78 and occasionally gets a 95% age grade at parkrun. Her best time is around 26 minutes. Phew!!!

The days have passed and Janathon is now over. Janathon total mileage is 104, 9 miles more than last year despite my injury.


Aliveandrunning January 30 2015 Janathon Day 30

DSC_0311 This is Widow’s Cottage in the village where I live and it’s having a substantial re-thatch. I believe this was originally a charity cottage built by an eighteenth century rector along with another (the adjacent Clerk’s Cottage). It’s always a joy to see a master thatcher at work, placing, cutting and fixing the wheat straw. An ancient art still going very strong today because there are still so many thatched cottages, most of them Grade 2 listed. Are there new build hatched houses? Well, yes but not in great volume.

I went for a 2 mile run today and felt almost completely running fit. I’m quite a bit slower than previously which I put down to insufficient longer runs and about 7 pounds of extra weight since early December. I note this but not with concern. Not surprisingly the way forward is –

1. Longer runs.

2. Eat less.

Tomorrow is Cambridge parkrun’s 5th birthday and 500+ are expected to attend although the weather forecast is for low temperatures, wind and possibly sleet. I’ll be very wrapped up so world wide fans need not worry.



Aliveandrunning January 29 2015 Janathon Day 29


I bought this book after listening to Joanna Bourke talk to Laurie Taylor on BBC Radio 4’s Talking Aloud (on podcast). It discusses how  military imagery and acceptance of violence is ingrained in society, along with dependence on jobs and expenditure on research in industry and universities. The UK’s annual expenditure on military expenditure is around £69 billion, the fourth highest in the world. I’ve just dipped into it (the book not the £69 billion) It makes for sober reading.

Too many people, I think, are excited by violence, righteous destruction, punishment, use and appearance of weaponry, controlling nation states and manipulating them economically. I could go on but I’ll leave it there.

So often, there is an apparent absence of empathy and unwillingness to respond to the suffering of others at the most basic level. We just cut ourselves off  from it and focus on  our own narrow interests. This Tory government is very adept in this respect, imposing   thousands of cuts on the NHS and putting services in the hands of private providers.

One of the most important features of a civilised and humane society is the degree to which it provides practical, financial and professional support to the physically disabled, to people with mental health problems, those with learning disabilities, to the vulnerable and to children. So much lip service is given to this segment of society’s needs and so many cost saving cuts inflicted upon them.            

Yesterday’s Guardian (Society section) had a report on delays and problems with new disability claims  and a feature on the Haven project, a service for people with personality disorders which is now under threat following the ending of central funding and the local clinical commissioning group deciding it’s not value for money . The tax payer can breathe a sigh of relief and protected, subsidised and tax break corporates can laugh all the way to the bank.

So, back to running! I haven’t done any today. I ran out of time. I could run a couple of miles even now, in the dark, but I won’t. Deep down, in the murky id sediment of my mind, I know that a bit more rest after my glute injury is probably a good thing. I still have to sit down and get up carefully but otherwise it feels OK. I’ll run 2 miles or more tomorrow and parkrun on Saturday. If all goes well, the longer runs will start next week.

Janathon total for today : 2 mile dog walk.

Aliveandrunning January 28 2015 Janathon Day 28

WP_20140612_016 I haven’t bought a book in this Cambridge shop. I’m still waiting for permission! I don’t think I’ve even been inside it . It’s not very big and doesn’t give the impression of being haunted but the little shop window is always stuffed full of old books with evocative illustrations  and nostalgic content. I know if I passed through the door an ancient person would look up from reading at a Regency gentleman’s desk and murmour “I’ve been waiting for you to visit me……peruse these original 1940’s Rupert annuals and take your time. When you’ve made your choices, cast your eyes over these Dore illustrated bibles…’ll find them irresistible” Of course I would take them all, as recommended, and then start looking over the bulging shelves. As the natural light fell, the bookseller would light the many candles on the chandelier, still muttering “Take your time.”

I decided not to run today. Yesterday’s 7k with the club was quite a hard workout for me and although my glutes felt reasonably OK this morning, I don’t think resuming daily running would quicken recovery. Possibly the opposite! As before I’m counting a 2 mile dog walk in my Janathon total. At the end of this month, it’s around 5 weeks to the Cambridge half marathon so I need to be fully fit to do the longer training runs. The good news is I can take my own socks off and can get out of a car seat without help.



Aliveandrunning January 27 2015 Janathon Day 27

IMG_20150127_091134732 Snowdrops! Always lovely to see in mid winter. You don’t tend to notice them until they flower and then you wonder how you could have missed them.

I went running with the club this evening and I paid particular attention to the low curb near the track which caused me to fall last week. Looking at it very closely, I found it to be impossibly high. No wonder I came to grief. It was the curb’s fault after all and nothing to do with me not picking my feet up. Vindicated!

We did a 1k time trial then 5 x 1k with 3 minute recoveries. I didn’t have any difficulties with this and I don’t anticipate any adverse consequences tomorrow. My right gluteal muscle still feels bruised but it’s getting better and shouldn’t cause any further problems (hopefully).

Today’s Janathon total : around 7k.

Aliveandrunning January 26 2015 Janathon Day 26

1506564_10152181755921159_185296790_n This picture of me being pursued by a bunch of crazy, Christmas themed  running zombies was taken in December 2014. It reminds me of when I was able to run uninjured. I was a running runner rather than a non running runner. It nicely illustrates my famous half daft open mouth style and my successful Jedward hairstyle.

I decided to have another rest day today, apart from a 2 mile walk with Rupert, and I must admit I feel better for it. It’s a commonplace that injured runners tend to start running too soon and compound their injuries. This certainly won’t apply to me! I am giving myself a whole 24 hours to fully recover and then I’ll go for a club run tomorrow evening.

Next Saturday is Cambridge parkrun’s 5th birthday. Unfortunately the  UK weather is set to deteriorate mid week and over the weekend. I may be running in a blanket of snow which I would enjoy. I’ve now done 215 5k parkruns having started at Cambridge parkrun no. 5 which I ran 6 months after my heart attack. By good chance a new dog walking friend mentioned Cambridge parkrun, having just discovered it himself and now its become a part of my running history. Another 35 and I’ll get my golden 250th running top. I’ll wear it with pride and people will mistake me for an actual sun god clad in burnished armour. I won’t disabuse them of their belief.

Aliveandrunningt January 25 2015 Janathon Day 25

10924155_1633228066905426_6909118553104344513_o Cold and frosty this morning but Cambridge junior parkrun went ahead. Given the I’ll-stay-in bed weather, it was surprising the turnout was a record – 158! I know I’m repeating myself but it really is wonderful to see the enthusiasm and joy on the children’s faces as they run around the 2k course, particularly the youngest ones who visibly respond to encouragement. This pic somewhat contradicts that assessment, of course. These children are  older and look more competitive.It just shows how junior parkrun can cater for all ages and abilities. Photo by Chris Gent.

A non running day owing to my injury which is still limiting movement in my hip. I took Rupert for a 2 mile walk. Walking is not a problem. I was going to run 2 miles tomorrow. Perhaps it would be wiser to give running a rest for a bit longer. After yesterday’s parkrun, I felt OK. Should I go running with the club on Tuesday? (please regard this as a stream of consciousness}.

Bought New Scientist today on the basis that there were at least 3 articles I couldn’t afford not to read (I’m good at this type of rationalisation: it’s called sophistry).

1. Are shoes destroying our feet? I kept nodding off while I read this. I think the answer is no but I’ll have to read it again.

2. What’s the beef? The truth about meat and your health.

3. Risking everything – Why people lay down their lives for strangers.

Aliveandrunning January 24 2015 Janathon Day 24

DSC_0199 This is the tithe barn in the village where I live and today it had an Open Day. In 2027, it will be 500 years old but there is currently a struggle to obtain funds to restore and maintain it. If these efforts fail, it could be converted into a house or houses. That would be a great pity. Unfortunately there are limited options regarding how it could be used if funds could be found to save it.

DSC_0213  It’s on church land but is owned by either the parish council or south Cambridgeshire Council. A £100,000 is needed to restore it internally and to repair the thatch (straw on top of reed).There’s no parking and access is restricted to the grass path  in the pic below.

DSC_0244 We went to Wimpole Estate parkrun today. The weather was glorious – sunshine and blue skies. It was cold but that’s often a common feature of winter, isn’t it (see how knowledgeable I am about meteorology and seasonal variations!) There was more mud than last week and, blinded by the low light, I followed the couple in front of me into a quagmire whilst wiser runners skirted around it. A lovely run and good coffee and jam scone in the cafe with running pals. If there was a cloud on the horizon, it was the second hand bookshop not opening before we left (again). The cries of the books begging to be re-homed was pitiful and clearly audible through the heavy locked gates of the Courtyard.

WP_20150124_001 This weimaraner waiting patiently for its owners to reappear fixed me with its plaintive gaze. I half expected it to drive away!

I’m still only 70% fit. I can run but have difficulty putting my socks on. I may have another walking Janathon day tomorrow and run on Monday and Tuesday,

Aliveandrunning January 23 2015 Janathon Day 23


I sauntered into the surgery displaying a devil may care attitude. Booking in for my annual cardiovascular checkup, the counter staff were obviously struck by my charisma and magnetism. I wandered over to look at the reading matter table and it all fell apart, big time. Carpworld had escaped from Tesco’s shelf and wormed its way into a GP’s surgery! This is really toxic stuff which deserves to have its front page covered. It’s peddling lies. Are we expected to believe this is a real fish? Surely it’s inflated with air! If it is real, could this clearly elderly man summon the strength to pick it up? And why is he looking at it as if he’s holding a great, great grandchild? Completely bewildered, they led me to the clinical room containing the Health Care Assistant who spoke to me gently and did her devilish tests. Her top advice? Stay away fro angling mags, Oscar; they seem to work you up.

Following my fall, the pain in my butt continues to improve and I thought I would go for a little run to test my fitness. I ran my usual default 2 miles without problems and 3 hours afterwards, it’s fine. That means I’ll do Wimpole parkrun tomorrow. Hopefully it will be warmer than this morning’s -6c at 8 am.

The Guardian’s Lost in Showbiz is worth reading today, particularly if you are a fan of asterisks being called upon to part censor dangerously rude words in Sun world.

Stop press : Cambridge United has just held Manchester United to a draw at Cambridge in the FA Cup competition. Think David and Goliath.

Aliveandrunning January 22 2015 Janathon Day 22

WP_20140612_013 The Mathematical Bridge which connects the two parts of Queens College, Cambridge. I’m including this picture because it’s a reminder of summer which I’m looking forward to. I didn’t take out a punt last year but I will this year when the warm weather arrives. It’s great fun even if you can’t steer and even more enjoyable if you can. You steer by learning to drag the pole in the water not by trying to correct direction by lifting the pole out and then pushing off again. When you knock into another punt, it’s surprisingly easy to lose your balance when you’re standing up, particularly if you haven’t braced yourself.

Following falling over 2 days ago, my bruised bum continues to heal slowly and I decided not to try to run today. I did take Rupert the dalmatian for a 2 mile walk so I’m counting that. I’ll try a little trot tomorrow and see how it goes.