Aliveandrunning January 2nd 2015 Janathon Day 2

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So easy to give in to narcissistic impulses with everyone taking selfies. Of course, my mobile is smart but not superlatively bright! I haven’t got a reversible lens so I had to take it via a mirror. This is the type of relaxed expression I would like to have when I’m running hard instead of looking as if I should be led gently back to a carer from whom I wandered away. Self love aside, this picture also shows off my new Endura running jacket. It’s actually a cycling jacket and heavier than its running equivalent but the wind and cold protection trump the increased weight particularly when running with the club at night. Unlike most runners I don’t get uncomfortably hot during a race and therefore I keep it on.

Today I ran just 2 miles and this distance will be my default run if not racing or training, during Janathon. The temperature in Cambridge was 8c-9c  but lower in the chill wind. There was a lot of sunshine and it felt Spring like at times. Tomorrow we’ll do Cambridge parkrun and the rain is expected to fall in buckets. It’s tough work but someone’s got to do it. Sunday brings Cambridge junior parkrun and possibly icy and foggy conditions. The 2k course may be modified again or the run may be cancelled. That would be a big disappointment to the children so fingers crossed it’ll go ahead.

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 Aaaaahhhhh………my fish pie, accompanied by Brussels sprouts to give me extra oomph for parkrun. Delicious under any circumstances.

I’m hoping to apologise soon and when I do I will apologise “unreservedly.” Spokespeople use this phrase to make amends for egregious practices in their companies, banks or services. They say it with dignity and sincerity and it’s almost convincing. It seems to head off prosecution for fraud, neglect or theft. It’s a class thing, really. It wipes the slate clean. Magically.

Aliveandrunning December 6 2014

DSC_0829  Look what I’ve got! Don’t get distracted by the pretentious pile of reading matter or the plate of iconic Brussels sprouts or the original 1949 Rupert annual or the porridge in the cornflakes bowl. No, I’m referring to the SAD {seasonal affective disorder) light box which is therapeutically emitting its 10,000 lux power onto my visage. Will sitting in front of this light box alleviate the mood shredding effect of the dank, grey cloud blanketed  days of the UK winter? Will it send me high as a kite? Time will reveal the truth. This is a candid, unrehearsed snap of the third day. I’m using this basking time to reacquaint myself with Rupert Bear and his chums because I’m considering rejoining the Friends of Rupert Society (currently adults only at the moment: the junior section is suspended). It’s a top notch organisation that even plebs can subscribe to (although, understandably, they are limited to 1.7% of the membership}. So clearly all are welcome!

I’m back to running more consistently but not as speedy as before. Cambridge parkrun today and my slowest for a long time. It was very cold (for me) at around -2c or -3c. I was well wrapped up with long sleeve top, heavier duty jacket, trackster bottoms and gloves but I didn’t warm up to the point of feeling that the cold wasn’t an issue. I think this is caused by the aspirin I take (note to self : request placebo aspirin from GP). Only 20 seconds outside last week’s muddy course so not too bad really. Afterwards Ms Alive and Running and I had a tasty cup of coffee with chums in the cafe and rounded off an enjoyable running focussed morning.

Milton, Cambridge Tesco is only a stone’s throw from the parkrun course and we ventured in, risking existential angst, to transact purchases vital to keeping body and mind in harmony. I always cast a superior eye over the magazine and newspaper shelves and my gaze fell upon this –

WP_20141205_003Of course it’s very easy to poke fun at this sort of thing and at the people who read them and get vicarious pleasure from immersing themselves in the antics of celebrities lives. Compared with this ridiculousness, my interest in Rupert is sublime. Bloggers of the world, you may ask me any Rupert Bear related questions! Go for it!

 

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Aliveandrunning November 27 2014

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It was Dr Johnson, who, in the 18th century, said “He who is tired of Brussels sprouts is tired of life.” Humphrey Bogart made a reference to sprouts in the film Casablanca and Pope Francis recently gave them a mention in a private audience with the mercenary Tony Blair (along the lines of being able to accommodate celibacy but not contemplate a world without Brussels sprouts). The message is clear. Take these delightful green orbs seriously and they will repay you endlessly. Somewhere, under the salad, flat bread, olives, raw onion, broccoli and a mound of Brussels, lay pasta and turkey bolognese. I am now being repaid endlessly.

Not a lot happening on the running front. I last went out on the weekend when I did Cambridge parkrun (5k). I missed club night on Tuesday due to family commitments but I didn’t go out yesterday despite the opportunity to do so. It’s taken me a month to get over my cold and I’ve lost motivation. Oh dear! I’ll do Cambridge or Wimpole Estate parkrun next weekend and then try to get back into the running groove. The bloody miserable weather doesn’t help. I may get a SAD light and sit in front of it looking at my watch and waiting for it to cheer me up.

Not running is not a problem. My motivation will return and I’ll return to form. My level of fitness is good and won’t disappear overnight. Unless I am completely seduced by MYCOLOGY!!! Following the fungi foray I went on a few weeks ago, I am now seeing the little blighters everywhere.

WP_20141119_002 For example , I noticed these little chaps as I was about to get into the car. I had to prostrate myself on the grass to take this shot. It wasn’t a pretty sight, it wasn’t dignified but it had to be done. Not sure what they are. Might be a Shaggy Inkcap (or Lawyer’s Wig).

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I noticed this little group because they were giggling as I passed by walking Rupert the dalmatian. Probably from the Mycena family. I don’t know which one. See what I mean? With all this focus on fungi, it’s a distraction from running. Perhaps I’ll never get back in the running groove. They’ll whisper as I pass by “He used to be a running god. Now he’s Mushroom Man”. At the very least I’ll be regarded as a fun guy (geddit?).

Before privatisation, when large swathes of industry and utilities were publicly owned, the trades unions were demonised and the nationalised industries were felt to be soft, unproductive and a bottomless pit into which huge amounts of tax payers’s was thrown. Now the unions are neutered, the companies are privatised and the nasty poor are a terrible drain on our welfare system (funded by hard working taxpayers). But there is very little focus on the extensive tax breaks, incentives, subsidies and tax avoidance methods currently in situ for privatised, (previously nationalised)industries and their shareholders(funded directly out of the public purse).

The Tories and their media may bleat about Labour provoking a class war when they questioned the charitable status of privately run schools but clearly their tax concessions amount to a subsidy (or state handout) to a particular class of people. You know where you are with the Tories – well educated, cruelly self centred and very adept at scapegoating  the most vulnerable in society. Tories too soft? Vote UKIP, the BNP Lite party.

Gardening project update : no planning permission needed apparently although a polytunnel and a new shed are essential and these will need permission so I’m a bit confused. Awaiting clarification. Good news is that I will get a donated polytunnel and will be able to choose the size.

 

Alive and Running November 3 2014

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My supper this evening featuring Brussels sprouts. I haven’t mentioned Brussels for some time but, rest assured, I eat them most days when available fresh in the shops. I’m not sure what “fresh” really means in terms of vegetables bought from Tesco. I suspect a lot of their veg is bought cheap and kept in cold storage for extended periods of time. So much of their produce looks tired. Anyway, these tasted just fine.

I ran for the first time in a week on Saturday (Cambridge parkrun) and did the Bonfire Burn 10k yesterday. I’m not fully over my cold and I wasn’t able to run as fast as I usually do. The 10k was a bit of a struggle towards the end and I was nearly 3 minutes slower than last year. It didn’t help that it was pouring with rain for the first half and I was wearing too much kit to prevent feeling cold. When the rain stopped I was very warm and felt hindered by my clothing. I spoke to the race director after I came in and tried to get the race declared null and void. My suggestion that he rearrange it for the following weekend when I expected to be fully recovered from my sneaky cold and an improvement in the weather, fell on deaf ears. Despite being nearly 50 years my junior, he said “Go home and sleep it off, son. Try again next year!”  Clearly I’ll have to seek legal redress.

My therapeutic  gardening project is  progressing slowly. I met on site with a Planning Officer last week. He will decide whether or not my proposal  requires planning permission. I don’t think it will but if it does they will assist with my application. Two good friends have declined to become  trustees of the charity I will be creating (for understandable reasons) but have pledged a donation of £500 plus some room in their greenhouse, plants and some gardening tools. They are a generous couple who give more than 10% of their income to charity, as a matter of course, without a fanfare. How many of us would do that?

Aliveandrunning September 25 2014

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“Oooohhhh! gasped Ms Alive and Running,”Delicious….salmon with Brussels sprouts…and cauliflower and broccoli as well…. all my Sundays have all come at once…thank you so much.” Well, this is my interpretation of what she said but the actual words were very similar (I think).

I went for an hour’s run today, partly along the river Cam, in preparation for another half marathon in 10 day’s time. My arch rivals Mike and Kerry have also decided to run. I can’t catch them over 5k or 10k but over 13 miles I can get nearer to them. I didn’t feel much like running today although after 15 minutes it felt fine. Afterwards I felt a lot better, both physically and mood wise.On the weekend I’ll do parkrun, club training on Tuesday, about 80 minute run on Wednesday, another  parkrun on Saturday and then the half on Sunday. It’s a training hotchpot but that’s me , innit!

I’ve been running for around 33 years. I started running in response to my father’s ill health, in 1981 and, with the exception of the last 3 years, I’ve not belonged to a club or run with anyone else. My father died in 1983 of smoking related heart disease and other contributory factors, aged 62. I thought a non smoking and running lifestyle would inoculate me from ill health and particularly heart disease so I was surprised (British understatement and stiff upper lip example) when I had a heart attack , aged 58 (Thank you God, I’m sure you know what you are doing!) Because I had an overall good level of fitness, I have been able to recover and run at a better level and more consistently than before. Joining Cambridge and Coleridge AC seemed more attractive than hitherto and I must admit that running with this club is very enjoyable. The coaches are hardworking and very supportive of all abilities. We’ve got track and two road sessions to chose from each week and plenty of variation. But….I still have a strong urge to give it all up and run alone. I like the different running challenges but I have a limited capacity to talk about running and a club, of course, will be a hotbed of running related intercourse, verbally speaking. Perhaps I’ll ask one of the coaches about the possibility of introducing silent sessions.

Thank you prime minister David Cameron for revealing that the Queen “purred” when she was informed that our Scottish mates had declined to become independent of England and Wales, requiring exit from the Union. I always associate “purring” with Eartha Kit’s singing style. Dave has been castigated for audibly making this remark to another top person in conversation that was picked up by long range microphones. That’s castigation not castration.

Nice headline for non readers and people who have no interest in real news in yesterday’s Sun newspaper (oxymoron) : HAIRY CORNFLAKE FACES PORRIDGE. This refers to the British DJ Dave Lee Travis  who was convicted of indecent assault this week. His nickname is Hairy Cornflake and porridge is slang for time spent in prison. No wonder it’s the UK’s biggest selling newspaper with such fantastically inventive front pages. Laughably the Guardian ran with some boring guff about Milliband pledging to save the NHS or somethin!

 

Aliveandrunning September 22 2014

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Weather fine today so we had lunch on the lawn. Mine was cold and consisted of left overs from yesterday’s  meal – chicken in Thai Green curry sauce, a few Brussels sprouts, runner beans, lemon rice, Mediterranean vegetable mix (originally frozen) and a radish, cucumber and red onion salad with cashew nuts, mint and honey.

Should have gone for a run today but didn’t get around to it. Just under two weeks to the next half marathon on Wimpole Hall Estate and I need to be running longer distances more frequently. If I don’t do this, I’ll run a mediocre time (by my own personal standards) but not so poor that spectators will boo and throw rotten fruit at me.

Saturday’s Cambridge parkrun went OK. I ran another sub 24 minutes but still more than 30 seconds off my personal best. If I don’t improve I’ll start wearing a hair shirt (at this point I looked up “hair shirt” and found a forum thread concerning a man asking advice about wearing a cilice (or hair shirt ) for spiritual/religious reasons. Very interesting! I think I’ll forget the hair shirt and cut down on my daily consumption of Brussels sprouts as a penance instead.

The proposed gardening therapy project took a step forward last Friday when I met a manager at Cambridge MIND, the mental health charity. She liked the idea and didn’t think making referrals or encouraging volunteers to get involved would be problematic. I’m now in the process of making an on line planning application to the District Council. I’ve also emailed  someone who has a remit to identify and develop green spaces which would have a beneficial impact on the health and well being of local communities. Might my project fit into this criteria? Who knows. I’ll have to look at funding and how to set up a charity shortly but this can only go ahead if planning permission is not an issue.

Aliveandrunning September 10 2014

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Thank God (which one?) I was eating this meal when I heard  David Cameron talking, in Scotland, about the upcoming referendum on whether that country should become independent of the UK. Beware! These Tories mess with your mind and one way of dealing with this direct address to the credulous is to offset the unrealness by eating good, healthy, simple food. Look no further than Brussels sprouts and broccoli aided and abetted by chicken in an achari marinade, lemon rice and roast vegetables.

Dave anticipated feeling “broken hearted” if the Scots broke away. He was passionate about the UK remaining intact and apparently a rich vein of raw emotion was evident in his voice. In fact all three party leaders were in Scotland at the same time to support the No vote and they all vied to out do each other on the sincerity/passion/you gotta believe me, I beg you front. This is the same Tory leader who reassured us that the NHS is safe in Conservative hands and demonises benefit recipients. A very skilled liar and emotional manipulator.

Out with the club last night. We did a one kilometre time trial followed by four further one kilometres. I felt a little tired but overall it was OK. I made a new pal and chatted amiably. Hearing his parkrun 5k time, I thought he would be in the top third of our road running group that evening. After the time trial, we formed three separate groups and he did indeed go into the speediest set. Will this go to his head? Will I be snubbed because I was second last in the slowest group? Does he read the Daily Mail and hate non Mail readers. I think not to all three questions. He seemed normal, friendly and grounded. Damn!

Eco project update – I have been in contact with Cambridge MIND and I am meeting with them next week.

Grunty Fen half marathon this coming weekend. I’ll still do Cambridge parkrun the day before but I’m taking it relatively easy this week.