Still running but other stuff happens……

I seem to have a small modelling habit, at the moment, which potentially could get out of hand. These are uncompleted works in progress and will be painted. Commisions will be accepted and individual pieces can acquired for either £9.99, £19.99, £199.99 or£1999.99. Pricing is also a work in progress but I’m inspired by the example of designer perfumes which garner more sales because of the cachet of a hefty price tag.

I’ve been neglecting running a bit recently although parkrun remains a weekly staple. What I’m not doing is regular long runs apart from occasional 10k races. Well, this has got to stop. I’ve given myself a stern talking to and yesterday I did 10 miles along the river Cam. It was freezing. Wind chill, blanket cloud, lousy light. I should have headed north where it was blanket sunshine. Anyway, the run went well.

This weekend I’m doing Cambridge parkrun at 9am then driving to a local village to do a 7k run. The following day, Sunday, I’ll be in the centre of Cambridge for the Wings For Life run. This is a 2000+ race without a fixed distance. The idea is to run as far as possible until you are caught by David Coulthard, the F1 driver, who overtakes you in a (relatively) slow moving car. Last year I managed about 13k until Dave overtook me. Impressively, all roads will be closed to traffic. When you complete your run, a fleet of buses return you to the centre of Cambridge. All this went very well and it was efficiently organised. Like parkrun, it appeals to all types of runners and the atmosphere is great.

 

We spent an enjoyable day watching the London marathon near Canary Wharf, around mile 18. We stayed until the sweeper car went past and the race officially finished. And still they came, walking and staggering. It’s always a humbling situation.

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My mother living the wildlife!

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My mother at Christmas. I can’t say she wore this giraffe mask for the entire festive period but the motivation wasn’t lacking. I clearly see where my genetically driven urge to be daft originates!

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January sunshine on Jesus Green. And heart warming to see the wild life enjoying the lovely weather on the river Cam.

Last week I ran two 9 milers which is probably enough preparation for the Cambridge half marathon in March and the next one in 2018. I went to the gym once and did Cambridge parkrun yesterday. The conditions were similar to the week before. Dry and cold. The field was 540 and it took 30 volunteers to put it on. Icy puddles were a considerable hazard on some parts of the narrow path and small stretches needed to be coned off. By one churned up muddy/icy patch in the centre of the running line yesterday, a volunteer stood continuously calling out for people to run around him to avoid catastrophe in the slippery gloop.

It’s a big responsibility to minimise the risk to a large number of runners in limited space in such conditions and cancellation of the run is a practical option. As far as I am aware it all went off very successfully on both consecutive parkruns. Very nicely managed.

Trump continues to behave beyond the normal reaches of parody (and by the way, it’s only a couple of days into the new administration). Apart from his stream of consciousness, I’m not-going-to-allow-anything-to inhibit-me-because-I can-easily-contradict-myself-tomorrow utterances, he has a fascinating range of facial mannerisms and hand gestures. He’s trying to convey sincererity, straight no nonsense talking, charm, flattery, personal recognition of the underdog’s predicament and personal one-to-one communication. He’s the genuine article (not). Try and catch the footage of Trump talking about his last, apparently triumphant, meeting with the CIA.

 

 

A hot weekend of running. I felt like an upmarket crisp.

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I didn’t run for nine days because of a minor back injury then ran three races this weekend. Actually I thought it was a back problem but after a further chat with myself I reached the conclusion that it was a hip problem after all. Anyway the rest seemed to have done the trick because I didn’t experience any difficulties after a total of around 23k.

The first pic shows me doing parkrun in my new 250 top. I was just able to beat my mate Eric immediately in front of me but came nowhere near Margaret (leading and eventually beating me by 2 minutes). Is there no justice?

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After parkrun, I whizzed over to another village and did 7k fun run with my chums in the picture. I whizzed so quickly I was able to buy a load of plants from the horticulture society plant stall and pick them up after the race. It was moderately hot, around 24-24c. I don’t mind running in these temperatures and much prefer it to running below 5c.

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The following day I ran in the Wings for Life event, sponsored by Red Bull, in aid of spinal cord research and treatment. It started in Cambridge on Parker’s Piece and the route potentially ran for 100k. The idea was to run as far as you could and outrun the catcher car, driven by David Coulthard, which sets off at a steady pace 30 minutes after the last runner had crossed the start line. When cruel David catches up with you, your electronic chip is deactivated and you stop running. Your race is over and buses take you back to Cambridge. Steve Way was top runner with 63k covered. I managed just under 14k, Lorna did 7.63k. It was a pretty hot day (up to 26-27 in the fairly constant sun) and I stopped three times to drink. A fleet of buses returned us back to Cambridge. About 2500 took part and it’s scheduled to take place in Cambridge again next year.

Contrary to my expectations, the race was very well organised and successful. There was plenty of free Red Bull to drink including at the actual drink stations on route but I was too frightened to try it! You can’t beat plain water for most occasions, can you?

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More fine marathon runners. Respect!

Janathon Day 26 Bleakness and gales

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I decided yet again not to run with the club tonight but go for a solitary long run during daylight. The sky was overcast and it was very windy. I usually love running by the river but the light was poor and there was a very strong, sustained  headwind. At times it felt like I was making little forward progress and the wind chill made me cold. As a matter of habit I run towards Cambridge (and, of course, the river Cam goes through Cambridge) but I decided to turn around and not complete the intended distance.

With the wind behind me I made better progress and decided on a footpath, which I rarely take, towards Ely, still along side the river but with open views across the fens and cultivated fields. Despite the openness, it was less windy but the dismal, grim light remained. There was nobody about and it was , bleak, bleak, bleak.

I ran up to Bottisham Lock and felt so lonely I was compelled to talk to this motorised sluice gate winding gear as I stood staring at the unyielding landscape. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t respond. I regurgitated the one joke I know. Still no response. I gave up and moved on.

Total distance : 5.76 miles

The Guardian, today, gives headline prominence to statistics obtained by the Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb which reveal that deaths among mental health patients has risen by 21% over the last three years, from 1,412 to 1,713. There has also been a large increase in “serious incidents” – involving unexpected or avoidable deaths, serious harm, injury and abuse. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/26/rise-mental-health-patient-deaths-nhs-struggling-to-cope

These outcomes are linked with cuts to mental health service funding and the consequent degradation of services in the community and  hospitals and the substantial reduction in hospital beds. You’ve got to be a Tory not to care!

 

Janathon Day 16 Drama on the start line

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Picture by John Wilderspin

Cambridge parkrun and they’re off! Well at least two of them are. The man in the orange with folded arms is clearly sulking and thinking about it.

Chris in the blue top is showing serious intent and goes on to win it (I mean he completes it first, it’s not a race of course). Nice pose by Paul who sets them off with his horn (except the sulky guy who’s not playing ball).

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Picture by John Wilderspin

Here I am, lost in my own world, slightly open mouthed and fully attired for freezing weather. Compare and contrast with the near naked elite on the start line. The temperature is around minus 1c which is cold enough to wear  my warmest jacket. Trail shoes were essential. There was ice, broken ice, mud, frozen mud and water lurking everywhere so one had to concentrate or one could find oneself coming a cropper.

Post run we had coffee with our good friends and very enjoyable it was, too. Tea was also taken.

Despite the cold and frosty weather, the sun held most of the day and we went into Cambridge in the afternoon. How lucky are we to live close to such a beautiful city which is really no bigger than a medium sized town.

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Here is the still spooky Trinity Lane.

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And here is the last of the Saturday sun shining on the righteous.

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One last pic. Cambridge University Press is currently having a book sale. All softback/paperbacks £3 and hardbacks £7. CUP academic books are notoriously expensive. It’s a big sale and goes on for three weeks with books being added daily. It’s beyond excitement. I’ll be back!

 

 

Aliveandrunning January 10 2015 Janathon Day 10

WP_20150110_001 Cambridge parkrun cancelled! When I ventured outside around 7.30 am I didn’t think it was particularly windy. When I took Rupert the dalmatian for a quick 10 minute walk in the open field, I revised my opinion. It was very windy but strangely mild. Around 8 am a parkrun insider texted that the Rangers at Milton Country Park had deemed the strong winds too hazardous and were closing the park at least until 11.30 am.

At that point a small but perfect drama unfolded. Our running pal Sue had passed through our village on route to another adjacent village taking her daughters to an activity when she saw our fastest running chum Kerry walking his bike on the road. Stopping, it emerged that he had been blown into one of the substantial drainage ditches. A motorist had stopped and pulled him and his bike out. He was shaken up but not obviously hurt and managed to get to our cottage without further incident.

Arch running rivals Mike and Sue ran to a local farm cafe where we all planned to meet up. I decided to run to the farm, a distance of under 2 miles and Ms Alive and Running took Kerry in the car. I battled against a very strong headwind but got to the cafe first. Not opened yet and no-one had arrived so I went for a little jog around the small raised reservoir in the picture. Immediately it started to rain hard and then hail. I was quickly soaked through. Ms Alive and Running dropped Kerry at the cafe and went to collect Mike and Sue who were cowering under branches half a mile away.

After coffee and some eats, I ran back home.The wind I assumed would help me on return had changed direction and I was again battling a fierce head wind. The temperature also dropped so I felt cold as well as damp. Thank you very much Greek weather gods! Anymore malarkey like this and I’ll transfer my allegiance to the Egyptians.

Aliveandrunning January 9 2015 Janathon Day 9

DSC_0319 Wimpole Hall, a National Trust property, in all its glory. They keep the front aspect of the house clear of plebs, poor people, lower middle class, New Age travellers and children not attending fee paying schools. Luckily, the grounds are extensive and us parkrunners don’t have to encroach on the upper class gravel. We are allowed to run freely over the undulating park land, however, and visit the lavatories when necessary.

But tomorrow’s dream parkrun at Wimpole is now a shattered aspiration. It’s been cancelled because of the expected gales. No run, no visit to the second hand bookshop, no National Trust rock cake , jam and coffee in their cafe. At the moment Cambridge parkrun at Milton Country Park hasn’t been cancelled and a decision will probably be made tomorrow morning around 8 am.

Another 2 mile run in the dark tonight but unlike the previous couple of runs, I didn’t set out on a full stomach. It was windy, although not excessively, and very mild. I think those Scottish winds will increase during the night so the fate of Cambridge will be in the hands of the Gods.

The NHS spending on children’s mental health has fallen by more than 6% in real terms since 2010, according to official figures. This equates to nearly £50m and was disclosed by NHS England in a parliamentary question. These cuts have been made against a background of decades of chronic underfunding. Who says we live in a civilised society? Who cares, anyway. It’s not a high profile service, there’s probably not enough money in it to attract private interest and most parents will be grateful for any level of help. Let the children suffer.