Major rethink on the running front

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I innocently bought Trail Runner magazine and found this virtually recommended “run” featuring at No.38! What will these Europeans get up to next? I’m half expecting Gove or Johnson to inform us that we’ll have to submit to an EU edict requiring each household to enter a team if we remain in Europe. I can think of worse outcomes : a rolling back of workers and human rights, an increase in the pace of attack on the NHS and unrelenting xenophobia if we vote out.

Anyway, back to normal running (cue question : what is normal?). I’ve decided to drastically cut back on maximum effort running because I increasingly think this is not doing my health any favours. Research is indicating that running long distances, too hard and over a long period of time seems to stress the heart unduly. I had a heart attack nearly seven years ago and recovered very well with no obvious deficits. In fact I’m probably running better now than before my heart attack. Nevertheless, the effort to run as fast as you can must surely have consequences for a person like me who has heart disease and takes cardiac medication to slow and strengthen the heartbeat. So, I’ll stop doing half marathons (with the possible exception of Cambridge half marathon at a slower pace), I won’t renew my subscription to my running club which expires at the end of this month and I’ll run 10Ks at a more relaxed pace. The good news is that I don’t have to run much slower to feel much more comfortable. Less is more! No future Junathons or Janathons.

The other spur to change my syle of running is that I know about five experienced runners who have either had heart attacks or have heart related problems.

I’m also taking it easier at 5k parkruns. Putting  just a little less effort into the distance only decreases my time by about 45 seconds and I feel better for it. I’m still interested in fell running as long as its down hill. I’m still working on this one.

On last thing. I borrowed a Fitbit today when I ran 7.3k and had an average heart rate of 150. Is this good, bad or indifferent? I don’t know. It took me 47 minutes and I felt good.

 

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February 6 2016 Back in the running!

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The last time I ran was on January 26th until today, when I went for an evening jog of two miles. I managed to do 26 days of running during Janathon and 5 days of walking. My cold was persistent and brought my energy levels down. I went for a couple of late night two mile walks after Janathon but that was it! The 2 mile run tonight felt fine and my pace has not changed from previously. The challenge now is to train up for Cambridge half marathon in three weeks time. As long as I can run consistently I will only need  to run a variety of 2 milers, 5-6 milers, a couple of 10 milers and perhaps one 13 milers and that should be it. I’ll probably do them randomly or possibly take advice from the Wise Old Owl who flies beside me at night and offers sage counsel.

Final Janathon 2016 total : 95 miles including 10 miles of walking. Last year I did 104 miles and I recorded the 2014 Janathon at 95 miles, the identical mileage to this year. The secret of my successful increase in mileage last year? Brussels sprouts and plenty of them.

An unusual occurrence today. I missed parkrun due to a family occasion. We went to an auction and very interesting it was, too. We stayed about an hour and sat around an enormous modern table (board room size) on pink suede chairs (everyone sits on the various chairs which are parts of lots} Our particular lot was originally £14,000 (with a sideboard) and went for about £3,500 including VAT. No obvious good taste was discerned.

 

Janathon Day 31 Rupert, no ordinary dog

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Rupert contemplates the mysterious matrix of shadows and turns away to dwell on the fragility of choice. If all roads lead to Rome, he ponders, how can I be certain of reaching home (and not Rome). This is an example of the conundrum he falls into on a regular basis. That’s why he’s known locally as Rupert the philosopher.

The end of January and the final day of Janathon. I nearly tried a short run today but decided against it. My cold hasn’t run its course and I don’t think it’s a good idea to stress my body. Instead I went for a two mile walk and completed it in twenty five minutes. I listened to the finish of one Guardian Long Read podcast and started on another. Top class journalism

I haven’t got around to totaling my Janathon runs and walks. The mileage is less than I anticipated but I did manage to do something each day. I’ll have a rest now.

 

Janathon Day 30 Is this normal? He used to be such a lovely lad!

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Cambridge parkrun’s 6th anniversary. Fancy dress and a Bake Off competition. We definitely love having our picture taken at Cambridge (big time). For example, this week we have three main albums of photos totaling around 900 snaps. See Cambridge parkrun Facebook page here Cambridge parkrun Facebook

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Today we had 475 runners in rain free, relatively mild weather combined with muddy paths and lots of puddles.

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This vision in red is our good friend Kerry wearing his sub 23 minutes top. He’s currently sub 22 minutes (Grrrr!) not that it matters, of course, since parkrun is a run not a race (the results page is just for reference).

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Only about 200 metres to the finish where there are plenty of people to applaud her.

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The quick lads wait while Mike finishes his cup of coffee. Fair enough! If they insist on being disgustingly fast, it’s only fair they pay some kind of penalty. I offered to buy Mike another coffee before he blew the horn but he graciously declined.

All in all a great morning topped off by coffee with friends. I didn’t feel well enough to run but I did take photos. In the evening I went for a two mile brisk walk and listened to BBC Radio 4 podcasts – Woman’s Hour and Last Word. Note to self : remember not stare at the pavement lost in thought when walking in the dark or risk jumping out of your skin when someone suddenly looms up in front of you.

Janathon Day 29 I’m not the full ticket

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My screen printing course continues relentlessly. Next week I’ll overlap these shapes with other shapes to make it super interesting. I can’t wait, you can’t wait. Next Friday cannot come too soon. Let the days whiz by!

My runny nose, followed by a weird throat, has turned into a cold so I decided not to run today. That’s the third day without running. I did go for a two mile walk. Parkrun tomorrow. I’ll see how I feel in the morning. If I do run it will be a gentle jog. It will give admirers the chance to see me properly rather than as a blur as I power past them.

I feel like a fallen running god at the moment. Or perhaps like Superman who has been weakened by exposure to kryptonite. Or drained of the will to live by watching East Enders. Can anything be worse than a cold!

 

 

Janathon Day 28 The future? Possibly less running

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I had to go into Cambridge this morning and I decided to do a second Janthaon walking day. It may be the cold weather, it may be listening to medics speaking about the risks of running excessively (Trust Me, I’m a Doctor BBC 2 yesterday, with the excellent Michael Mosley) or it may be I’m a little tired. Unfortunately for me, there’s a current body of opinion which asserts that after a certain level of physical exercise, you may be jeopardising your health by stressing your heart and damaging your circulatory system.

I recovered very well from my heart attack six years ago and I still feel I could run as long and as far as I want. But I don’t think medical opinion would support that approach. In future, I’ll continue to focus on parkrun and probably do fewer 10k races and perhaps just one or two half marathons at a slower pace. And more walking

The Tory government stance, and particularly Cameron’s pronouncements, on very conditional requirements for accepting lone children caught up in the migrant/refugee crisis, is sickening. Clearly, Cameron wants to keep them at arms length and despite his ever so rational explanations about the sensible Tory approach, it reeks of an intrinsic absence of empathy and compassion. Goodwill and sensitivity towards vulnerable children, who have no family to care for them and who are at terrible risk, should be a no brainer, even for the Tories. Their current policy reveals the emotional deadness within.

Janathon Day 27 A walking day

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Sun coming up over Wort’s Meadow a few days ago when it was frosty.

Didn’t manage a daytime run today and unusually I didn’t feel like running in the evening. but I did fancy a walk and listened to BBC Radio 4 podcasts. It was pleasant walking in the dark. I became aware of the Cambridge lights around 4-5 miles away. The red lights at the top of the tall new constructions were particularly prominent . Distance walked : two miles .

I’ll be doing Cambridge parkrun on Saturday. It’s their 6th birthday. I intended to volunteer as a marshal but the rota is now full so it’s deferred until the following weekend. That’s good because parkrun will be my penultimate Janathon jog.