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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Aliveandrunning July 7 2014

DSC_0959 This is a picture from one of the bands at  the Cambridge Big Weekend held on Parker’s Piece and performing yesterday.Tomorrow, the Tour de France commences from Parker’s Piece and the city centre will be full of excited people wildly cheering them on as they depart for the London finish in the afternoon (minus the moody but brilliant Mark Cavendish who tried too hard and crashed out on the first day of the Tour, silly boy!).

I’ve now had some rest days since the end of Juneathon and I’ve only run two 5k races, one of which was a club race competing with four other clubs over five runs in all. I still feel ambivalent about being a club runner. I do take running seriously (up to a point), I do try to be competitive (up to a point), I do make an effort to talk about running and socialise with other runners (possibly for minutes at a time if the subject is not wholly running based), I do enjoy the company of runners and the variation of club training. And that’s why, if the club asks members to turn up to support particular races for the glory and overall victory of winning the trophy, I will take part if possible. I will drive 45-60 minutes each way for a whole point which is added on to the other points contributed by the rank and file runners. I’d probably be more inspired if they gave out sticky gold stars which could be stuck in a little booklet. I do enjoy the runs but I can’t wait to get home to have something sensible to eat. I have noticed that before the start,  the individual club members, in their club vests, tend to group together. My club tends to stand in multiple small groups or stand alone. Actually I quite like that. It’s a Cambridge thing. It shows what a disparate bunch we are and reflects the different tribes.

Yesterday was Cambridge parkrun. I thought I was running fast but I was still over half a minute outside my personal best. Still, I enjoyed it. I commented to a pal that we are probably within the top 1% of running fitness for our age group overall which renders any feelings of disappointment in performance as missing the point.

DSC_0926 This chap was one of a number of vintage bicycle riders showing off their machines at the Big Weekend. They were very friendly and deeply appreciative of the interest shown in their hobby. DSC_0899   DSC_0010   This ska band was really good. I’m not usually a fan but I was today. I may be dong them a massive disservice but their appearance gave the impression they may be a little to the right of UKIP. Nothing they said supported this, however, and it was a great set. I think someone needs to reconsider calories in and calories out, though. DSC_0004

Aliveandrunning June 30 Juneathon Day 30

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Rupert was very reluctant to walk over this section of the  path today. He muttered something about about a ghostly barcode and not wanting to provoke the woodland sprites.  “Pardon moi,”I said smoothly,”but are you referring to the legendary, supernatural creatures who are reputed to exist in this category of habitat?”  “Too right,” he replied,”and if cross this, they’ll rearrange my spots or remove them altogether.” He can’t be reasoned with when he’s in this mood. Best to play along with him.

Juneathon is over. Long live Julyathon! No, I don’t think so. I’ll have some rest time before I launch an assault on Cambridge parkrun and storm to a new personal best. I’ve managed to run and blog every day but it’s increased my appetite and I think I’ve put on some weight. I ran approximately 114 miles and walked around 70 miles. I’ve never felt physically better and I’m running faster and more efficiently than before I had a heart attack 5 years ago. Yippee!

 

Aliveandrunning June 29 2014 Juneathon Day 29

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I really had no idea that Rupert was an avid Brazil fan. Or was capable of hiding behind his paws during the penalty shootout yesterday. Or drank lager. Clearly he’s very much into World Cup football. He even ordered a hot dog to eat at half time! I heard him whisper to Isobelle  that Suarez’s bite is worse than his bark.Normally he has no interest in TV (apart from watching a certain Disney film) and as for supporting Andy Murray at Wimbledon, forget it.

I have only ever taken Rupert running on two occasions and today was the third. Running with Rupert is a mixed blessing. He is a highly skilled wee and poo merchant. He can’t trot more than  100 metres without stopping either to pee half a pint or leave a marker. He’s also a three poo a day dog. I suppose I have to count myself lucky I only had to pick up one. He’s got no road sense, randomly changes from left to right side and vice versa and is constantly on the lookout for something discarded to eat. Nevertheless, I enjoyed running with him. We ran around 9.5k which was enough for us both.

Today was the trial run for Cambridge junior parkrun and it went off with flying colours. Unless you are actively involved in the nuts and bolts of parkrun, it’s difficult to appreciate the time, effort and worry that goes into making it happen safely and successfully. 52 children participated, along with many parents and 25 volunteers. The inaugural run will take place in a fortnight and at least 100 children are expected to take part.

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This young girl smiled and giggled her way around the 2k course. Not surprising, really, since she is a veteran of the adult parkrun. Her father has whizzed her along in an off road buggy since she was a baby! She was accompanied by her dad and pictured here with  tail runner Julie.

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Finally, the first girl to the line and the first and second boy. A very enjoyable and uplifting morning. The weather just held until everything was packed away and everyone went home. The weather has been pants, as they say, for the last 2 days. But hold on while I place my gardening hat on my cranium. Wow, I just love this weather. I can hear the garden squeaking with delight at the amount of rain that’s fallen, helta skelta, out of a leaden sky. Thank you, rain gods.

 

 

Aliveandrunning June 28 2014 Juneathon Day 28

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Wimpole Estate parkrun this morning. I felt tired initially but I finished  only 13 seconds off my personal best. I decided to walk up the short, steep hill rather than jog up and feel all in at the top. After a flat 400 metres, there’s a lovely rough grass downhill stretch towards the  lake. It’s a great course and, as an added bonus, cows with remarkably pointy horns are strewn liberally around the running line to keep us alert.

We had coffee with friends and then I was compelled by my personal genetic imperative to visit Wimpole’s excellent second hand bookshop where I bought the above treasures (of course they didn’t provide me with a large bowl of steaming porridge. I added that for creative interest). Will I read them in their entirety? Probably not. But I will read them in part and that’s good enough. It’s wonderful to turn to pages at random and become immediately absorbed in the content. You can easily do that with non fiction. I still can’t get my head around the concept of abandoning books,( particularly non fiction), to a “shop” or online, where they wait to be loved again. Anyway, their loss is my gain. I’ve reassured them they are safe with me and can (figuratively) put down roots.

And talking about roots, I bought this substantially discounted Solanum laxum “Album” at their plant shop.

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Various people congratulated me on my shrewd book and plant purchasing decisions and even though Lorna didn’t verbally heap praise upon me, I could see the glint in her eyes revealed full approval and a sneaking pride. I think I detected a challenge along the lines “just see if you can repeat your success next time we visit Wimpole.” Yes, mam!

Tomorrow is Cambridge junior parkrun trial run. The inaugural run is in a fortnight.

Aliveandrunning June 27 2014 Juneathon Day 27

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The madness of the off road runner. I was drawn to the on coming tornado like an iron filing to a magnet. I ran across uncharted fields, untrodden since medieval times. I felt an urge to embrace the tornado like some people hug trees and then to enter the centre of the funnel where Iwould experience a transcendent peace. As I raced ever nearer, I spied cows and pigs swirling around the vortex 50 metres off the ground. I sang Follow the Yellow Brick Road in my head. I was a few seconds away from being sucked in but at the last moment, it abruptly changed direction and at such a speed I was unable to follow. The heavens opened up and I got thoroughly soaked. I took it easy on the homeward journey but still got jogger’s nipple. It could have been a lot worse!

About 5.5k in all. The paths were very overgrown in parts. There was no-one around. The loneliness of the short distance runner.

Tomorrow we’ll go to Wimpole Estate parkrun as Cambridge parkrun is not happening.

Very interesting and thought provoking headlines in the Daily Star about a prediction by scientists that a new generation of rats will be the size of cows. The same paper tempted you with the front page description of another story inside : “Evil Savile Sicko Sex.” This is the level of a lot of discussion about Jimmy Savile’s decades long sexual abuse of men and women, adolescents and young children. It leaves you with absolutely no appreciation or understanding of how or why this behaviour might have come about, how a person might develop such proclivities. http://bit.ly/1mEcx8E This link to The Guardian’s Oliver James assists a more grown up view of what may be going on in this man’s head. Such a pity there is very little discussion at this level.

 

Aliveandrunning June 26 2014 Juneathon Day 26

 

 

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Straight down the M XI to the outskirts of Londinium to see my mater and deliver this lava lamp to my daughter Shanti. It seems to be a Seventies original. It’s larger,more  heavier and more rocket like than new ones I’ve seen recently. I like it. I’ll look out for another similar lamp for Lorna.

I’m not being county-ist or anyfink but the standard of driving improved noticeably beyond Stanstead (out of Essex and into Cambridgeshire). On the positive side, you could say that the breathtaking swerving from lane to lane in fast moving traffic to gain a few metres is creative, courageous and visually stunning. Perhaps driving safely is ridiculously over rated and  boring. Perhaps driving in Essex should be kept to a minimum.

Anyway, having survived trial by boy racer I was glad to get back to Cambridge where we still drive cars preceded by a walking person waving a red flag. Mildly traumatised, I restricted myself to a 2 mile run accompanied by my pet butterflies fluttering in a subdued manner over my head and perfectly reflecting my jangled nerves.

Lorna is heavily involved in setting up a new junior parkrun in Milton Country Park where the adult parkrun is held. This Sunday a trial junior parkrun will take place followed by the first official run a fortnight later. A great deal of time and effort goes into getting a parkrun set up and staged, particularly when the participants are predominantly children. Well done. I’m sure it will be a great success.