CAUTION : very slippery

 

IMG_20160417_100353374

Icworth House, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk and the venue for the first Hoohaah 10k of the year. Beautiful setting and a lovely trail course (in the main) BUT VERY MUDDY.

13041134_955525027887886_8926834109621878501_o

In fact there were hundreds and hundreds of metres of mud and easily qualified as the most muddy race I have ever taken part in. To enter the restaurant/cafe, shopping emporium and second hand bookshop, one had to don these blue plastic over bootees! One didn’t look very cool.

IMG_20160417_114845182_HDR (1)

Fair enough. I wasn’t impressed by their bookshop, however. Not a patch on Wimpole Hall’s and I didn’t buy anything. Highly unusual, highly irregular but a memorable experience thanks to the blue bootees.

Still, the race was very enjoyable and later we had coffee at an outside cafe with our chums.

13010791_10208867588549160_1070528738006431919_n

I found myself inadvertently sitting on the orange side and consequently ruined the symmetry.

Tuesday was running club and we did a “country fartlek” from the University of Cambridge Athletics Club to Grantchester Meadows, along the Cam.

Today, we ran Cambridge parkrun. Cold but a great deal dryer than last week. I couldn’t catch any rivals. I’ll have to choose new and slower rivals.

Tomorrow, it’s the London Marathon. Spectating, not running. It’s not easy devising a training regime for marathon spectating. I’ll know tomorrow when it’s all over.

 

 

Advertisements

Cambridge half marathon a fortnight away, walking along the cam and those evil Tories again.

DSC_0061

A cold, sunny Sunday in Cambridge yesterday. Plenty of eights on the river powered by the gilded youth, loads of runners and cyclists to knock you flying, hordes of couples mooning  around (St. Valentine’s Day) and shoals of tourists shimmying from one photogenic setting to another (it can be such uphill work getting people to believe you’ve actually visited somewhere unless you are able to show evidence of yourself in a snap with relevant backdrop).

I’m a creature of habit when I go into Cambridge. I always go into WH Smith to look at the magazines and usually buy one or two, I often go into Heffers bookshop or Waterstones, walk around the market square and visit the second hand book stall and take photos on a particular bridge over the Cam. Out of preference, I like to have a nice coffee and a tuna and cucumber baguette in the marvelously anonymous Eat cafe and possibly wander around John Lewis, a rather civilised department store. I like to trip through the extensive cosmetics area in a vain attempt to identify any of the sales operatives who have abstained from caking themselves in their own products. They are always immaculately turned out and attractive but wearing no or minimal makeup doesn’t appear to be an option. Are they contractually obliged to over do it?

DSC_0018

These grand and beautiful trees are on Jesus Green. How lucky are we?

Cambridge half marathon is only two weeks away. I haven’t done the training I would like to do because other things have got in the way. Nevertheless, it’s good to know that despite not having put the mileage in, my overall level of fitness enables me to step up quickly to do 13 miles. It’s speed that suffers, of course, but if speed is your objective you are following a false god! The very shallowness of the concept of speed! Does anyone really care about this over valued aspect of running? I rather like these fall back arguments when you’re getting slower and slower.

Anyway, I did 13 miles today and 9 miles a week ago plus a 5 miler and a parkrun since the beginning of the month. I might do two more parkruns and a couple of long runs up to 10 miles and that will be that.

A government task force has published a report, A Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, which is very critical of the state of Engand’s mental health services, click here to read Observer article Today’s Guardian headline is NHS vows to transform mental health services  with extra £1bn a year. The report talks about a sharp increase in the number of suicides, estimates three quarters of people with a psychiatric condition do not receive help and documents that children are being sent all over the country to an available bed that may be hundreds of miles from their families.

The Tories and the coalition government have presided over savage cuts to bed availability, support services, staffing levels and overall funding of mental health facilities. Cameron in his ever so reasonable, we have learnt lessons, we must all pull together and defeat stigma, senior Tory style is presenting the spending announcement as an innovation and Tory triumph. David Cameron and his mates are duplicitous, fraudulent, own class supporting, unfeeling,  and lacking in basic humanity. They appeal to the voters who share their values – the cruel, the selfish, the self centred. May God help decent and vulnerable people.

 

 

Janathon Day 26 Bleakness and gales

IMG_20160126_131949504

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 18 Everyone’s gawping at everyone else

DSC_0181

I took this picture of Trinity College’s Jerwood Library, on the bank of the Cam, yesterday. The light was poor, I was cold and it was taken with the wrong lens. To make matters worse, I was just able to lip read one of the gilded youths inside the warm library. He turned towards another chap, who was probably clutching a teddy bear, and said “Look at that twit, standing in the cold, trying to take photo of us with his silly telephoto lens.”

Another cold day, today. The temperature didn’t go much above zero centigrade and tomorrow morning it will be more like -3 or -4c. I went for an afternoon run, starting in an adjacent village and running along the Cam in the opposite direction to usual, that is towards Ely rather than Cambridge, There’s no clay cycle path going this way and it proved to be very muddy. I did around 3 miles which felt enough.

Janathon Day 17 At least the dog’s warm

12549073_1156119087733849_3948542201969175505_n

We made Rupert cosy last night. Instead of shrugging off the blanket, he fell asleep immediately. He was still asleep in this position when I brought him a nice cup of tea at 7 am this morning. He likes his soft toys as well and often carries them around with him.

The temperature hovered around 3-4c when I went for an afternoon run. I ran through an adjacent village and picked up the river Cam at a different point. Saw plenty of other runners and some odd people just sauntering (okay, walking). I ran just over eight miles and feel better for doing a longer distance. I could have carried on quite easily but you can’t spend your life running, can you? Can you

 

A Late Decision to Do the Janathon Thing

980521_967243419978671_2848373481782596861_o
New Year’s Day and two parkruns, (at Huntingdon and Peterborough), ninety minutes apart to allow crazed parkrunners travel time. Here I am with Lorna and running chums enjoying coffee after the second run.esterday I ran a New Years Eve 10k at Ely and two days previously had an 8 mile jog along the river Cam. Tomorrow, Saturday, is normal parkrun day which I’ll do at Cambridge. So clearly I am back in the running groove.

The weather in Eastern England has been unusually mild this winter and most people have been running in summer kit. But yesterday was cold and windy and today was frosty. I ran in tracksters, a long sleeved shirt and a jacket. Of course some people still dressed for summer.

775116_967169059986107_3813738659604936211_o (1)

I’m almost at the finish at Huntingdon here and battling with Diane in a sprint to the line. I’m slightly behind but two seconds later, I successfully catch her heel and she’s sprawling in the mud. I win this contest but then there is a steward’s inquiry and I am found guilty of malicious fouling and banned at Huntingdon for a year. I will instruct my solicitor to appeal. I refuse to go down without a fight.

Surprisingly, this scenario didn’t occur but only because the delay would have prevented me from getting to Peterborough for the second parkrun. Diane beat me by one second.

 

 

Alive and Running February 18 2015

WP_20150215_002Disaster on the porridge front! I usually cook it on the hob in a saucepan except when I am pushed for time. Then the microwave comes in handy. The instructions are very clear concerning amount of milk to porridge and microwave time. So what happened? I’ve ruled out human error so that leaves the microwave machine itself independently deciding to exceed its remit. The situation could have been worse as in The Magic Porridge Pot (Ladybird) when an unauthorised user starts the pot producing porridge  but doesn’t know the magical word to stop it. Consequently, the cottage and then the whole village is  engulfed, lava like, in porridge. It’s rather extreme but who’s to say it couldn’t happen.

This wasn’t the only shock I had today. A marauding gang of limpets, the ones with the vicious, extra strength teeth gave chase to me as I ran along the river Cam footpath. Ah ha, you might say, these gastropods live in saline water and wouldn’t be in a fresh water river. Well, these were obviously an advance guard and thinking outside of the box. If they’re quick to adapt, we’ll all be at risk. Anyway, I managed to outrun them but an angler wasn’t so lucky.

Nevertheless, I managed a run of 5.5 miles. I think I was still a bit tired from last night’s run with the club. We did 4.5 mins running at between 5 and 10k race pace with 1.5 mins jog recovery. I think I like standing still recovery best! I enjoyed it despite being hard work. I’ll rest for the next two days and then do parkrun on Saturday. On Sunday or Monday I’ll do my last long run of 11 or 12 miles before the Cambridge half. Hopefully the limpet threat will have proved to be a damp squib and we’ll all be sleeping easier.