Fit to run (just)

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About six weeks ago I developed bursitis of the hip and had to pull up at Cambridge parkrun. I had a half marathon coming up in early September and hadn’t been doing any distance training and the injury put the half at risk. I started running a couple of weeks later, taking it very easy and for short distances. Now, nearly six weeks post injury I think I’ve fully recovered. Apart from parkrun I’ve done 45, 60,90 and 120 minute runs with no obvious problems. This includes running 13 miles yesterday. So I’ll be doing the half in 9 days but I won’t go mad. I’m still under trained for the distance but I don’t think I’ll re-injure myself.

The above pic shows me deftly negotiating a municipal flower bed at Lowestoft parkrun recently. The course was mostly along the seaside promenade and a lovely run it was, too!

The model making continues apace.

Website coming soon, obviously. Commissions accepted as long as patrons form an orderly queue.

 

 

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My mate talks to a banana!

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I’ve told Mike before that talking to a banana does his street cred no good at all, even a fast one. I informed him there was a Doyenne Du Comice pear and an Egremont Russet apple in the vicinity and a stem of asparagus was doing some warm up exercises but he insisted on chatting to a common banana. I don’t even know whether  he was fair trade!

This occasion was the second Hoohaah 10k of the season at Wimpole Estate. The weather was lovely, the course was excellent and loads of our friends and acquaintances were taking part. Unfortunately, I picked up a silly injury at Cambridge parkrun yesterday. Milton country park, where it’s held, is in the process of laying a new path leading to the finish straight and I trod on a sharp stone which went between the gap in the thick part of the tread. It felt like it had pierced the sole but after exclaiming “Oh bother” I soldiered on. Cut to today, despite my sole feeling bruised, I thought my metatarsals had escaped injury. Until around 8k  I felt fine with only a little foot discomfort but thereafter it quickly got very painful and I suffered the ignominy of being forced to walk/limp to the finish. To make matters worse, the banana came in 5th out of 750!

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Here I am, face etched with pain, just about to limp over the finish line. Ripping off my sock expecting to find a highly visual injury with which to impress my friends, I found healthy looking, unblemished skin. Is there no justice?

This series of runs, so far, has raised over £6000 for The MindEd Trust, a mental health charity which focusses on the prevention of mental illness in young people and early intervention strategies for  those experiencing trauma. It has been set to address the woefully inadequate mental health support for young people.

Parkrun etiquette. It’s so easy to impress fellow runners. First tip : if you are a fast runner, consistently start at the back and pass slower runners at speed, particularly when the path is congested. Second tip : pal up with another runner and chat loudly in a normal voice while others are struggling around you. To enhance this behaviour, overtake at the same time. Third tip : bemoan your time to others who have done 5-15 minutes slower to you.

Cambridge parkrun has a record attendance of 534 and yesterday the field was just over 500. It’s getting very busy.

 

Top man sees red in print

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It’s Sigmund Freud, of course, smoking a cigar as usual. Is it symbolic? Well, as the top man said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar! That’s just his opinion. Certainly it must have contributed to, if not caused, his cancer of the jaw. Was he a runner? I doubt it. Missed out there then, didn’t he.

I’m trying to get my running back on track. Today’s parkrun was a reasonable time for me at the moment and tomorrow I’m running a five miler in Swavesey. There’s a half marathon going on at the same time but I’m not up to that distance at present. My ex arch rival, Mike, will  be doing the five miler and he’ll be around four minutes faster than me. Another rival, Kerry, will do the half. Having missed the recent Cambridge half due to illness, my next half will be the Flaming June, which unsurprisingly, is run in June. I’ve got various 10k races in the pipeline. Training with the club seems to have taken a backseat and I don’t think I’ve been out with them since I injured myself during the Wimpole half marathon last October.My enthusiasm for training in a group waxes and wanes and currently I still prefer to run alone.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has resigned over Osbourne’s Budgetary  cuts to to benefits received by people with disabilities alongside tax cuts for the richest. He stated that the cuts were “simply not fair, not right” and it was wrong to finance tax cuts for the better off by “taking money away” from those with disabilities. David Cameron professed himself to be “puzzled and disappointed.” George Osbourne is left with egg on his face. They’ve all got blood on their hands as far as I’m concerned. It’s more of a case when thieves fall out. Iain Duncan Smith is hardly a man with a conscience.

Nearly forgot. Did the Freud print at my print making class. It looks okay but the quality is poor. The point is that the more you practice the better you become and this is only a first try.

 

 

“Cambridge half marathon almost imminent,” he blubbed tautologically

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In two full days and two bits of days, the Cambridge half marathon will happen (or ‘appen, depending on your accent). Am I ready? Ask any quarter serious runner and stereotypically you’ll get a similar response – inadequate preparation centred around lack of training, particularly mileage. The usual culprits are family and work commitments, diminished motivation due to poor weather, cold weather, excessive wind, dark nights, colds, flu, injuries (cue runners taking it in turns to describe their dodgy calves, Achilles, ham strings, quads, black toe nails, sore bits, weird knee aches and pains in the butt). If they haven’t pulled out, the traditional response is to confirm they’ll take it easy and hope they finish the race.

So, am I ready? No! (see reasons above) I’ll just take it at a gentle pace etc etc. In fact I’ve deliberately done fewer miles than intended because I think less is more! I’m taking it very easy this week but I’ll still do parkrun the day before.

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Family wise, it’s just myself and son Dan running this year. I suppose I will finally have to accept he will finish before I do. The facts unfortunately support this prediction. His last local parkrun place was 5th out of 247 and mine was 174th out of 478.I know there’s only a slight discrepancy but it’s time to hand my crown over to him. He’ll run off with it!

100th parkrun celebration. Runners not dressing down!

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Lorna’s and Michelle’s joint 100th parkrun (Lorna in red and Michelle in multi colour tutu. Various wings were worn and a lot of talking undertaken during the run. Coffee, tea and cake in the cafe afterwards. All very enjoyable. I was surrounded by running ladeeees and had to watch my P and Qs (an English expression meaning “mind your manners”, “mind your language”, “be on your best behaviour”. It’s not easy, I can tell you! I have to suppress the urge to be ridiculous at the best of times. It’s an ongoing battle since most of the time I think that’s a legitimate response.

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Cambridge parkrun was attended by a rhinoceros seen here menacing two fairies who have become detached from the magical community. No clever comment offered here. See how grown up I am?

Parkrun was a bit of a no score draw for me. I’m still 90 seconds down on my usual times and yesterday I felt tired. Today I went for a nine mile run and felt much better. I borrowed Lorna’s Garmin and clocked exactly 9 minutes a mile as an average. I wasn’t pushing hard and I felt quite relaxed. The problem running with heart disease is the medication (bisoprolol and Ramipril) acts as limiter on the amount of effort the heart can undertake. In practice the difference between running comfortably and running to capacity is rather small ie I don’t run much faster when I put in maximum effort.

The attack by a knife wielding man at Leytonstone Underground station yesterday who apparently shouted “This is for Syria” as he stabbed and assaulted a random person (presumably) and threatened others before he was Tasered and subdued by police, was a disturbing and frightening incident. The police are regarding it as a terrorist act, provisionally, but I note that BBC reporters included the possibility of his behaviour resulting from mental ill health. His physical movements and manner certainly gave that impression.

Since a high percentage of people regard themselves as citizen reporters and can easily video scenarios played out before them and share via social media, we can all enjoy the unfolding drama with detachment and  the safety of distance. Over and over again as with this incident. We can also see how bystanders, or people passing, act. This ranges from running off in terror to standing gawping or even walking over closer as if the danger was occurring on a screen. If news isn’t accompanied by explicit film or images, it loses its impact compared with news that is.Video can be repeated endlessly and shamelessly, as it was with 9/11.

A large proportion of of news presentation, these days, is devoted entirely to exploiting our emotions. It’s cheap, voyeuristic and cynical. The police themselves are complicit in this approach and freely make available video of subsequently convicted suspects being questioned. They also permit the making of sycophantic TV programmes following traffic cops and docile fly on the wall documentaries about themselves. News has been receiving a substantial make over for several years. There’s less news, it’s dumbed down and it’s more likely to be presented as emotive entertainment. We can all feel sorrowful and pretend we care.

Must leave you now. Going to watch that emotionally uplifting Nordic noir TV crime prog, The Bridge.

 

 

It’s me..me..me!

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I’m half way through an adult education course. It’s called Learn to Run with Your Mouth Shut for Beginners. Cambridge parkrun was my homework for this week. I reckon C minus!

Cold and wet last Saturday but the sun did did emerge. No-one I knew did a fast time. The gloopy mud prevented a nice springy step and I also felt constrained by the extra clothing. If I don’t over compensate with various layers, I get disproportionately cold around 2-3c and below. There were plenty of people running in shorts and singlet or short sleeved top, however and I remember more than several crazy people similarly under dressed  a couple of years ago when temperatures were down to minus 10 and 11.

I had an ultra sound on my thigh this week, two months after my fall at the Wimpole half marathon. I picked up an injury to my vastus intermedius which has resulted in some degree of calcification. Not sure of the possible consequences. I presume it might cause my quads to work less efficiently although be he calcification may resolve by itself. I’m now referred to the orthopaedic clinic for an opinion. Happily, I’m running okay except for a drop in fitness over the last two months and a five pound weight gain. That’s no problem because our digital scales give a different reading each time so with a bit of patience it eventually comes up with an acceptable weight.

I went running with the club a couple of nights ago after an absence of 9-10 weeks. We did a fartlek around Cambridge occasionally weaving in out between those funny people who choose to walk. I found it harder work than usual and I was lucky they didn’t expel me for bringing the the club into disrepute.

I returned home in time for the parliamentary vote on bombing Isis/Daesh in Syria. I find it impossible to believe anything the Tories have to say on a majority of issues and particularly military intervention and terrorism. American and British foreign policy has been disastrous for the Middle East and I think contributing to the bombing campaign is wrong. We are getting involved for political advantage, long term economic gain and probably to give our military an opportunity to test out their hardware and IT systems. The male drive to act with hostility and aggression is transparent even when it’s dressed up with glib justifications citing the need to combat evil and protect our hard working citizens.

My 250th parkrun completed at Cambridge on Saturday

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Here I am, with my family and family friend Jemma, posing with my 250 balloons after everyone has left the cafe. We all ran, the rain held off and we had plenty of cake to share with friends. It was also Dan’s 50th so it was a double celebration. I’m still returning from injury and continuing to regain my running fitness. My time was only about a minute over what I would be happy with so I was satisfied. 5k is a do-able distance but I’m not up to 10k or more at the moment.

It’s really gratifying that all my family are doing parkrun either on a regular basis or when they can. It’s such an inclusive and positive movement. People who refuse to participate should be subject to the full force of the law. Three parkrun refusals and you get a custodial sentence. Possibly this is going too far.

Dan came up with some interesting stats. There are 1,286,246 parkrunners in the world (824,624 in the UK) and I am the 366th most experienced. It puts me in the top 0.03%. Unsurprisingly, I rather like these stats They have the ring of truth!

I enjoy listening to Radio 4’s The Bottom Line with Evan Davis. He discusses business issues with leading figures involved in specific areas ranging from branding, the arts, and start ups to finance, fashion and banking. It’s a direct and no-nonsense approach and often fascinating. This week I listened to a discussion on sponsorship which was, admittedly, less interesting than I anticipated. I did learn however that Castrol withdrew their sponsorship of the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin because they didn’t allow an LGBT contingent to march.

I’m currently compiling my wishlist of books for Christmas. Eight so far, two fiction, six non fiction. Keep felling those trees!