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.

 

 

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“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!

 

I’m a runner again!

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Rupert posing among the golden autumn leaves. He’s not a dog given to deep thought but he does like to look as if he is grappling with weighty issues. When we returned home he confided that dog biscuits were uppermost in his mind at this point. Aren’t appearances deceptive?

Today marked my return from the gloomy misery of the Underworld, where the injured are forced to remain still, to the fair Elysian Fields of running. Oh happy days! I last ran almost five weeks ago, apart from a a two mile test run two days ago but today I came back to Cambridge parkrun. I’m not fully recovered and I’ve lost some fitness. I also took it easier than I intended because new twinges appeared to be emerging as I warmed up. However, the run went well. My good friend Becky did a great job pacing  me and a few running buddies complained as I cruised past them because they thought I was still injured. I had the new experience of being lapped by the winner which is a little deflating but he is such as nice chappy, I didn’t mind. I was thankful that my much faster running pals deigned to chat to me after the race despite my reduced status as a running god. My daughter Isobelle and her boyfriend Joe also ran at Cambridge today which was a real bonus. We all had coffee and hot chocolate in the cafe and very enjoyable it was too!

Next Saturday will be my 250th parkrun and hopefully my fitness will continue to improve. I started doing parkrun in Cambridge at their 6th run, following my heart attack in 2009. My time time today at 27 minutes 32 seconds was slower than my first run at Cambridge. It’ll get better!

 

 

Everyone is running except me! It’s criminal!!!!!!!

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Good witch and tailrunner Diane tries to give me the evil eye as she accompanies this 80-84 category parkrunner at Wimpole Estate yesterday. I was marshaling by a long straight stretch adjacent to the lake and combined this sacred duty with taking a couple of hundred photos. That’s so like me. Just selflessly working on behalf of others without a thought for my own needs or comfort. Well, all that’s gonna change when I recover from my already-one-month old injury. It’ll be about me me me from then on. Still unsure when “my time” commences. Having fallen heavily on rubble and then run 12 miles on a quadriceps injury, it’s slowly getting better but it really is at a snail’s pace.I haven’t attempted to run over the last month because bending my left knee has been painful and movement is limited.

Anyway, I have a cunning plan! I start running prematurely and to my intense surprise and shock, re-injure myself. Obviously I wouldn’t be that stupid, would I? Unfortunately, it’s a great temptation. It’s sooooo frustrating watching Lorna and my running chums take part in races that are currently forbidden to me due to a ridiculous injury. I blame the farmer for laying down rubble to give traction to his heavy farm machinery during muddy weather, gravity for pulling my foot down causing me to stumble headlong, my running shoes for not thinking out of the box and warning me of impending danger and the weak megaphone which caused me not to hear the race director’s specific mention of the section of dangerous terrain (I was warming up at this point). In  a nutshell, my accident wasn’t my fault and I had to de-friend someone who suggested I don’t pick my feet up sufficiently. Condensed version of the above : I don’t like being unable to run.

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Lorna powers ahead to finish our local Bonfire Burn 10k while I languish like a beached jellyfish on the sidelines.

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These are runners. They have run 10k. How lucky are they?

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This is Diane, hardworking race director at Wimpole Estate parkrun addressing the throng and again, with a young parkrunner.

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Small compensation in the Wimpole pre-loved -but- now -wickedly -discarded -and -crying -out- for -an appreciative -home book shop.

I rest my case. Good night!