Janathon Day 26 Bleakness and gales

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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!

 

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Janathon Day 14 Life imitates art in Cambridge

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Compare and contrast my image of urban alienation and ennui with Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (1942) (courtesy of Wikipedia). I think Edward has the edge.

I battled the elements (bitter wind, biting rain, threatening snow and, worst of all, dull, grey light, to triumphantly enter Cambridge city centre, aided only by my bus pass and a steely sense of purpose. I transacted my business, got freezing cold and then repaired to Eat, the sandwich shop chain where I hunkered down and ate an up market tuna and cucumber baguette. It was rather squidgy (Lorna wasn’t there to throw up her hands in horror) and I made a mess but no-one noticed (obviously because they are wallowing in urban alienation etc and that kind of thing goes over their heads).

I do like Eat. It’s anonymous, unpretentious, not expensive, reasonably comfortable and I can concentrate to read, eat and drink coffee.

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I then went to Cambridge Central library and saw this on display. Reader, I borrowed it! I can only fantasise about fell running locally. Cambridge is flatter than the flattest pancake.

I am managing to run each day for Janathon although 4-5 days in the week are just 2 milers. The mild winter in Eastern England has now got appreciably colder and I’m now running in trackster bottoms and a mid cold protection running jacket. It’s about 2-4c at the moment but minus centigrade temperatures will soon be upon us and I’ll wear a heavier duty cycling jacket which I keep on even when I’ve warmed up.

Alan Rickman’s death was announced today. Another very sad event. A great and entertaining actor, gone at 69.

 

 

 

 

 

Janathon Day 11 Thanks David

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Archbishop Justin Welby, commenting  on David Bowie’s death which was announced this morning, remembered “sitting listening to his songs endlessly in the 1970’s particularly and always really relishing what he was , what he did, the impact he had.” That won’t be music to the ears of certain delegates to the Anglican Communion in Canterbury today. Bowie regarded himself as bisexual.

I couldn’t lay my hands on Ziggy Stardust but I did find Hunky Dory which I prefer. Looking through my old vinyl it was sad to come across past heroes, now gone – Kevin Ayers, Jimi Hendrix, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Sandy Denny, Janice Joplin, Rory Gallagher,Lou Reed, John Lennon, George Harrison, Nico. All part of growing up and the excitement of music.

A cold day in Cambridge, some sun but mainly dull and overcast. I went for a late run around 8.30 pm. Only my head light brightened it up.

 

 

Janathon Day 7 More gloomy light

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Heavy rain this morning and squally winds this afternoon.The quality of the light was poor all day After dark, the wind and rain eased off and I took the opportunity to use my new Petzl head torch. It’s a leap of faith if you can’t see exactly where you are placing your feet at night but the head torch provides sufficient strong light to illuminate a wide angle of the path. That means you can run more confidently. I don’t worry about running on a poorly lit pavement but a good torch makes for a more relaxing outing. Distance about 3.4 miles. Saw one other runner with a head light.

I subscribe to Heart Matters, the British Heart Foundation magazine which is free. https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine. It’s very informative, easy to read, discusses all aspects of heart disease and treatment and is full of positive and inspiring stories. This month it features explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who had a heart attack in 2003 and had to be resuscitated from several cardiac arrests. Following bypass surgery, three months later he ran seven marathons in seven days on all seven continents. In 2005, he climbed Everest and got within 300 metres of the summit before chest pains stopped him going to the top. According to his surgeon, Professor Angelini, who raised no objection to these endeavours, “his heart has recovered ; there was no damage.” Professor Angelini did advise him his heart rate should not rise much above 130 beats per minute.

Fiennes went on to successfully climb Everest on his third attempt in 2008. He is now aged 71. Last year he completed the Marathon De Sables, an extremely demanding  251k  race across the Sahara desert.

The article seems to be a puff for super hero Fiennes whose cardiac arrests, bypass surgery and heart disease appear not to have had any impact on his ability to undergo extremes of physical endurance. No mention of medication although NICE guidelines seem to put everyone on Ramipril, bisoprolol, aspirin and statins following a heart attack. Ranulph, why are you different? Is it because you are a knight of the realm and strong blue blood courses through your veins? I’ll be contacting Heart Matters and HRM Queen Elizabeth over this.

 

 

Janathon Day 6

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I thought I would include a few cutting edge health tips in this blog although this is an October 2015 edition. Nevertheless, I’m sure it’s as true now as it was then. The Express has an endearing habit of leading with good news health stories (as in trumpeting a cure for arthritis or cutting heart disease by 110% or predicting everyone will be able to live until they are 127 years old within the decade). It currently has a daily paper circulation of around 450,000 compared with the Guardian’s 185,000 and the Independent’s 61,000.

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The Daily Star (sample front page above) has a current circulation of around 425,000, the Sun just under two million and the Daily Mail about 1,680,000.

What’s all this got to do with running? Not a lot. It’s just a continuing source of fascination how our British papers pander to specific demographics and it’s not a pretty sight. The tabloids, particularly, specialise in provoking hostility and anxiety, prejudice and condemnation or providing fantasy and sexual titillation. Several of them don’t meet the criteria for being regarded as newspapers. They are adult comics pretending to have gravitas.

Anyway, I managed to suppress my habit of snapping the more hilarious or outrageous headlines in Tesco today. I’m sure it’s not a healthy behaviour so I’ll try harder to restrict it to the most egregious examples (another positive New Year resolution).

I ran my default 2 miles today having run around 9k last night with the club. I feel I’m running well at the moment but not swiftly. I’m roughly five to six pounds over weight and it’s winter. Presently, the light is poor, and particularly today, when I felt obliged to switch on my SAD lamp. Having spent a lot of money on this lamp, obviously it works for me! So my investment was successful. I also need to stretch much more and do upper body work (that’s an aspirational New Year’s resolution).

Janathon Day 3 Dreich day for running

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New Year’s Day parkrun at Peterborough which Lorna and I ran. Impressively they put on the normal parkrun the next day (Saturday) although we ran Cambridge.

Today it’s all  drizzle, mizzle, dreary light and damp cold. It’ll be pishing it doon later. I’ve started this blog but I’m struggling to get out to run. I’ll play for time and commit to New Year’s resolutions.

I should :

  1. Eat more broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leeks and cabbage.
  2. Invest in a pair of Gore Mythos wind stopper running tights.
  3. Cough more loudly as I’m running behind someone on the river Cam footpath to alert them to my imminent presence thus avoiding them jumping into the Cam in fright.
  4. Confront people more assertively with my alternative opinion. A Scottish phrase springs to mind to assist me. Yer bum’s oot the windae! ie you’re talking nonsense.
  5. Buy a good head torch for night running. Resolution achieved! It’s arriving in two days.
  6. Grow up (I may defer this one for another year).

Not too demanding, I think. Anyway, I did eventually go for a two mile run, at 5pm, in the dark and rain. Initially I felt tired and lacking in energy. The second mile was much better and when I returned home I was feeling alert and chipper. Prior to going out, I had prepared the evening meal slowly and without enthusiasm. Now I snapped on electric cooker knobs with panache and finished the food preparation with brio. Another testimonial to the benefits of running.

BBC Radio 4 The Food Programme broadcast at 12.30 pm today. It looks at how diet can affect running performance. It can be downloaded as a podcast on iTunes and is repeated tomorrow at 3.30 pm.

 

 

Alive and Running February 28 2015

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This is Stanley Green who regularly patrolled Oxford Street, London between 1968 and up to 1993 when he died. As a teenager wandering around London on Saturdays, I probably came across this man a couple of dozen times (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Green). I was reminded of this quintessential English eccentric by three people I met over the last few days who unexpectedly engaged me in conversation. Unlike Stanley, whom my teenage self found unsettling. I can now sustain whole conversations with people who make me marvel, with whom I have very little in common, who are on a substantially different wavelength but are interesting, have integrity and an openness. It doesn’t take much effort on my behalf because I invariably like them and enjoy their brief company. At the same time I’m aware how difficult and lonely it can be for people who don’t easily conform to conventional social norms. Am I over thinking this? Can’t help it, readers! I take most people seriously most of the time until they demonstrate this is not a sensible thing to do. And most the people I can’t take seriously, do conform to social norms in their interactions. So bring on eccentricity, I say, but not too much of it all in one go.

Wimpole Estate parkrun today. The weather in my village was relatively mild but when we arrived at Wimpole it was much colder and the wind was cutting.The light was poor and if I was more forward thinking, I would have employed someone with a SAD lamp strapped to their back to run directly in front of me. It was also very muddy and several people required to be hoisted out of vicious swamps by the emergency services. Anyway, I was one of a number of survivors who managed to stagger back to the superior National Trust cafe where I indulged myself with a fruit scone, butter and jam and a lovely cup of coffee. I kept good company with friends and met or observed parkrun royalty who were visiting from Headquarters.

Only eight days before Cambridge half marathon which most of my family and running friends are doing. There will be none of the stupidity of last year when I failed to drink during the race, and after finishing, which resulted in dehydration, an inability to walk and a nice trip in a Landrover to the medical tent. How magical water is! It didn’t take too long to recover but I won’t repeat the mistake.