Alive and Running November 3 2014

WP_20141103_001

My supper this evening featuring Brussels sprouts. I haven’t mentioned Brussels for some time but, rest assured, I eat them most days when available fresh in the shops. I’m not sure what “fresh” really means in terms of vegetables bought from Tesco. I suspect a lot of their veg is bought cheap and kept in cold storage for extended periods of time. So much of their produce looks tired. Anyway, these tasted just fine.

I ran for the first time in a week on Saturday (Cambridge parkrun) and did the Bonfire Burn 10k yesterday. I’m not fully over my cold and I wasn’t able to run as fast as I usually do. The 10k was a bit of a struggle towards the end and I was nearly 3 minutes slower than last year. It didn’t help that it was pouring with rain for the first half and I was wearing too much kit to prevent feeling cold. When the rain stopped I was very warm and felt hindered by my clothing. I spoke to the race director after I came in and tried to get the race declared null and void. My suggestion that he rearrange it for the following weekend when I expected to be fully recovered from my sneaky cold and an improvement in the weather, fell on deaf ears. Despite being nearly 50 years my junior, he said “Go home and sleep it off, son. Try again next year!”  Clearly I’ll have to seek legal redress.

My therapeutic  gardening project is  progressing slowly. I met on site with a Planning Officer last week. He will decide whether or not my proposal  requires planning permission. I don’t think it will but if it does they will assist with my application. Two good friends have declined to become  trustees of the charity I will be creating (for understandable reasons) but have pledged a donation of £500 plus some room in their greenhouse, plants and some gardening tools. They are a generous couple who give more than 10% of their income to charity, as a matter of course, without a fanfare. How many of us would do that?

Advertisements

Aliveandrunning September 22 2014

South Cambridgeshire-20140922-00993

Weather fine today so we had lunch on the lawn. Mine was cold and consisted of left overs from yesterday’s  meal – chicken in Thai Green curry sauce, a few Brussels sprouts, runner beans, lemon rice, Mediterranean vegetable mix (originally frozen) and a radish, cucumber and red onion salad with cashew nuts, mint and honey.

Should have gone for a run today but didn’t get around to it. Just under two weeks to the next half marathon on Wimpole Hall Estate and I need to be running longer distances more frequently. If I don’t do this, I’ll run a mediocre time (by my own personal standards) but not so poor that spectators will boo and throw rotten fruit at me.

Saturday’s Cambridge parkrun went OK. I ran another sub 24 minutes but still more than 30 seconds off my personal best. If I don’t improve I’ll start wearing a hair shirt (at this point I looked up “hair shirt” and found a forum thread concerning a man asking advice about wearing a cilice (or hair shirt ) for spiritual/religious reasons. Very interesting! I think I’ll forget the hair shirt and cut down on my daily consumption of Brussels sprouts as a penance instead.

The proposed gardening therapy project took a step forward last Friday when I met a manager at Cambridge MIND, the mental health charity. She liked the idea and didn’t think making referrals or encouraging volunteers to get involved would be problematic. I’m now in the process of making an on line planning application to the District Council. I’ve also emailed  someone who has a remit to identify and develop green spaces which would have a beneficial impact on the health and well being of local communities. Might my project fit into this criteria? Who knows. I’ll have to look at funding and how to set up a charity shortly but this can only go ahead if planning permission is not an issue.

Aliveandrunning August 28 2014

WP_20140828_008

 

This shocking, non life threatening injury was sustained at my local Tesco supermarket. I can’t lay claim to seeing off a gang of thugs who were menacing a hard working but meek and elderly tax payer. I didn’t fight a duel in the carpark to prevent my honour  being besmirched. But I can confirm that one of their trolleys has got a mean attitude. I usually take one of the smaller, shallow trolleys which stack together and should pull out easily. Sometimes the metal panel which swivels to allow them to stack gets stuck. Through experience and the application of hard won technical wisdom, I have learnt that a short, sharp knock will free the swivelling panel and allow me to wheel the trolley away. Not sure why but this expected outcome didn’t take place. Instead I thumped it too hard and the panel flipped over and hit me on the bridge of the nose. Blood was dribbling down my face and I had to seek first aid at the customer services desk. Following a Code One call over the PA system a first aider appeared, quickly, accompanied by an assistant and, I think, the duty manager. They suggested I move away from the public gaze while they cleaned me up and wanted me to sit down. It was my minimal expectation that a running god like myself would be ushered into a side room with discreet classical music playing and offered strawberries while I reclined on a chaise longue. This didn’t happen. Instead I walked 3 metres and sat on an electric store buggy while the three Tesco people worked on my nose and the queue of people waiting for customer services gawped at me. Still, I got prompt attention despite their lack of recognition that I am a running deity. I wouldn’t be surprised that, had I gashed my nose deeply, they would have publicly stitched me up.

Out running with the club two days ago. We ran the course for the 5K interclub run next week. There weren’t many of us and the course wasn’t familiar to me. I think I was still feeling tired  from running a training 13 miles two days previously. As a result, despite a feeling I was flying like the wind, I did a slow time. It was even slower because I went the wrong way three times. Interestingly, the warm up and warm down exercises were as demanding as the 5k itself (almost). After the session, I drink 500 mls  of water in the car and tonic water with my evening meal on my return.This regime is keeping the cramp at bay.

I cooked a dal this evening. Unfortunately I put in a large spoonful of extra hot chilli powder instead of turmeric and didn’t have yogurt to cool it down. This job was left to the radish, red onion and cucumber salad accompanying it. Still too hot but edible!

Still waiting for Cambridge MIND to contact me regarding my proposal for a gardening ecotherapy project in the field behind my cottage. They said they were interested and I’ll hopefully meet up with them soon.

Inside Health, BBC Radio 4, is well worth catching as a podcast on iTunes. The programme takes a critical, weekly look at health issues and has just completed 3 editions devoted to conflict of interests by drug companies, researchers, the medical world and the public. Very interesting. Forget transparency!

 

 

 

Aliveandrunning August 4 2014

10550175_1550020075226226_4488452427875207410_o

Cambridge Junior parkrun  last Sunday, a 2k run for children between the ages of4-14. This is the start and the girl on the left won it in a time of 7 minutes 36 seconds. A  fantastic run. 87 took part including some young ones running with their parents (who are not included in the numbers.

10496069_1550036245224609_5257514613367040732_o

These three walked the 2k, explaining they were a caterpillar and couldn’t be hurried.

I was a timer again (one of two). This is fairly straight forward when the numbers running aren’t high and the children aren’t hurling themselves en masse at the finish line. Cambridge adult parkrun (5k) regularly attracts nearly 400 so timing requires much concentration when they come in densely bunched up and overtaking in the finish tunnel before they receive their position tokens. I did it a couple of years ago, in winter, when only 186 ran. The temperature was low and I didn’t have gloves. My hands were numb with cold. Two fingers snapped off. I didn’t stoop to pick them up; I merely carried on recording the times, selfless as ever.

Saturday’s parkrun was OK. I ran 24 minutes dead (if only I had run a second faster, I would have dropped into the 23’s and my self esteem would have survived intact. Note to self: work on losing that highly significant second).

Yesterday, I dropped off my daughter Sophie at Cambridge Station, parked and went running in the City. Or rather I ran up and down Mill Road, the “bohemian” part of Cambridge before heading for the dark interior, sucking in tourists like a black hole. Mill Road is nearly a mile long and has many interesting independent shops. At the end furthest from town, a big, new mosque complex is going to be built on a derelict site. No work started yet.

As described before, it’s curiously satisfying weaving in and out of the crowds in Cambridge. Although I’m not running fast in any sense of the word,  you feel oddly powerful and nimble negotiating the throng.They move so slowly and you have the impression of  occupying a different time frame.  I seemed  to cover a lot of distance because Cambridge is a small city. I ran around 5 miles before returning to the car, leaving many dozens of people in my wake gasping with the excitement at having witnessed a local running god (albeit in low gear).

WP_20140804_002

Oh happy days! I found fresh Brussels sprouts in Tesco today. Where were they grown? Don’t know. Probably Tasmania and clocking up about 200,000 air miles. But never mind, they were delicious and on a par with raspberries. Yummy.

The Guardian reports today on loss of provision and funding crises experienced by Women’s Refuge Centres. http://bit.ly/UOw4Z3 The ability to blithely cut, or cut out, these type of essential services, in the name of austerity savings demonstrates what a bunch of shits local and national politicians are. If the public gaze is currently far away from domestic violence, then politically it’s worth taking the risk to cut funding along with other important, humanitarian services which have a low public profile. These politicians have a passion. A passion for putting the boot into small groups  of vulnerable people who have negligible voting power.

 

 

 

 

 

Aliveandrunning July 30 2014

WP_20140728_005

My supper last night watching the Commonwealth Games. I ate late because it was club training night with Cambridge and Coleridge RC. Alarmingly it did not include broccoli. However, accompanying the basmati rice, chicken curry with cauliflower and courgettes, mixed salad, naan bread with mint sauce and poppadum, I made a Shirazi salad, an Iranian dish  (in the bowl). I needed this after the running. We didn’t go for distance. We simply ran 8 x 1 minute intervals with 3 minute recoveries. So only 8 minutes of hard running in all. It doesn’t sound much but it’s demanding.

Far less than usual attended, possibly on holiday, possibly fearful of the heat and cowering in front of an open refrigerator. Anyway, the cream of the elite were present (yes, I unashamedly include myself in their ranks) and I acquitted myself with distinction (well, second to last in the speed stakes but it’s not really about speed, is it?) On these warm days I drink 500 mls of water as soon as we finish and, with further water later, this seems to keep the cramps away.

I made another new salad today – radish, cucumber and red onion salad with mint and orange blossom dressing. I went to Tesco to buy the ingredients and also for other new recipes I’m trying. Of course, I had to ask for assistance.

“Excuse me, I’m looking for orange blossom water, za’atar and a bottle of Corinthian red wine vinegar”

“Mercy me, sir, we don’t stock those kind of la-de-da things. You must be cooking foreign. May I direct you to Mill Road (a notorious area of Cambridge well known for the louche lifestyle of its inhabitants). I’m sure they eat loads of that kind of stuff. You can pick up some falafel that your kind can’t get enough of at the same time. Why not treat yourself to a box of our Krispy Kreme  doughnuts and tuck in as you drive over.”

So, not the positive response I hoped for. But what do you expect from a chain of supermarkets which appears to have a national policy of displaying plants for sale that are dead or dying as a result of not being watered. This happens so frequently at my local Tesco I believe that the staff must be prohibited from watering or possibly projecting their anger and frustration with customers onto the defenceless plants. Who hears them screaming. They just wither away, poor things. I’ve taken photos to prove it and I may publish them when the world is ready. Tesco, STOP IT!!