Aliveandrunning August 17 2014

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This chap (I presume it’s male) landed on a bamboo cane near the little pond I’ve created. How envious am I not to have two pairs of wings like him.

Saturday! It’s Cambridge parkrun. I’m feeling fast. I’m confident. I look skyward and see Zeus reclining on a low cloud. He gives me the thumbs up. I can’t fail to get a personal best. It’s a big field of runners today so I position myself  nearer to the front than usual. We’re off and I’m running like a fierce wind or alternatively, like the shape shifting, liquid metal T-1000 Terminator in Terminator 2 : Judgement Day when he chases Arnie’s speeding car. It seems to be going well. But what’s this? A chum greets me as he runs past! “Morning David,” I manage to gasp. A few minutes later, Sylvia passes me followed by Paul, then Mike, Paula and Giles, all cheerily acknowledging me as they cruise past. This is not how it’s supposed to be! Only my pal Dominic, who is recovering his running fitness, remains one second behind at the finish line. When I recover my breath and look up, I have a clear view of  Zeus lolling around on an even lower cloud, shaking with laughter. Obviously I am nowhere near a personal best.

In the afternoon, I went into central Cambridge which was saturated with tourists. This is really unproblematic unless you can’t manage crowds. They generally keep to a few well defined areas and it’s easy to avoid extreme congestion by leaving this well trodden path. I like them. They create an interesting atmosphere. As usual I headed straight for a bookstall on the Market Square and, lo and behold, I found 3 Penguin paperbacks that I couldn’t afford not to have. The bookseller remonstrated with me, advising me not to buy them. “Sir,” he said,”your small cottage overfloweth with books. You have enough. Think of your lady wife, the long suffering Ms Alive and Running. Do not risk her wrath, I beseech thee. Forego the sublime pleasures these low cost volumes, awash with nostalgia for your your youth, can afford you.” I considered his little speech for three whole seconds. “Thank you for your wise words but I regard it as a counsel of despair. Now, my good man, will you or will you not accept my custom? I proffered metal coins which glinted i the sun. His eyes seemed to light up but a scowl played over his face. “Aye, laddie, I will,” he muttered. “On your head be it.” He wrapped up the books in brown paper and handed them to me. Several book browsers applauded as I turned on my heels and strode away. Believe me, it’s not easy buying books in Cambridge

Cambridge junior parkrun today. 15 minutes before it’s due to start, it begins to rain fairly heavily. The adults don’t like the conditions. The children hardly notice. Despite the weather all goes smoothly. Junior parkrun is well supported by volunteers and parents and continues to be hugely enjoyable. Each runner is loudly encouraged all the way round the course and particularly over the finish line. Their faces light up with pleasure.No need to rely on the  good will of the Roman gods.

In the afternoon I went for a 10 mile run along the river Cam as part of my preparation for the Grunty Fen half marathon in three weeks. It felt easier thn last week. I got back in time to see Mo Farah win the 5k race at the Zurich European Championships. He’s got my running style!

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Aliveandrunning July 24 2014

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My supper this evening, I hesitate to call it supper because a chum considered this posh. He felt dinner was the correct term for the hardworking, down to earth working person. Anyway the picture of this meal reveals to the world that I’m not starving and that broccoli continues to be an honourable substitute for Brussels sprouts whose season has passed. Please contrast it with yesterday’s supper/meal below.

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Sharp eyed readers will note that this meal/supper/dinner is on a tray and that, reassuringly, it is consistent with other food pictures posted in that it features broccoli. Also present : penne pasta, turkey mince in bolognese sauce, cheese and red onion flatbread, mixed  salad, olives and raw onion.This reasonably balanced nutritional intake ensures I am able to run like Hermes, messenger of the gods and son of Zeus and Maia.

Today, I went for a 10k run and it was undeniably hot. Nevertheless I felt OK while I was actually moving. It’s when you stop that you feel the heat and later feel a weariness that is different compared with running in the autumn or winter. Tomorrow is a rest day and Saturday is Cambridge parkrun. I need to go for a longer 15k but I’ll probably wait until it’s cooler.

I saw some of the women’s triathalon at the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow this morning. Very entertaining and an exciting finish. Unfairly, the BBC news I watched gave more prominence to the Brownlee brothers in the men’s triathalon getting gold and silver rather than Jodie Stimpson and Vicky Holland taking gold and bronze. They showed longer clips from interviews and more of the Brownlees’ race.

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This is the Winter Gardens in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, on the East Coast. It opened in 1904, originally to house flora and fauna but over the years has been used as an ice skating rink, concert venue and children’s amusement park. Now in considerable disrepair, it’s awaiting restoration and probable return to its original use of providing a large structure to display plants and showcase bio diversity. Funding has not been agreed so far. It looks very sad and unloved  at the moment but still majestic. I’ll have a word with Zeus. He’ll know how to sort this out. Watch out for more pictures of tormented fine old Yarmouth buildings in blogs to come.

And lastly, I was instrumental in saving a family of spiders tonight. Ms Alive and running pointed them out, simultaneously giving me a you’ve-failed-to-vacuum-them-away mean look. I, having appreciation of the bigger picture, became aware that a drama was about to unfold. A gnat flew into some dangling webbing and immediately mummy or daddy spider rushed over, swiftly immobilised it by rapidly weaving silken thread around its body, and then toddled  back to its little spiderlings. Ms Alive and running was amazed that this was played out in front of us. This was far better than watching East Enders and much more exciting than reading inane comments on Facebook. I announced that the whole family of spiders (and their relatives) were under my protection and were now, officially, my pets. This occasioned another harsh look. I’ll be hiding the vacuum cleaner as a precautionary measure, of course.