Following last weeks wildly successful parkrun at Brighton, when, as a Cambridge parkrun tourist, I unnerved the local opposition by storming the finish line at position 96, this week I again donned my tourist hat and ran parkrun at Gorleston, with Lorna, just outside of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. I came in at number 51, so (maybe) twice as successful as the previous weekend! A very nice course along the cliffs and lower coast promenade. The start began on the cliff top level and finished on the promenade. It comprised two loops with one steep but short incline. The weather has been very stormy in recent days and we were lucky it held for us. Or rather, luck played no part. I made various sacrifices to the rain gods and my mortal interventions successfully resulted in a rain free race.
By good luck, at Gorleston I bumped into the two daughters of a man whom I met in Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge five years ago. We both had heart attacks and we were both marathon runners ( the doctors mentioned I was the second marathon runner that day as they put the stents in). Roy also ran Cambridge parkrun but has now moved away to Norwich. He’s still running and is now concentrating on cycling.
Great Yarmouth! What can I say? At the very least it was a cultural shock. Like a lot of British coastal towns, it has suffered substantial decline and neglect. This description could also apply to many of the residents and visitors. Its both shocking and sobering to see such large swathes of people who are grossly overweight, smoking and eating rubbish, often accompanied by children. If they are able to obtain employment, it will be in low paid, insecure jobs. The town itself had many fine buildings, now sorely neglected and disrespected. I took a number of pictures on my phone which will feature in a subsequent blog.
We stayed at Winterton on Sea, about 10 miles from Great Yarmouth and lived in one of these Hobbit Houses for a few nights. They overlooked sand dunes and the sea beyond. Lovely, little, basic, quirky accommodation.
Yes, I ran for 46 minutes and 53 seconds yesterday. I ran to the river but not along it. At the point I turn around, I touch a railing as the river footpath rises onto a bridge. Failure to touch the railing would result in me falling into an alternative dimension where running is illegal and everyone has to consume a gallon of corn syrup each week by law to ensure good health. Naturally the BBC is regarded as a terrorist organisation. So you see, I have to touch the railing or I am imperilled. On the return journey, nobody gave me a friendly acknowledgement but a robin hitched a lift on my shoulder for 700 metres and gave me the latest ornithological news. He also recommended adding worms to my diet for “balance.” “No,” I gasped,”that’s strictly for the birds.” He flew off with in a huff.
Pedestrian observation : I’ve eaten too much over Christmas and unhealthy food to boot. How to make reparations ? Shall I order a hair shirt on line or indulge in a bit of verbal flagellation ? No ! I’ll eat less and return to a healthily discriminating diet. And I will up the running until I reach such a peak of fitness and performance, it causes Usain Bolt and Mo Farah to look anxiously over their shoulders. Tomorrow I am doing the Ely New Years Eve 10K. Unfortunately the weather prospects are grim – no sun but plenty of rain, wind and cold. These conditions are not conducive for a comfortable run. I’ll do my best and explain to hundreds of my fans lining the course, that I am a below par running god now regaining his fitness. This will be received as shocking news given their belief I was infallible.
I read in the Murdoch owned Sunday Times yesterday that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is considering halving the recommended sugar consumption people should have in their diets. This is following increasing numbers of studies which conclude that sugar plays a major part in obesity and heart disease. The article predicts, predictably, “a robust response from the multi-billion pond food and drinks industry.” The manner in which our food and diet has been degraded for financial and commercial reasons over past decades is truly shocking. Your degree of shock and awe is usually proportionate to how much interest you have shown in how food is sourced, grown and manufactured which for the large majority of people is zero. The mindset and conduct of the food and drinks industry is unlikely to be radically different to the tobacco, alcohol, armaments and pharmaceutical industries in successfully pulling the wool over our eyes. As I write, the TV sound is off but I looked up to see Rock Hudson and Patrick McGoohan each lighting up a cigarette in Ice Station Zebra (1968). It could have been worse. At least they weren’t munching Krispy Kreme doughnuts on screen.
Egregiously, I saw a Krispy Kreme delivery lorry outside my local Tesco store. I shot the driver a withering glance and my upper lip curled up in the manner of Clint Eastwood showing contempt for bad persons in the Dollar films. It had no noticeable effect because the delivery person carried on taking this dangerous foodstuff into the store. In hindsight the reason for this may have been I was 150 metres away when I executed these devastating facial movements. Must try harder.
I’ve had a few ideas about the development of a new cult/religion. I really like the concept of karma and reincarnation. I think this idea has legs. What about MuchBetterNextTime.com ? For a fixed yearly subscription, my personal self serving registered charity/cult/church would guarantee a return to this world in greatly enhanced circumstances compared to your previous life. No- quibble money back if not fully satisfied. How do subscribers attain this goal ? They embark on a policy of tolerance, generosity, kindness and acceptance towards others even if they wear strange clothes and live in other countries. I’ll produce the guidance and develop lots of esoteric waffle, they pay their subscriptions and accrue the benefits in this life and the next. It’s a win-win situation. I’ll also make them start running.
I have not been running since I did parkrun exactly a week ago. My right calf strain hasn’t fully recovered but I decided to do Cambridge parkrun today and see how it goes. The race was OK. My arch rival Mike beat me by 47 seconds but a secondary arch rival Darien came in a second behind me. Disappointingly, my calf felt sore and slightly painful when pressed. Perhaps I will have to promote this injury from mild to moderate. It didn’t stop us from having coffee with friends which included new pal Maurice and some of us eating homemade cake offered by two chums who were celebrating running 50 and 100 parkruns each.
I’m having difficulty finding T shirts to fit me in national stores like M&S and John Lewis. Supermarket T’s are similarly problematic. They are predominately large fit, unshaped and long. It’s clear these are aimed at men who are overweight and probably have a sizeable paunch or at least an ample waistline. Which means they will have a large mass of visceral fat around their organs. That’s not at all good. It’s very bad. Do they know? Do they care? Someone’s got to buy the cronuts !
Running around Cambridge with the Cambridge and Coleridge Running Club this evening. We are scheduled for fartlek training which is much less disgusting than it sounds. It means speed play ie we run at different speeds and varying duration. The weather is still warm and I will be taking an electrolyte drink with me to prevent dehydration or worse. I bought a powder to mix up at our best local running shop, Advance Performance, Cambridge. It seems like a sensible thing to do but rather expensive. I’m not sure it’s necessary although I accept at least half the value is in the placebo effect.
I ventured into the outer ring of Cambridge today and was again struck how lacking in vitality, fitness and general healthiness a large proportion of people 50+ appeared to be. They seemed to want to rush into age related physical slowness. I feel fit and like to walk reasonably fast but I’m clearly in a very small minority. Unfortunately most people have an inbuilt resistance to exercise appropriately despite all the accessible research recommending it for a healthy lifestyle over the last 40 years or so. If only they could organise themselves into neighbourhood running groups! I don’t mean clubs because they are too competitive and take themselves too seriously. Although more people than ever are running or taking up a sport, I think the numbers are still relatively small. So many of us rule ourselves out. That’s a great pity.
If only the Pope had mentioned running, fitness or exercise when he addressed the press corp on his way back from Brazil yesterday. Instead he decided to hone his skills as a stand up comedian and indulge in light banter. Amazingly, he commented “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge? The catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalised because of this (orientation) but that they must be integrated into society.” The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” which is a mildly condemning term compared with earlier descriptions of “evil”. No-where is there any acceptance that homosexuality is a biological imperative. The mindset of the Catholic Church concerning sexuality, whether heterosexuality or homosexuality, is clearly intrinsically disordered. It is a haven, protector and apologist for it’s sexually, physically and emotionally abusive clergy. Organised and institutional religion tends to be self serving and essentially focused on the preservation of power. It discredits its own controversialists who dare to speak the truth. See Guardian http://tinyurl.com/pzp2zmq
Daytime temperatures over 30C today so I went for an early run just after 8 am. I limited the distance to 2 miles because I had an appointment at Addenbrookes Hospital to have a 24 hour heart monitor fitted later in the morning. This was just a routine test arranged by my GP and no big deal. Walking around the hospital I was struck by the large number of obese people in wheelchairs or shuffling around or just looking disconsolate. I also visited the restaurant/cafe area to marvel at the presence of a McDonalds restaurant and view people eating junk food. That’s really thinking outside the box! I’m sure they’ll reintroduce cigarette machines soon or grant a concession to a tobacconist. Why not? It would make sense to managers who see no contradiction in cashing in on producers of damaging nutrition at the same time their hospital services are fighting a losing battle with the consequences of junk food consumption. It’s a bit like drug rehab premises renting pitches to dealers in their waiting/reception area.
The tabloid press headlines always provide a sobering reminder of the priorities and interests of a very sizable chunk of the populace.
The Sun : WHAT’S THE STORY, LIAM? This is a reference to Liam Gallagher’s marriage break-up.
Daily Express : HEATWAVE TO TRIGGER FLOODS
Daily Mail : NET PORN BLOCK ON EVERY HOUSE
Daily Mirror : BRADY HOSPITAL LETS KILLERS WATCH SICK SLASHER FILMS
Daily Star : MY EVIL SEX PLOT TO WIN BIG BRUV This is a reference to a reality show contestant and her strategy to triumph
Gawd help us!