Running made simple

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At present I’m running between two and three times a week. Typically I’ll do parkrun locally,  a two miler and a 11-12k longer run. This seems to be more than enough to keep me ticking over and retaining a reasonable level of running fitness which allows me to do the occasional 10k race without extra training.

I’m missing club running but not enough to rejoin. I do have to remind myself that 67% of the reason for leaving was because I was pushing myself too hard (possibly) for someone with heart disease. Research is suggesting that running too far, too often and at an elevated pace is not heart friendly. Research also suggests drinking from the right mug boosts confidence and self esteem. I’ll give it a go.

Cambridge parkrun numbers are still growing. The last two runs have seen record numbers at 546 and 558. Since the course is over a couple of laps and a smaller loop most of which are narrow woodland paths, there’s a lot of congestion at multiple points. This must be a central reason why the parkrun core team has now decided that dogs can no longer run alongside their owners/carers. In short, dogs are now banned. Cue controversy!

We’ve taken to going to London for the day and walking 10-12miles. Recently we explored the development at the back of Kings Cross station which includes a temporary Skip Garden and a reasonably secluded open air swimming pool. It will all be gone in two years and the area will be built on. A great pity because this is the kind of project which gives a place soul and a creative, natural feel. There’s no money in it for the developers, of course.

Still, there is the Regent’s Canal nearby (hopefully no plans to fill it it in) and you can stroll (or run) along most of its  length. We walked from Kings Cross through to Camden Locks and on to Regent’s Park. From there you can leave the canal and walk up Primrose Hill and enjoy a panoramic view of London. That’s the wonderful thing about canals that run through cities and towns. Built two hundred years ago, they bring a feel of history and countryside and calm to the densely populated and over built areas they meader through. Thankfully, they are still around.

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Richard Neville, co-founder of Oz magazine, has died aged 74. Neville, Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis were charged with obscenity and conspiring to corrupt public morals in 1971 and the high profile trial was the subject of Tony Palmer’s book,  The Trials of Oz. Well worth reading on a number of levels. Very funny too, with a host of defence witnesses making fast and loose with the po faced prosecutors. John Mortimer QC defended with Geoffrey Robertson and defence witnesses included George Melly, Hans Eysenck, Edward de Bono, John Peel, Marty Feldman Ronald Dworkin and Feliks Topolski.

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You can get this for a song on Ebay. Take a chance and immerse yourself in 60s/70s counterculture colliding with prevailing conventions and conservative society. Hilarious.

Aliveandrunning June 23 2014 Juneathon Day 23

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Oh look!  An Anglais urticae has alighted on my verbena bonariensis. I’m not surprised because its larvae feeds on the common stinging nettle which thrives without embarrassment in our garden and in the adjacent field. In fact there are so many nettles they could easily support a swarm of these Small Tortoiseshell butterflies, blackening the sky like myriads of locust. In the meanwhile, a dozen or so flit around the verbena which is good this year.

I’ve trained 6 of them to fly above my head when I’m running locally ( they are not good at travelling in the car so I didn’t take them to yesterday’s Hatfield Forest 10k). The truth is I’ve become a butterfly whisperer. A noble calling but without much call for it.

Felix Dennis has died, aged 67. An extremely successful publisher in later years, he will always be remembered by a certain section of my generation as one of the co-founders of OZ, the 60’s counterculture magazine which was the subject of a high profile obscenity trial in 1971. Oz can be bought on ebay, should you be so minded, and I can recommend Tony Palmer’s The Trials of Oz, first published in August 1971 with drawings by Felix Topolski. John Mortimer was the defence QC and there were many famous witnesses speaking up for them. A still fascinating clash between culture and generations.

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A warm day in Cambridge. I felt  a bit lackadaisical after yesterday’s 10k and put off running until I had a heavy evening meal, a hot chocolate and it had started raining hard. Just over 2 miles; the second mile was easier and I could have continued but time was moving on. I got soaked through. I didn’t take the butterflies with me. They get in such a flap when it rains. They are prone to water logging and can’t flutter correctly. I gave them the day off.