My mother living the wildlife!

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My mother at Christmas. I can’t say she wore this giraffe mask for the entire festive period but the motivation wasn’t lacking. I clearly see where my genetically driven urge to be daft originates!

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January sunshine on Jesus Green. And heart warming to see the wild life enjoying the lovely weather on the river Cam.

Last week I ran two 9 milers which is probably enough preparation for the Cambridge half marathon in March and the next one in 2018. I went to the gym once and did Cambridge parkrun yesterday. The conditions were similar to the week before. Dry and cold. The field was 540 and it took 30 volunteers to put it on. Icy puddles were a considerable hazard on some parts of the narrow path and small stretches needed to be coned off. By one churned up muddy/icy patch in the centre of the running line yesterday, a volunteer stood continuously calling out for people to run around him to avoid catastrophe in the slippery gloop.

It’s a big responsibility to minimise the risk to a large number of runners in limited space in such conditions and cancellation of the run is a practical option. As far as I am aware it all went off very successfully on both consecutive parkruns. Very nicely managed.

Trump continues to behave beyond the normal reaches of parody (and by the way, it’s only a couple of days into the new administration). Apart from his stream of consciousness, I’m not-going-to-allow-anything-to inhibit-me-because-I can-easily-contradict-myself-tomorrow utterances, he has a fascinating range of facial mannerisms and hand gestures. He’s trying to convey sincererity, straight no nonsense talking, charm, flattery, personal recognition of the underdog’s predicament and personal one-to-one communication. He’s the genuine article (not). Try and catch the footage of Trump talking about his last, apparently triumphant, meeting with the CIA.

 

 

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2017 – my goals, resolutions and other possible fiction

 

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Cambridge parkrunfirst timers briefing on January 7th. Another large field – 526 turned out to run in muddy conditions. To put on this parkrun takes around 30 volunteers and it was time for me to join their ranks. I chose to marshal. I enjoy marshalling because it’s so interesting watching the different running styles. Many people respond to the clapping and encouragement and for a substantial minority, it really is an impressive achievement. All in all, it’s a very positive experience for everyone concerned.

I’m not sure if Cambridge parkrun can continue to grow. The paths are narrow, there is a repeat circuit and parking appears to have reached capacity. There have been rumours about a new parkrun but nothing has come to fruition as yet. I spoke to someone a couple of years ago who was involved with an abortive attempt to get a new run off the ground. I was surprised how difficult the process proved to be and how much time and effort was required. I know how much a commitment it is for a core team to put on a run each week.

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Rather eery weather in Cambridge on the weekend. This is Trinity Lane arond 7.30pm.

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This is approaching Garret Hostel bridge over the Cam. I sent Lorna over first. She can deal with anything!

My goals, resolutions and aspirations?

  1. Be more consistent.
  2. Focus on creativity.
  3. Allow myself to be more eccentric.
  4. Create towers of books.
  5. Have a go at vlogging – subject reviewing book reviews with a view to describing their particular enjoyment.
  6. Take some things very seriously but take most things not too seriously and some “serious” things as  only worthy of spontaneously laughing out loud.
  7. Continue writing my crime novel at a much faster pace.
  8. Run and run and run.
  9. Pray Trump implodes without causing too much damage.
  10. Find someone with whom I can play chess and Go.
  11. That’s enough for the present.

Cambridge half marathon in 8 weeks. Time to start training.

 

 

 

 

 

Daffodils barred from leaving the flower bed

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It’s Day 6 following poisoning by cheese cake and my forced withdrawal from Cambridge half marathon. I haven’t run since then until today when I jogged a couple of miles. I can recommend food poisoning (in my case) for first class nausea and vomiting, an over riding urge to lie very still, weird fluctuations in temperature,subsequently knocking back my appetite, occasional mild nauseous feelings and loss of interest in sweet foods. It’s around 359 days to go before the next Cambridge half but I’m guaranteed to remember not to eat New York vanilla cheese cake the night before.

Good news on the two runners who went into cardiac arrest near the finish line. They received very prompt treatment and are now said to be recovering well in Addenbrookes hospital.

The weather looks cold and wet tomorrow for Cambridge parkrun. I won’t have any problem doing 3 miles and I’m volunteering afterwards by collecting the course signage. I don’t find this task onerous. It’s very pleasant walking around the deserted woodland trail path and only takes 17-18 minutes.

Very interesting article in yesterday’s Guardian on narcissism It’s surprisingly difficult for people to disguise or hide narcissistic traits on social media although most are not motivated to do so. It seems to be deliciously tempting to reveal you’ve been for a cup of coffee, or a restaurant and so easy to become adept at making inane comments and compliments with the intention of having them returned. I blame ourselves, the facilitating social media platforms, cultural dumbing down, lack of emotional and psychological awareness and, as usual, the Evil Tories (although I haven’t refined their particular responsibility yet but I’m working on it).

 

Janathon Day 27 A walking day

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Sun coming up over Wort’s Meadow a few days ago when it was frosty.

Didn’t manage a daytime run today and unusually I didn’t feel like running in the evening. but I did fancy a walk and listened to BBC Radio 4 podcasts. It was pleasant walking in the dark. I became aware of the Cambridge lights around 4-5 miles away. The red lights at the top of the tall new constructions were particularly prominent . Distance walked : two miles .

I’ll be doing Cambridge parkrun on Saturday. It’s their 6th birthday. I intended to volunteer as a marshal but the rota is now full so it’s deferred until the following weekend. That’s good because parkrun will be my penultimate Janathon jog.

 

Janathon Day 9 We’re gonna be famous for 15 seconds!

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A very enjoyable Cambridge parkrun this morning. We had a record 504 runners and BBC Look East came along and filmed the whole proceedings. This picture shows our mate Kerry (who ran his 100th today) being interviewed by Jonathan Park. Kerry’s standing by a supply of cakes and a photo montage of Kerry centred pictures. Just out of shot is a couple of hundred drooling runners being held back by volunteers and gagging to devour the confectionery.

The run was very muddy, as anticipated, but the weather held. No rain and surprisingly mild. The camera man and interviewer Jonathan (who also ran) were very friendly and to blended in comfortably with everyone. They appeared to take possibly ninety minutes of film which might be edited down to a few minute or less. We’ll know on Monday evening when it’s scheduled to air. Hopefully it won’t feature me running with my mouth open and looking as if I’m about to collapse (my default appearance).

We tend to mark 50th, 100th and 250th runs as well as significant parkrun dates, and birthdays, with cakes at Cambridge. We also tend to take a lot of photos. Are we narcissistic? Obviously! Do the majority of other parkruns do this? Hopefully!

After the run we queued in the cafe and then enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee to further reward ourselves in good company. Next week, we’re off to Wimpole parkrun (cancelled today because of water logging)to celebrate their 3rd anniversary. For more of the same.

Perusing my wood pulp hard copy edition of that middle class, bleeding heart liberal, wooly, comfortable, arm chair lefty Guardian newspaper, I came across  an article :

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/08/church-of-england-fears-talks-on-gay-rights-could-end-global-anglican-communion

It discusses the high degree of likelihood of continuing fundamental disagreement in the world wide Anglican communion over gay rights and same sex marriage. As a humanist, I can only continue to marvel at the intrinsic lack of humanity, wilful ignorance and vicious, self serving prejudice in an organisation whose mission statement has something to say about love, tolerance, inclusion and diversity. And there you have it! It doesn’t say that sexuality is on a spectrum, varies within that spectrum for many of us and is often a biological imperative. So centuries old prejudices and sexual fears and anxieties are maintained and justified supernaturally. The church, with the clear conscience of the self righteous, can condemn and preside over the persecution of anyone outside of their definition of God approved sexuality. I think it would be more useful to return to the old, less cruel practice of estimating the number of angels who could stand on the head of a pin!

Sermon over.

I think these summit delegates would benefit from going for a 5k run before they begin to pontificate.

Everyone is running except me! It’s criminal!!!!!!!

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Good witch and tailrunner Diane tries to give me the evil eye as she accompanies this 80-84 category parkrunner at Wimpole Estate yesterday. I was marshaling by a long straight stretch adjacent to the lake and combined this sacred duty with taking a couple of hundred photos. That’s so like me. Just selflessly working on behalf of others without a thought for my own needs or comfort. Well, all that’s gonna change when I recover from my already-one-month old injury. It’ll be about me me me from then on. Still unsure when “my time” commences. Having fallen heavily on rubble and then run 12 miles on a quadriceps injury, it’s slowly getting better but it really is at a snail’s pace.I haven’t attempted to run over the last month because bending my left knee has been painful and movement is limited.

Anyway, I have a cunning plan! I start running prematurely and to my intense surprise and shock, re-injure myself. Obviously I wouldn’t be that stupid, would I? Unfortunately, it’s a great temptation. It’s sooooo frustrating watching Lorna and my running chums take part in races that are currently forbidden to me due to a ridiculous injury. I blame the farmer for laying down rubble to give traction to his heavy farm machinery during muddy weather, gravity for pulling my foot down causing me to stumble headlong, my running shoes for not thinking out of the box and warning me of impending danger and the weak megaphone which caused me not to hear the race director’s specific mention of the section of dangerous terrain (I was warming up at this point). In  a nutshell, my accident wasn’t my fault and I had to de-friend someone who suggested I don’t pick my feet up sufficiently. Condensed version of the above : I don’t like being unable to run.

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Lorna powers ahead to finish our local Bonfire Burn 10k while I languish like a beached jellyfish on the sidelines.

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These are runners. They have run 10k. How lucky are they?

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This is Diane, hardworking race director at Wimpole Estate parkrun addressing the throng and again, with a young parkrunner.

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Small compensation in the Wimpole pre-loved -but- now -wickedly -discarded -and -crying -out- for -an appreciative -home book shop.

I rest my case. Good night!

Still injured and no running on the horizon. It’s an Existential crisis. Help!

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This is the best front page I have seen on a running magazine. It’s the current November 2015 issue. I suspect that most of the front page females (and the occasional male) runners are models, at least in the most popular mags and are hardly representative of the mass of people running. This picture shows an undeniably overweight young woman, enjoying herself and showing good running form. She’s overweight but looks fit. It’s a cliche but I’ll use it. She’s inspirational and this image will give positive encouragement to legion other potential runners.

It’s two weeks since I fell at the Wimpole half marathon and injured my quadriceps. Recovery remains slow. I can still only go up stairs one at a time and I’ve only started to drive locally a few days ago. I did walk Cambridge parkrun last weekend (in 48 minutes) but in hindsight, it was a mistake and set me back several days. In hindsight, it was a mistake to continue to run 12 miles after I fell and also a mistake not to be doubly careful running over large rubble stones which really should have not been there in the first place. I can hear women all over the world mutter “typical male decision making”.

I marshaled at Cambridge parkrun today. Very enjoyable. I spoke to Mary Holmes (75-79) who is still getting sub 30 minutes and asked after Peter Chaplin (80-84) who used to run at Cambridge but is no longer coming. That’s a pity. He’s still physically able to take part, I think. These two people are excellent role models and demonstrate that age need not be an insurmountable obstacle to running and physical exercise.

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I came across a few Ladybird books in the loft recently.The Old Woman and her Pig and The Magic Porridge Pot are beautifully surreal stories and finely illustrated, much superior to the Disney-fied later editions. They were cheap, hardback, had pictures every other page and could be easily read in one sitting. Parents, seek these out on Ebay! But beware of the The Record Breakers (1970) which shows various sporting records. There are 19 text pages and 19 facing illustrations of superlative achievements by men. There is one page and picture of a female long jumper whose Elfin appearance makes her look like a young boy. So, no female role models in this Ladybird reading scheme. If you must own this edition, keep it under lock and key and show it to no-one, particularly children.