The week started with a fairly gentle run with my wife. My back had coped well with the ride on Saturday so I wanted to see how it was with some running. A bit sore but the 5.8km (3.6 miles) went OK.
We ran again on Tuesday – this time I joined my wife doing hill reps for the first time in years. I know I should have done them in training for the 2019 Rotterdam Marathon and last year’s ultra – but I’ve been diligently protecting my dodgy Achilles tendons. Hill reps would be a great addition to my training for next year’s 100km ultra and it seemed worth trying now because the tendons are behaving pretty well. If I do aggravate them again, at least they’ve got plenty of time to rest and recover.
I’m not sure what a good hill for hill reps actually looks like, but the hill we chose involves a very steep climb of about 26m over around 200m, at an average of 13% (having written ‘13%’ I now understand why running up it was so hard).
I did 8 reps of a slightly longer segment incorporating the hill – in all a run of 8.5km with a total of 263m of height gain. Probably not the most sensible, gentle, introduction to hill reps but at least it should tell me whether my Achilles’ are up to training on hills.
On Wednesday morning the Achilles tendons were fine. I could feel the run in my quads (probably as much from the running downhill as up) but nothing beyond a reminder that I’d worked hard the previous day.
Every now and again a small glimmer of common sense breaks through my clouds of madness. Wednesday wasn’t one of those days so my wife and I went for a run (a gentle one, with no extra hills) in the morning, 7.2km (4.5 miles).
In the evening we went to the 60th birthday supper of the friend I rode with on Saturday. It was a terrific evening with great food, drink and company, which resulted in the start to Thursday morning being even slower than usual. I got on the turbo in the early evening, for another hard and hot 45 minutes @25.8kph (16mph).
A standard Friday morning saw me in the gym and then in the charity bike shop. I’ve been a bit underwhelmed with enjoyment of the gym recently but seemed to get a lot of that back in this session so there’s a big plus.
We drove up to London in the afternoon to see both sons for supper, which was excellent and we stayed up in London for the night. Staying in London means one thing if I’m lucky – a run in the morning. I ran to Hammersmith and then down the Thames Path to Craven Cottage and back – 7.26km at better than 5.30 per km, which is my fastest for some time. It was lovely.
I ran with my wife on Sunday – 7.2km (4.5 miles). The 7th straight day of exercise for me, probably too much but I’ve been enjoying it.
I think I’m now over my post-event slump. I guess it’s mainly just the passing of time but some exercise variety has helped and I’ve particularly enjoyed the ‘purposeful’ run West Kensington to Kingston-Upon-Thames, the birthday ride with friends, the hill rep session and the run in London. I also enjoyed the gym more than I have for a few weeks – I’ve switched to 4 sets of 10 reps instead of 3 sets of 12, a minor change but a change nevertheless.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: Do not look where you fell. Look where you slipped
2. BBC News website: Colombia sterilises drug lord’s hippos
Paulo Escobar, who was shot dead by police in 1993, illegally imported exotic animals, including a male and a female hippo – dubbed the “cocaine hippos”. Since then, a growing population has been taking over the countryside near his former ranch, Hacienda Nápoles.
Colombian environmentalists say the hippos, believed to be the biggest herd outside Africa, are an invasive species and have pushed away the native fauna.
3. BBC News website: Spain’s Prime Minister pledges to criminalise prostitution
Prostitution was decriminalised in Spain in 1995 and in 2016 the UN estimated the country’s sex industry was worth €3.7bn (£3.1bn, $4.2bn). A 2009 survey found that up to one in three Spanish men had paid for sex.
The industry boomed since decriminalisation and it is estimated that around 300,000 women work as prostitutes in Spain. A 2011 UN study cited Spain as the third biggest centre for prostitution in the world, behind Thailand and Puerto Rico.
As someone with no direct experience of the matter (!), this looks like a tough one. If criminalisation prevents exploitation, great. If it deprives women of a freely-chosen livelihood and drives prostitution underground, is that so good?
4. 96-year-old former Nazi concentration camp secretary appears in court
Between June 1943 and April 1945, the accused worked (starting at the age of 18) in the office of the camp commander. Prosecutors say she took dictation of the SS officer’s orders and handled his correspondence. She is charged with complicity in the murder of more than 10,000 people at the camp in occupied Poland.
The prosecution follows a 2011 trial in which the judge said that regardless of how small a person’s role had been, as long as it could be proven they had been “cogs” in the “machinery of destruction”, they could be held responsible for the crimes committed.
Another really tough one. Without, for a moment, downplaying the horror of the holocaust, is it right, 76 years after the end of the war, to prosecute a 96 year-old who was a teenage secretary at the time?
5. True life – What’s in a name
For some time now we have been members of a group of 6 friends who meet regularly to host a supper party and watch one or two episodes of a current TV series. It’s a great format.
Most recently, we have worked our way through the 5 series of Peaky Blinders and have called our group ‘the Peakys’, simply taking the first word of the title of the show we are watching.
We have just decided that the next series will be Schitt’s Creek.
I think we may keep the name Peakys.