What, no cleats?

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A short run with Mrs O on Tuesday perked me up so I went out again on Wednesday (probably a bad idea) and ran for 10km (certainly a bad idea). It felt hard but I did it in 58 minutes – 4 hour 7minute marathon pace.

So, If I’m going to try to get into the Rotterdam Marathon and run sub 4 hours, I’ll need to be doing just over 4 times that distance and each of the 10kms will have to be 2 minutes faster.

That sounds tough but it’s early days. I’ll have to get the running shoes on more frequently to know for sure whether it’s a possibility before the applications open in late September. If I’m going to run, I want to run well – my ‘good for age’ time to get entry into the London Marathon would be 3hours 45minutes. That’s a little faster than I ran in my 40s – is that remotely possible?

The comforting thing is that (in November 1997) my first training run for my first marathon was about a mile and a half – and I thought I was going to die. I’m lighter and fitter (cycling fit, at least) than I was then but somehow I do appear to be over 20 years older. I demand a recount.

We went down Bournemouth on Thursday and were joined by friends for a really excellent long weekend. On Saturday we took a trip to Brownsea Island (an island in Poole Harbour which is a nature reserve owned by the National Trust). We walked for over 3 miles but didn’t see any of the red squirrels for which it’s famous (there are very few places in the UK where they haven’t been driven out by grey ones).

On Sunday 4 of us cycled to Burley in the New Forest (sadly, David, who rode L’Eroica and the Cinglé du Mont-Ventoux with me in 2015 is still using a crutch after his broken hip from a fall on a descent in the Pyrenees last month). It was a very gentle 20 miles round trip (I took my mountain bike) with a circular walk around the village for 4.5 miles when we got there.

So, two runs, two long walks and a cycle – back to a bit of exercise, and not a cleat in sight.

As I write, the Transcontinental Race is into its 23rd day. I think there have been 155 finishers, 97 retirements and two riders are still on the road battling illness, mechanical problems, terrible roads and ridiculous extremes of weather.

All credit and the very best of luck to Lionel Bobb (over 500km – 310 miles – to the finish) and Neil Matthews (possibly closer to 2000km to the finish!). Truly epic performances.

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