No Madrid, no sport – but an unexpected run (all put into a proper context by the pandemic)

If there was one (very small) bonus from our failure to fly to Madrid on Friday (the 13th, appropriately) it was that I had an extra weekend to do some exercise – if that was indeed a bonus.

The take-away fish and chips on Friday night was good, and all the better for being washed down by a bottle of champagne, but I’d have preferred to be in Madrid eating tapas.

I was in two minds about whether it would have been better to have been on a flight an hour earlier on Friday, so we would be in Madrid now. However, it is now very clear that being here at home is much better, given the huge jump in Spanish cases of infection – especially in Madrid – and the closure of most attractions, restaurants and shops in the city and the significant restrictions on the movement of individuals within the country. Getting back might also have been an issue.

Saturday afternoon, having run down food stocks ahead of the planned trip, I went to the supermarket. I felt a little left out as I wasn’t panic buying – are people concerned that they will be house-bound or concerned that deliveries to supermarkets will be affected?

After that, feeling rather bereft of sport with just about nothing significant to follow almost anywhere in the world, I did the only sensible thing and went for a run.

I was half expecting to see television cameras broadcasting my run as a highlight of the BBC’s sports coverage for the day, but none appeared. Shame – I think I was probably in the top 20 sporting events taking place in the UK on Saturday (nearly).

I did the 16.8km (10.5mile) route I did 11 days ago – but this time with regular faster bursts between telegraph poles, road signs, trees, etc. True, an observer might not have known when I was on a faster burst, but I knew.

It seems to have worked – I ran 20 seconds per km faster than last week. Reasonably consistent too – every km between 5:50 and 6:19.

That suggests to me that my ‘recovery’ speed between bursts can’t have been much different from my normal run pace. In turn, that might indicate that when I think I’m running at a good solid, constant pace, I’m really not working as hard as I think I am.

Of course, all the training for the ultra in July might be in vain if it gets cancelled. Our younger son is running a half marathon Sunday (but it’s now much more surprising to find an event still going ahead than one that has been cancelled or postponed). I’m expecting ever-increasing measures to restrict anything that would result in a significant group of people getting together.

I had intended to run on Sunday but I could feel the previous day’s run in my legs so I stayed in on a cold and windy day and did various exercises, including the plank routine, press-ups, sit-ups, lunges and some work with my weights.

In the evening some excellent friends took pity on us for missing out on Madrid and invited us over for supper. How kind of them.

Not an ordinary week by any measure. Two turbo sessions, one in the gym, one ride outside and one run. All put into context by the world situation with the coronavirus.

Stay safe out there.

Well done British Airways

A word of praise for British Airways. Although the passengers (two other couples were in exactly the same situation as us) at the gate got the change in Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice on travel before the gate staff, they reacted quickly and got our bag off the plane.

(Odd how I was travelling with one 7kg bag to go on the plane with me and my wife had a 16.5kg hold suitcase … and my bag included a full set of running kit in case I could get out into the Retiro park on Sunday morning).

By the time we had got back to the departure lounge we’d had a text message from BA offering us cancellation of the trip and a full refund. They got us back through airport security and reunited us with our case. While our failure to fly wasn’t our fault, it wasn’t theirs either – so well done BA. Much easier than an insurance claim.

Virus in the area

As of Saturday there were 22 virus cases in Oxfordshire (population about 690,000) and 2 in Swindon (our nearest sizeable town – over 220,000 people).

24 cases too many, of course.

1 thought on “No Madrid, no sport – but an unexpected run (all put into a proper context by the pandemic)

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