Another week, another run – Monday morning’s with my son and was almost 7km (4.3m). Not pushing too hard but just enjoying running for the sake of running.
We had friends over for lunch – the first time we’ve had people in the house since the start of the lockdown in March. It felt odd having people around the dining table but not sharing serving spoons and giving ‘air kisses’ at a 2 metre distance, but it’s good to restore some sense of heading (albeit slowly) towards a bit of normality.
On Tuesday it was back to the pointing of the new walls we have been building. I am still incapable of not using my hands in addition to the trowel but at least I am now taping up various fingers before I start so I have reduced the cement-induced pain considerably.
On the plus side, nothing has yet fallen down but, equally, I don’t think there is any danger of anyone asking for the name of the person who did the walls because they are so impressed by the high standard of workmanship.
I ran with my wife on Wednesday – 6.4km (4 miles). I ran in my minimalist shoes and they were great – to a point. We ran along Puddleduck Lane which was fine, but the residential village road turns into a farm track of compacted stone – with loose stone on top (more loose stone on top than I’d realised).
When I first got the shoes I’d wondered how it would feel when landing on a stone on such a thin and unpadded sole and now I know – it really hurts. The soles of my feet feel like they have been beaten, repeatedly, with a lump hammer. The ‘trail’ shoes are great for roads and trails that are grassy paths or bare trodden earth – but they are no good at all for stoney trails.
Thursday was spent hobbling around the garden with bruises to the soles of my feet, preparing for the removal of a large tree stump. It’s a fir tree that came down in high winds a few years ago – it remained anchored in the ground and ended up suspended over the conservatory, supported by the branches that were against the ground. It was big enough that when it came down the roots broke up the concrete base of a path.
Now, with four sections of wall reasonably well advanced, a chap in the village will bring a JCB next week to pull the stump out so we can start on section 5, an ‘L’ shaped wall by a rear garden gate. We’ve exposed some hefty roots that I’ve cut with the chainsaw and have been sorting out the best stone to use (the pressure is on as this is the bit of wall most open to view).
My feet were still sore on Friday as a result of the stones on Wednesday’s run. If there is a ray of good news I suppose it is that it’s the balls of the feet that are most bruised so I guess I’m not heel striking to any great extent.
I took a (socially distanced) training session at the cycle park later in the morning and then back to excavating around the tree stump looking to unearth and cut roots that might cause damage when the stump is removed next week.
I ventured a run with my son on Saturday morning with ‘normal’ running shoes with good padding to protect my damaged, but improving, feet – nearly 8km (just under 5 miles).
We went out for lunch to a village pub a few miles away – I suppose we do feel that we should be helping local businesses back on their feet but it is a nice place with very good food so it was hardly a great sacrifice on our part. My wife and I visited some friends in the village in the evening for drinks which was great – we are bordering on having a social life again.
The three of us ran on Sunday morning, another 7km (4.35miles). Although the soles of my feet are still a bit tender if I walk around barefoot, they are OK running in normal running shoes.
Over the last couple of months we’ve taken over 30 seconds off my wife’s average km time so the personal trainer in me feels pretty happy. My own running isn’t really going anywhere – a bit under 18 miles for the week is just ticking over in the absence of any events. Nothing I do now will be of much help for the ultra marathon that’s been postponed to next July so I’ll carry on running with my wife and son for the simple pleasure of running.
Heading out for a socially-distanced garden supper with friends on Sunday evening will finish a very reasonable week.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African proverb: No matter how low a cotton tree falls, it is still taller than grass.
2. BBC website: Bolivian sex workers using raincoats to keep ‘safe’
Many sex workers in Bolivia say they’ll return to work using gloves, bleach and see-through raincoats.
My guess is that flights to Bolivia are not fully booked
3. BBC website: Repentant Nigerian bandits offered cows for AK-47s
2 cows per AK-47 is the going rate in this imaginative initiative which attempts to encourage bandits to give up crime and return to a more normal life. I can’t help but think if the chap with the AK-47 really wanted 3 cows for it, he could be quite persuasive.
4. Andean condor birds ‘flap wings just 1% of the time’
Apparently, flight recorders found one bird flew for five hours, without flapping, covering about 172km (107 miles) just using air currents.