As if someone flicked a switch, we went from freezing all last week to about 10℃ (50℉) on Monday. I made the most of it and ran 10.3km (6.4m). Sadly, a second switch is about to turn on the rain.
The next tranche of vaccinations in England (including us over 65s) was announced to be getting underway this week. On Monday I got my invite letter and by midday I had booked appointments for both jabs. Considering I have no (known) health issues and take no medicines, I’m sure there are more deserving cases – but I’m in the process and grateful for that.
The rain showers arrived over night on Monday – they weren’t as bad as forecast on Tuesday but I opted for an hour on the turbo – 28.5km (17.7m) – with a horrible example of how mind games can go wrong. I was deliberately not looking at the clock to avoid ‘death by watching time crawl by slowly’ but looked when I was sure I had done about 55 minutes. It was really deflating to see that I had done only 44. I’m surprised I managed not to bail out at the 45 minute mark.
I’m very impressed by people who have mastered new skills or learnt new languages during the various lockdowns. My own (rather pathetic) achievement is learning to sharpen my chainsaw chains. Much of Tuesday was spent cutting wood and taking some dead branches out of an apple tree. I’m not exactly setting the artistic or literary worlds alight.
Wednesday’s weather was also mild, breezy and wet. We decided to run (7km, 4.3m) between the forecast showers – but still got soaked. Much the same on Thursday but with a colder breeze and we did find a gap between showers for 5.5km (3.4m).
Friday was rather grey and dank so I took a rest day. It was really just laziness but I’ve decided to say I was mentally and physically preparing myself for an early evening trip to the football stadium in Oxford to get my first Covid jab. For die hard Swindon Town followers (we follow them but I refuse to support anyone to the degree that I have to hate anyone else) Oxford United are the great enemy.
Chanting is a ritual at British football matches – both to support your own team and to deride the opposition and their supporters. The Oxford stadium, quaintly, has stands on only three sides. At one match, taunting the (very quiet) away supporters, the Oxford fans chanted “Shall we sing you a song” to which the response came “Shall we build you a stand”.
It was a very slick vaccination process – in and out in under 15 minutes. Just a coincidence, surely, that I went to Oxford and got the Oxford Astra Zenica vaccine?
Happily, no side effects so on Saturday morning, other than a sore arm where I got the jab, so we all ran – fairly gently, just in case – for the usual 7km. It was surprisingly hard and I did feel very tired – I wonder if that was anything to do with the previous night’s vaccination. What is clear is that (sadly) there were no performance-enhancing additives in the Covid jab.
There would be no 6 Nations Rugby to watch while on the turbo on Sunday, so I went for a short run with my wife and son, before he and I added another loop for a total of 11.7km (7.25miles). The weather is improving and I ran in a short sleeve compression top and a long sleeved top that (it just occurred to me) I bought in 1997 for training for my first marathon – it doesn’t owe me a lot.
The running has been totally unstructured at present – no proper training schedule, no tempo runs, long slow runs, hill work, fartlek etc. – but at least my knee and Achilles are happier with the reduced mileage after January’s 200km.
I believe that the ultra will be OK (in the absence of injury or illness) but I am not sure if my ageing body will take the mileage of the proper training programme. As I am not too worried about how long the ultra takes, I may need to prioritise the longer training runs and replace some of the others with cycling.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: No matter how beautiful and well crafted a coffin might look, it will not make anyone wish for death
2. BBC News website: Dog left $5 million (£3.6 million) by deceased owner
Bill Dorris left Lulu the border collie in the care of his friend, Martha Burton. The will states that Burton is to be reimbursed for Lulu’s reasonable monthly expenses.
I am very happy to adopt Lulu (or indeed, be adopted by her)
3. BBC News website: Mercedes-Benz car recall
The problem is with the cars’ eCall feature, which alerts emergency services of an accident and relays a vehicle’s location to them. A fault means it is possible that the wrong location could be sent.
Luckily, Mercedes have their eCall system to locate the cars. Of a recall affecting over 1 million cars, only 50 have been found (sorry, Mercedes, I made that up)
4. BBC News website: Man fined £150 for fly-tipping leaves in a wood
He swept the leaves from the pavement in front of his house and drove 3 bags of them to nearby countryside and scattered them to degrade in a wooded area.
Not exactly dumping an old fridge by the roadside – they weren’t even his leaves!
5. BBC News website: Dutch crisis as court orders end to Covid curfew
The court said the 21:00 to 04:30 curfew breaches citizens’ rights to free movement and was imposed by an emergency law when there was no “acute emergency”.
Catch 22: When the cabinet decided on the curfew they sought the backing of MPs, but by waiting for parliamentary support, in the judges eyes, they had disproved the need for emergency legislation.
Depending on your personal stance, either this the court showing proper regard for the law, free from political pressure, or an example of the judges’ pig headed detachment from the real world