In much the same way that the four of us running together was one of my highlights of Father’s Day last Sunday, not running was one of my wife’s highlights for her birthday on the Monday.
Accordingly, after a really enjoyable weekend of eating and drinking, it was back to the reality of the gym for an hour on Tuesday morning.
We drove up to London in the early evening for an orgy of culture at the Royal Academy on Wednesday in the form of two exhibitions. The first was of the work of David Hockney, and the second of the work of Tracey Emin and Edvard Munch (strange bedfellows those last two but apparently he is one of her great inspirations).
I like Hockney a lot – we went to see a previous exhibition of work he had done in Yorkshire – this was a series showing the passage of Spring 2020, in Normandy. I’m fascinated that he produces so much of his recent work on an i-pad.
I also liked the paintings of Edvard Munch – Tracey Emin’s work was somewhat brutal. I’d go to see exhibitions by Hockney and Munch any time – I’m pleased that I saw Tracey Emin’s work which was interesting and challenging … but not exactly to my taste.
Back home Wednesday early evening by which time I was beyond wanting to go to the pool so it was out for a 7km (4.3 mile) run on Thursday morning and to the pool for a 1km swim in the evening.
Our son and I went to the gym on Friday morning before our usual stint at the bike shop and then some very good friends came over for supper.
I’ve never trained properly for the three marathons I’ve done – but I’ve trained even less for the ultra. With at least a nod to it, I tried a longer run on Saturday. I was still full of Friday’s supper and it was about 20℃ (about 68℉). I ran a slow but extremely hard 31.2km (19.4 miles). Fortunately we were out for supper Saturday evening or I would have been asleep on a sofa by 7pm.
I think I could have run on Sunday, if it had been necessary – but luckily it wasn’t necessary and I didn’t want to, so I didn’t.
Ultra marathon update
By way of recap, I chose badly when I started a 16 week training plan in March. Almost immediately I was up towards 40 miles a week until the inevitable happened and I injured myself just four weeks into it.
After another four weeks of not running at all, I restarted but have not tried to resume ‘proper’ training. I’ve just kept running for the love of it and only once have I got up to the half marathon distance, although I had got beyond that distance twice prior to the injury.
With just two weeks to go I should be starting the taper, but I’m running so little that a taper seems rather unnecessary – it will feel more like a ‘come to a complete halt’ than a taper.
I’m going to have to rely on whatever core fitness I can muster, the benefits of the gym and the swimming and (mostly) sheer bloody-mindedness.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: There are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree
2. Euro Football Championships: Travelling 1500 miles to watch your team on TV
A group of French supporters watched on TV as their team took on Hungary 518 miles away – having bought tickets but then travelling to Bucharest (Romania) after confusing it with Budapest (Hungary).
3. BBC News website: Sir Ringo Starr drops case against sex toy manufacturer
The Beatles drummer challenged the attempt to register the ‘Ring O’ trademark for a sex toy in the US, saying it was too similar to his name and might cause confusion.
Sir Ringo, 80, had argued that his reputation would be damaged if the Ring O name was registered as a trademark with US authorities. He has now withdrawn his complaint after reaching an agreement with the manufacturers.
4. BBC News website: Devils devastate seabird population
A small number of Tasmanian devils (a carnivorous marsupial) were shipped to Maria Island east of Tasmania, in 2012 in a move aimed to protect the mammals from a deadly facial cancer that had driven them towards extinction.
The devils have recovered but the project has had “a catastrophic impact on one or more bird species”, according to conservation organisation BirdLife Tasmania. Citing a government survey, BirdLife Tasmania said a population of little penguins that numbered 3,000 breeding pairs in 2012 had disappeared from the island. A paper published last year said the devils had “eliminated” a colony of shearwater.
Beware the law of unintended consequences (but they are called devils)
5. BBC News website: Casino operator opens a new resort in Las Vegas
Resorts World Las Vegas is the most expensive resort ever developed in Las Vegas. Covering almost 88 acres, the new resort has 3,500 hotel rooms and suites, a 5,000-seat theatre and one of the world’s biggest LED screens on one of its towers.
Las Vegas saw visitor numbers slump by more than 50% last year as casinos were forced to close their doors due to coronavirus restrictions. Tourists are now returning but numbers remain well below 2019 levels.
The resort is said to have cost $4.3bn (£3bn) – now that’s placing a real bet