Swim, swim, run, gym, turbo, birthday and eager anticipation

Hampton Court (either they built it on a slant or I’m a poor photographer)

For some time I’ve posted on Sundays prattling on about life, challenges and the week’s running, swimming, cycling and gym. Here is a deviation from that due to tomorrow’s ultra marathon.

I’m not sure if the change is because I may be incapable of posting tomorrow, or because there should be something to say about the ultra. Perhaps its just because it’s my 66th birthday today (10th July) and if I want to post on my birthday, I can.

Winding back to the start of the week, I swam on Monday evening. I’m still struggling with swimming for very good reasons – I don’t love it, I’m not good at it, I’m not improving very quickly, who wants to leave home at 20.40 to go and swim and it really aggravates my sinuses.

However, having said all that, I swam 1.65km – further than before – in 48 minutes and there were fleeting moments when it almost felt good (but still slow). On the other hand, I sneezed continuously from 5 to 8am on Tuesday morning. Sufficiently bad that I took an antihistamine – the first medicine of any sort that has passed my lips this year.

Tuesday saw another marvellous stage win in Le Tour for Mark Cavendish – can he get the record and/or the Green Jersey?

Back to the pool on Tuesday evening. It wasn’t that I particularly wanted to swim, but I’m trying to go twice a week and I thought that if the swim was going to cause any more sinus issues, it would be better to get them out of the way early. As it was, no sinus problems. My first time swimming on successive days and it was OK – another 1km. I’m no faster but there are moments when I think it is getting a little easier.

I ran with my wife on Wednesday morning, just the 5.5km as it’s too late to try to make up for lost training. I wore the kit I plan to use for the ultra on Sunday and took the equipment I intend to carry with me. As is traditional for any run close to an event, it felt really hard and everything hurt.

In the afternoon I watched Le Tour tackle Ventoux. I love that mountain – completing the ‘Cinglés du Mont Ventoux’ (climbing it three times) is one of the two best days I’ve ever had on a bike (my ‘Everest’ being the other). More good sport on the TV in the evening as England made it to the final of the Euro Football Championships.

I did a gentle session in the gym on Thursday morning before we drove to London to the Hampton Court Garden Festival (previously the Flower Show) – which was an enjoyable trip out but not so good for the ‘stay off your feet’ advice before long runs. I managed to blister my small toe, right foot and that’s really not good.

After Hampton Court it was supper with our older son and then up to the flat for the night. Back home on Friday in time for my bike shop session and a chance to watch glorious history being made as Mark Cavendish equalled Eddie Merckx’s record of 34 Tour de France stages. Magnificent.

An easy 30 minute spin on the turbo in the evening for 15.2km, dedicated to Cavendish and Merckx (but not at their speeds) just to keep the legs moving. I managed to fit in the start of an ear infection on Friday night too – how is it that I’m not ill for months and then fray at the edges at exactly the wrong time?

Which brings me back to today, my 66th birthday. A very quiet one – I managed to convince our younger son to go on the stag weekend he’d been invited to and that made it easier to dissuade our older son from coming back here. Lunch out at a local restaurant was lovely, modest on the alcohol, and early to bed.

As for the ultra tomorrow, who knows? After damaging a knee ligament 4 weeks into the training, I had a 4 week lay-off and never felt confident enough in it to resume a proper training programme. That leaves me badly undercooked but I have a very stubborn streak and no great ambitions as to the time it might take me. I live in hope.

Fantasy Football league: Still holding on to second place, with younger son now up into third. Just the final to go and it looks really tight – do I go all out for England, for Italy or do I hedge my bets? The problem is that team news is revealed only an hour before kick off and by then I may be in a befuddled state, incapable of making sensible decisions.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand

2. BBC News Website: Covid lockdown sees man break M&M record

The world record for the tallest stack of M&M’s has been broken by a British man who managed to balance five of the chocolate sweets on top of each other. The previous record of four was jointly held by men from Italy and Australia.

You could lose yourself in such a challenge although I guess my time would be better spent cleanin’ out my closet

3. BBC News Website: Parents of children called Alexa challenge Amazon

Parents of children called Alexa say their daughters are being bullied because of its use for Amazon’s virtual assistant. Some have even changed their child’s name because they say the barrage of Alexa jokes is “relentless”.

Amazon says it is “saddened” by these accounts, and that alternative wake words are available.

Alexa, print me off a deed poll

4. BBC News Website: Nude sunbathers fined for breaching Covid rules

The men were sunbathing on a beach south of Sydney and ran into bushland after they got spooked by a deer. They were found after they called for assistance but were fined for breaching a public health order banning those in greater Sydney from travelling outside the area.

“It’s difficult to legislate against idiots,” the NSW Police Commissioner said at a press conference on Monday when speaking about the incident.

Australian police telling it like it is

5. BBC News website: Euro 2020: £36,000 raised for crying fan to go to charity

A Englishman who raised £36,000 for a young German football fan who was filmed crying as England knocked Germany out of Euro 2020, says the money will go to charity.

The girl’s family said they wanted the money to be donated to Unicef, saying “In the interests of our daughter and our family we would like to remain private, however we wish to thank everyone for your amazing support. Our daughter would like to request your generous donations go to Unicef, knowing that your kindness will do good.”


8 thoughts on “Swim, swim, run, gym, turbo, birthday and eager anticipation

  1. olderrunner2

    First off: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Sounds like a nice relaxing quiet day is what you needed. Except, I’m sorry to hear that you got a blister. Hope it doesn’t bother you too much tomorrow. Glad that swimming is getting easier for you. Good luck on your ultra. Look forward to hearing how it goes.

    BTW, I wonder if your picture looking crooked is an optical allusion because the trees are different heights.

    I can see how you could go down the rabbit hole of stacking M&Ms, but, like you, my time would be better spent doing other things around the house, including cleaning out the closets.

    Being Alexa is sort of like being a Karen, I suppose. Maybe those parents who gave their kids odd, unique names knew what they were doing.

    Love the Australian police saying what I’m sure everyone would like to say. LOL

    Good luck with your fantasy football.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. unironedman

    Happy Birthday, young man, and best wishes for today. I am confident your stubborn streak will carry you victorious across the line. But we expect – nay demand! – a full report shortly.

    Have to say, that M&M record is very disappointing. I’ve never tried it, so I suppose it’s tricky, but it sounds deeply underwhelming. Stick with the swimming would be my advice.

    Also, naked men? Yeah right. I don’t buy that account at all, at all! There were shenanigans, no doubt!

    As for the German girl; I found that to be one of the singularly most depressing stories to emerge out of the whole Euros thing. No doubt you are aware of my divided loyalties, but nobody with an ounce of decency could have found those reactions to be anything other than crass, and it all feeds into the general dislike most non-English folk have of your typical English football fan; i.e. they are thugs and yobs. And so it goes on.

    Anyway, enjoy the match tonight, if ye can. I’ll be rooting for my Motherland, of course, and will celebrate the win, if it happens. It will make for fun times here in Ireland, I have to say, and I will quietly enjoy seeing some of the worst variants of ‘anyone but England’ suffer greatly. And if Italy win, then I can enjoy that too, with my brother and his family who live near Milan.

    One thing that should definitely be agreed on before a ball is kicked though: the winner gets to decide if you can have pineapple on pizza…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Omil Post author

      PS – I thought the good sense and graciousness of the German family redeemed the story. Rather like ‘your’ GBS’s Major Barbara, the good purpose to which the money is put can outweigh its origins.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. theleadlesspencil

    Good job I read this post after your ultra – else that blister would have had me worried! Sadly England lost the plot on the penalties after managing to stem the Italian surge in the second half, so now I can sleep knowing the results of that, and your ultra!

    Liked by 1 person


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