Gym, run (trail), run (hill-reps), gym, turbo (plus poles and punctuality)

A rather curious 4.30am sneezing fit on Monday morning confirmed that Sunday’s run hadn’t really helped to hasten the end of last week’s cold. The sore knee in the morning was equally unwelcome.

There had been no issue with it on the run, or during the rest of Sunday so it was a bit of a mystery. I spent some time raking about 10 million leaves from the lawn (I lost count just after 5 million but I was barely half way through so you’ll have to trust me on this) but otherwise put my feet up.

The knee had improved by Tuesday but was still not right. I was tempted to try the usual hill reps session but I had a more important run scheduled for Wednesday and it would have been foolish to have put that at risk. For once I followed the logic and went to the gym instead. I skipped the leg press, leg extension and leg curl machines and tried the upper body ones with a bit more weight. Cycling club AGM in the evening.

The run planned for Wednesday was with the friend I did the triathlon with this year (and with whom I’ll be doing next year’s triathlons and ultra marathon). It’s his birthday at the end of the week and, as he particularly loves his running, I’d suggested a birthday run instead of the more usual birthday ride.

We drove up above the village of Bishopstone and onto the Ridgeway, the scene of the ultra marathon I did this year and the one we will both do in 2022. We had a glorious run on a lovely morning – chilly enough for me to be wearing my warmer pair of running trousers and warm enough for my friend to be in shorts. Me, cold weather wimp? … guilty as charged. Still sneezing.

The Ridgeway has a very good surface along this section and we ran to the Uffington White Horse and back – 12.38km (7.7 miles) @6:04/km. It’s sobering to think that this pace is a much faster than we will be aiming for on the ultra itself – but even at this pace we’d have over 10 hours of solid running.

We’d parked by ‘The Flying Pig’ which is the mobile food trailer owned by a well-known local farmer who was an early adopter of organic methods – but in spite of what it said on their Facebook page it had not opened by the time we got back to the car. We drove down to the village to the pub owned by the farmer. They were apologetic about the error on the Facebook page and made us excellent bacon rolls, even though they hadn’t yet opened for food. A good example of how, once things go wrong, it’s the way you address the problem that makes all the difference.

My knee was good throughout the run, ached a little after, but was OK by Thursday morning. After the previous day’s trail run, I was probably unwise to do the week’s hill-reps but managed another 10 reps – just over 10km (6.2 miles) and 335m of ascent (1,100 feet). Still sneezing.

Autopilot took me to the gym and then the bike shop on Friday morning. I adopted the ‘legs lite’ version of the gym and am making some progress with the upper body exercises although it’s hard when the smallest weight increment on offer adds another 20% to what I’ve been lifting on my ‘worst’ machine.

The plan had been to run on Saturday morning before heading up to London for a friend’s birthday lunch, but I was tired. A good thing about being so far away from the next challenge is that taking an extra day’s rest is no big deal so I ditched the run.

With a second run planned to recce the Ridgeway on Monday, I decided not to risk my knee by running on a chilly Sunday morning. I took to the turbo in the afternoon while watching the first half of English women’s rugby team playing well against the USA (29-0 at half time – final score 89-0 … sorry USA). I managed 45minutes @ 31.6kph (19.6mph) – much faster than recent efforts – strange how much easier it is with a pumped-up rear tyre … doh.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: No shortcuts exist to the top of a palm tree

2. BBC News website: The importance of timekeeping on Japanese railways

A Japanese train driver was docked 85 yen (£0.55 – 75 US cents) for causing a one-minute delay to operations after he had gone to the wrong platform at Okayama station.

The rail company agreed to reduce the fine after the driver pointed out that there was no disruption to timetables or passengers, as the train was empty. The employee refused to accept the reduced fine and is suing for 56 yen in unpaid wages and 2.2 million yen (£14,347) in damages for mental anguish.

3. BBC News website: Santa is dead, long live Santa

The English town of Bury St Edmunds has launched its Christmas event under the title the “Bury Santa Experience”.

The town’s mayor said that, given the attention it had attracted, he was not sure whether it was a “faux pas or marketing genius”.

‘Visit Santa’s Grotto – bring your own shovel’

4. BBC News website: Library book returned 73 years late

The book Stately Timber by Rupert Hughes, an adventure story set in Boston, was returned to Dunfermline Library last week – it should have been returned by 6 November 1948.

Staff worked out that £2,847 could have been due in late fees but there has been an amnesty on fees throughout the pandemic to encourage members to return books.

Must have been a slow reader.

Quite impressive but the world record for the most overdue library book is held by one returned to Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge University. It was borrowed in 1668 and returned 288 years later.

5. BBC News website: Totem pole completes 5,500 mile voyage

A specially-commissioned totem pole has completed a 5,500 mile voyage from Mexico to southern Scotland. It has travelled throughout Britain – including a visit to Glasgow during COP26 – to highlight the climate change concerns of indigenous peoples.

“Everywhere it has been, Totem Latamat has been welcomed with songs and ceremonies, movingly showing the spirit of global solidarity between our own communities and the indigenous people who stand on the front line of climate change” said a representative of the Festival that commissioned it.

Now that it has delivered its message, it will be “returned to the Earth” – and allowed to naturally decompose – in Dumfries and Galloway where “Because it is made of natural materials, its decay will enrich the planet”.

I feel enriched already

4 thoughts on “Gym, run (trail), run (hill-reps), gym, turbo (plus poles and punctuality)

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