Run, run (hill reps), gym and a Happy New Year to everyone

A sign off to 2021 at the gym – and not a piece of tinsel in sight

I’m not clear if the Chinese ‘may you live in interesting times’ is a blessing or a curse. 2021 qualified as ‘interesting’ – but may your 2022 be less interesting in some respects and much better in all respects.

I ran on Monday – 7.1km (4.4miles) – enjoyable but gentle and wet. I had a sore calf muscle – while exercising it in the gym on Friday someone started speaking to me about cycling and I lost count of the left leg calf raises but just kept doing them. As I get older, the dividing line between good exercise and overdoing it is getting ever more thin.

Christmas itself was great, the boys were back with us and we used most of the house – with just the two of us here normally we shrink our occupation of it but with champagne and stocking opening (at 9.30am) in the drawing room (pretentious, moi?), presents in the breakfast room, lunch in the dining room and a film in the snug, it felt like we got the best out of it.

We walked on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and probably clocked up something like 16km (10 miles) but on Wednesday the boys went back to their homes before the older son and his girlfriend decided (not unreasonably) that the house in Bournemouth would be a good place to see in the New Year. Here the house feels rather emptier but it was a great week we had with them.

We should be thinking about packing for skiing now but that is not going to happen with terrible Covid rates both here and in France – and we Brits are effectively banned from France anyway. The only thing that softens the loss of the holiday is the realisation that we are not missing out on skiing at its best – it would be a compromised holiday because of the restrictions we’d be operating under.

It was always going to be a light week for exercise so I ran hill reps on Thursday on the basis that they probably represent the biggest bang for the buck in exercise benefit (?) – 8 reps of the usual hill for 8.5km with 286m of ascent (5.3 miles and 938 feet).

Friday morning was the gym (the bike shop is still closed for the holidays). I calculate that before I increased the weights and reduced the reps, I was lifting nearly 19,000 kg in a session at the gym – about 18.5 imperial tons and nearer to 21 US tons. I have no idea if that’s good, bad, indifferent or just irrelevant.

Much of Thursday and Friday was taken up preparing for a dinner party for New Year’s Eve. I’m no big fan of New Year (to me it feels like the passage of just one more day rather than another year) but I do like a good dinner party and we had some excellent friends coming. We tested ourselves for Covid (thankfully, both negative) as did all our guests. We had a terrific evening – in a ventilated room – may that be a sign of good things to come in 2022.

2021 exercise round-up:

Runs: 130 Distance: 1,236km (768miles) – with nearly 14,000m of ascent it felt further

Rides: 68 Distance: 1,620km (1,006miles) – pretty poor, most on the turbo trainer

Swims: 30 Distance: 29km (18miles) – a mixture of open water and pool

Gym: 37 times – it was shut for some months

I didn’t set any targets for exercise in 2021 but that’s well over 240 hours in the year, my first ultra marathon completed and a triathlon done with a swim in the (previously) scary open water.

For next year it’s a 100km ultra, some sportives and two triathlons, one of which is over the Olympic distance. Exciting and daunting in equal measure. Dare I think about a return of the annual cycling holiday in the alps?

Interesting things this week

1. African wise words: Even the lion protects himself against flies

2. BBC News website: “Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea”*

Sri Lanka plans to send $5m (£3.8m) worth of tea to Iran each month to clear the $251m debt for past oil imports. Sri Lanka is experiencing a severe debt and foreign exchange crisis, which has been made worse by the loss of tourist income during the coronavirus pandemic.

*Lyrics, The Beverley Hillbillies theme tune (1962-71)

3. BBC News website: Ecuador to make Covid vaccination mandatory

The health ministry said there were enough doses to “immunise the entire population”. The under 5s and those with a medical justification will be exempt.

The ministry said vaccines were a “shield of protection” against the virus, helping to prevent serious illness, hospitalisations and deaths and the decision was based in the country’s constitution, in which the right to health must be guaranteed by the state.

Did you know that Ecuador is the original home of the Panama hat?

4. BBC News website: Netlicks? ‘The TV screen you can taste’

A prototype “lickable” TV screen which can mimic food flavours has been developed by a Japanese professor. Ten canisters spray flavour onto a “hygienic film” which is rolled over the screen for the viewer to lick.

It is suggested that it could be used to train cooks or sommeliers remotely. If made commercially, the TV would cost an estimated $875 (£735).

5. BBC News website: Alexa challenge

Amazon has updated its Alexa voice assistant after it “challenged” a 10-year-old girl to touch a coin to the prongs of a half-inserted plug.

The dangerous activity, known as “the penny challenge”, began circulating on TikTok and other social media websites about a year ago.

‘Alexa, self-destruct in 10 seconds’

6. BBC News website: Woman self-isolates in plane toilet mid-flight

A US schoolteacher spent five hours in voluntary self-isolation in a plane’s toilet after testing positive for Covid-19 mid-flight.

Her throat started to hurt while travelling from Chicago to Reykjavik and she performed a rapid test with a kit she had brought with her. She remained in the toilet for the rest of the trip with a flight attendant providing her with food and drinks.

If you’ve not been, think about putting Iceland on the list of places to visit (conventional travel advised)

11 thoughts on “Run, run (hill reps), gym and a Happy New Year to everyone

  1. annecreates

    Is a “snug” like your family room? That’s the cutest thing to call it!

    Covid is wild in the US. My hospital has nearly double the Covid admissions as we had at the height of the original variants. And we can’t get tests anywhere. It’s creepy t21o be donning all the PPE to see our exposed patients. I thought we were done with this…

    I have a good friend who ran the marathon for Ecuador in the 2016 games in Rio!

    Happy new year! May 2022 be far, far better than 2021. I can’t believe we lost Betty White.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Omil Post author

    Yes, I think the essence of a ‘snug’ is small and cosy – a lot of pubs used to have a ‘snug’ which was a comfortable bar for just a few people. Sorry to see that the latest wave of Covid has hit you too – the blessing (if there is one) is that it seems to be much less severe (eat least for those who have been vaccinated and boosted). Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. theleadlesspencil

    Happy New Year! What a productive time it’s been! Hope you get your Alps trip. We have booked hotels in a few places in May with a plan to travel by train to each of them. (A mini grand tour!) We can still cancel our hotels free of charge but I’m hoping things will be better by May. And possibly quieter than they normally would be, so fingers crossed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Omil Post author

      Thank you. I hope your isolation period went well (or as well as can be expected) and that you are both fully recovered and raring to go. Looking on the bright side, vaccination plus infection seem to give good protection for some period. Booking hotels is a great idea – having something to look forward to is a real boon in times like these.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mark

    Happy new year! Sounds like you got a lot done, congrats on your first ultramarathon (I also achieved that in 2021!) which is not a small thing… Sounds like your 2022 plans of 100km and Olympic triathlon will keep you training hard and be awesome! I have managed only 2 races in this year (and one was 2.9km as a relay just coming back from injury) as everything else here in Thailand has been cancelled due to covid. Things had just opened up again but now all shutting down again – trying to find some goal races but it is hard to commit to something when it seems likely/highly probably they will be cancelled! The Ridgeway Ultra looks awesome – I grew up cycling the Ridgeway regularly so I think that may well become a bucket-list run for me once I am back in the UK. Looking forward to seeing how you get on with it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Omil Post author

      Thank you but the Ridgeway ultra looks like a walk in the park compared to yours in December – as you’ll know, the Ridgeway is surprisingly (and thankfully) flattish. Really intrigued by your ‘everesting’ (bravo). I did one on the bike back in 2017 – even before the running one was created, I think – but that seems pretty easy in comparison. I hope Thailand recovers soon and fully from the pandemic – I don’t know if the reporting of the stats corresponds closely to ours but I much prefer the Thai figures, given the similar size of populations. Stay safe.


      1. Mark

        I am not sure, 100km is a daunting distance! My main memories of the Ridgeway are muddy clay that made cycling impossible so in my mind at least it is a tough course!
        Everesting by foot was a great challenge – basically I was looking for something I wasn’t sure I could finish. I would like to do the cycling one to compare it sometime soon for sure. Where did you do Everesting?
        We don’t have many cases at all compared to the UK but we do have more restrictions – I am glad we are comparably safe here, but the lack of events is frustrating and the economic impact is devastating

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark

    Link doesn’t work unfortunately, but Everesting in the alps sounds amazing, love cycling there. Want to go back soon to ride and run. I have enough stones to enter the UTMB lottery this year, but will wait to enter that next year when travel is a bit simpler

    Liked by 1 person


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