Recently, Monday exercise has been just an evening ‘swim doctor’ session. This week my wife, back from an injury, decided on a morning run so I went with her in a cold and very strong wind.
We set out to do hill reps thinking it would be more sheltered from the wind that was gusting to 50mph (80kph) – but we cut them short (I’d done 6) after a sizeable branch fell from the trees overhead. I did a loop to add some mileage and recorded 9.3km (5.8 miles) with 215m of ascent (705 feet).
All the others at the evening swim session were beginners so they were doing drills width-wise. That stopped me swimming lengths so I joined in with their drills. At the end of the session, lengths became possible and, to my surprise, I was swimming them in a much improved (but still relatively poor) 24 strokes compared to my previous (completely pathetic) rate of nearer 30 strokes. Some progress, at last.
After a bit of research, I had found a spray that looked likely to help with my sinus’ sensitivity to the pool’s chlorine. I tried a dose before I went and one when I got back – no sneezing fits during the night and relatively clear sinuses which is encouraging.
My running partner still hors de combat thanks to his dodgy ankle – sadly, a bit dodgier than it initially appeared – and will be off running for a little while yet. He runs and cycles well (ankles permitting) but, like me, finds the swimming harder. Replacing running with swimming for a couple of weeks won’t exactly be fun but might pay off for him in triathlon terms?
The 20-week ultra marathon training programme started on Monday but I’m ignoring that for now as I’ll be doing more mileage anyway in the early weeks. I didn’t fancy going up to run on the Ridgeway in the current bitingly cold winds so, in my friend’s absence, I’ve decided to see if I can do 40+km each week, with one longer run. The first week that the training plan gets beyond 40km is week 11.
I took Tuesday off exercise but ran with my wife on Wednesday – just over 7km (4.4 miles). I swapped days at the gym and went with my training partner on Thursday for what turned out to be a good session. With more running, I’m cutting back a bit on the leg exercises and doing more on the core and upper body to help my swimming. Struggling with technique? Go for brute force.
The rest of the day was for doing chores and being gravely sad about the Russian invasion of Ukraine – I didn’t think I’d live to see any such military action in Europe. There were reports of more than 1700 arrests at anti-war protests across Russia on Thursday – brave people. Everything seems horribly trivial in comparison to what’s going on there.
On Friday, I resisted another visit to the gym but after my stint at the charity bike shop the weather was so much better than the recent muck we’ve been having that I decided to go for the week’s long slow run. With no hat, gloves, buff or jacket, but with a plan for about 18km, I pushed on to complete the half marathon – 21.3km (13.2 miles), very slowly.
Having doubled up on Monday, I took a second rest day on Saturday but on Sunday I made up for the two missed hill reps from Monday (by running three of them) and finished off with six laps around the old hill fort – 10.9km (6.8 miles). It was sunny but chilly – hat, buff, gloves and jacket all made a return.
A decent week for the exercise with some swimming progress and 48.5km (just over 30 miles) of running – but still the saddest week I can remember for a long time.
On Monday a second pair of Puma Speed 500 Ignites (how do they come up with the names?) went through 800km and have been retired from active service. The soles confirm that I still under-pronate and run heavier on my left foot than my right. Pair 3 are at 230km and pair 4 are waiting in their box.
One pair of Puma ‘Netfits’ are well used with a second new pair also in a box. My trail shoes and two pairs of Asics have about 300km between them and my minimalist shoes have 50km and are waiting for better weather.
Even with over 1000km of ultra training to be run by July, it feels like I have plenty enough – but what if any of them split, or rip, or start to hurt, or leave home to join the circus …. and does anyone really have enough in the way of running shoes?
Two new pairs of Puma Velocity Nitro running shoes have arrived!
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: A fish that keeps its mouth closed never gets hooked
2. BBC News website: Disney appoints executive to lead metaverse strategy
Technology giants, including Facebook owner Meta and Microsoft, are pouring billions of dollars into the metaverse which Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said is “the next great storytelling frontier”.
He describes the metaverse as a “perfect place to pursue our strategic pillars of storytelling excellence, innovation, and audience focus” giving “an opportunity to connect those universes and create an entirely new paradigm for how audiences experience and engage with our stories.
I thought we had enough problems with the current universe (or perhaps that’s why we have to invent another?). I don’t intend to apply for a passport to any metaverse
3. BBC News website: in Man lives, unnoticed, in forest for 30 years
The 79 year old grew up in a village which was knocked down in the 1980s to make way for new high-rise buildings in Singapore, one of the world’s most highly urbanised countries. Unable to secure new government accommodation and not wanting to impose on his family he went to a forest close to his old home and started to spend nights in a makeshift shelter before making the move permenant.
He grew his own food and sold flowers and vegetables in the markets. He even managed weekly trip to an Indonesian island where, in his 60s, he had a child with a local woman.
The now shares a small one bedroom flat with another man and works as a driver, and sometimes a gardener. He says he prefers living in a flat but misses the freedom of life in the forest. “I return to the forest every single day. I wake up at 3 AM, get dressed and head out to check on my vegetables, all before my workday begins.”
Good for him. I’ll bet he’s excited at the prospect of the metaverse.
4. BBC News website: Man dies after allegedly having leg sawn off
A man has been charged with murder after allegedly sawing another man’s leg off in north-eastern Australia. Police believe the man and the suspect had some sort of arrangement in which the younger man would amputate the older man’s leg.
Police said the men drove to the park together before the 36-year-old allegedly cut the other’s leg off under the knee with a circular saw. The suspect assisted the injured man back to the car before leaving on foot. A passer-by found the injured man and called the emergency services, but the 66-year-old died shortly afterwards.
5. BBC News website: New Zealand defender Meikayla Moore hits hat-trick
In fact, in the match against the USA, she scored the ‘perfect’ hat-trick – one goal with with her left foot, one with her right foot and one with a header. Sadly, they were all in her own net.