Monday was Valentine’s Day. I went for broke in the cooking this year with lobster thermidor – a good choice as it just about made up for me going to the swim doctor session in the early evening.
The session was based on the breaststroke, which is of little interest to me as I really only want to swim front crawl for the purpose of triathlons. However, no matter how bad I was at the drills (and I was really bad), I enjoyed the session (I don’t know why). It’s all valuable learning – I now know that while the medial collateral ligament I hurt a couple of years ago is happy with running, cycling and crawl leg kick, it doesn’t like the sideways pressure of a breast stroke leg kick.
The lobster thermidor was a great success, despite the fact that I’d never tackled a lobster before (I bought whole lobsters and had to ‘dismantle’ them) and had little idea of what a thermidor sauce was before making one.
Last week, my usual reaction to the pool (the chlorine?) had been mild, this week, I started sneezing at 3am. Half an hour and three handkerchiefs later that stopped but I couldn’t breathe through my nose for the rest of the night – rather miserable. I’m not sure what to do about it – I could try a nose clip but I have tried one before and wasn’t keen. Perhaps there is a sinus spray I can try – I’ll research it.
The plan had been to do hill reps on Tuesday but I was tired and still unable to breathe freely – and it was cold and very wet. It didn’t take much to decide not to run but I did get out to pick up our younger son who came home for a ‘reading week’ during his PGCE (teacher training) course. He and I did a very enjoyable 10.4km (6.4 miles) in much milder – but still windy – conditions on Wednesday morning.
My running partner is, sensibly, protecting a less-than-100% ankle so our planned Ridgeway run for Thursday was postponed. With enthusiasm, I embraced the concept of a cut-back week (for long, or trail, runs at least) but that didn’t mean I was excused 8 hill reps on Thursday – which logged 8.6km with 293m of ascent (5.5 miles and 960 feet). I creaked for the rest of the day and the gym on Friday was quite difficult too but the stint in the bike shop was therapeutic.
Europe, including the UK, has been hit by a couple of storms this week with very dangerous winds which, sadly, caused some fatalities. In Oxfordshire, we have been lucky to be only on the edge of the worst affected areas – we suffered little more than a short power failure, but we spent the rest of the day hunkered down in the house.
If you want a good example of how having a running companion can be a benefit and a curse, Saturday is a case in point.
I woke still feeling creaky and decided that, at most, I might get on the turbo later in the day. Then our son came down in running kit and I immediately decided to go with him. By the time I got ready, it was raining heavily – I would have canned the run but the rain was set in for the day so we went anyway. Within 2km, the rain was colder and heavier, interspersed with sleet for light relief.
The best decision we made was at the point where we either turn back to make it 10km or carry on home for 7km. In all, 7.2km @ 5.48/km, completely soaked. It was strangely enjoyable, perhaps because normally it wouldn’t have happened and perhaps because it was properly daft to have done it.
My wife has been struggling with an injury but had improved enough to try a run on Sunday so we had a gentle outing for 7.88km (4.9 miles) to finish off the week.
Interesting stuff this week
1. The big news of the week was Big Jim over at Fit Recovery smashing through the 1 million views on his website where he tackles recovery from addiction, cycling, bowling, family, life and all that sort of stuff with humour and good sense. If you don’t know the site, why not have a look (after all, we’ve got to get him to 2 million).
By tradition, the African wise words are always first in this section – but not this week
2. African wise words: Don’t think there are no crocodiles just because the water is calm
3. BBC News website: Chinese streaming platforms accused of censoring Friends
Friends has a massive following in China, with many crediting the show with teaching them English and introducing them to US culture but Chinese fans have complained of scenes being deleted, including those that refer to a lesbian character, and another featuring a same-sex kiss.
Incorrect subtitles were also used to downplay sexual references. In one scene, the phrase “multiple orgasms” was translated to the Chinese phrase for “women have endless gossips”.
4. BBC News website: One-word gaffe invalidates thousands of baptisms
At the centre of the controversy is a pastor’s use of the word “we” instead of “I” in the phrase “I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Catholic teaching is that only Jesus Christ has the power to baptise – not the wider community or the Church.
According to the Catholic Diocese, the Pastor was reciting the words incorrectly until 17 June 2021. The Church has declared all baptisms he conducted up to that date invalid – local media has put the number of baptisms affected in the thousands.
I wonder if God is as concerned about this as the church is?
5. BBC News website: Saudi Arabia: 28,000 women apply for 30 train driver jobs
For decades, Saudi Arabia had one of the world’s lowest female workforce participation rates and this is the first time such roles have been advertised for women.
In recent years the government has made efforts to increase the number of women in work as part of a plan to diversify the oil-dependent economy. As a result of such changes, the participation of women in the workforce has almost doubled over the past five years to 33%, and more women than men entered the workforce in the first half of last year.
6. BBC News website: American ultra runner breaks 100-mile world record
Camille Herron broke her own women’s world record in winning the USA Track and Field 100-mile Championships. The 40-year-old beat her previous mark by almost a minute and a half, winning in 12 hours 41 minutes 11 seconds – averaging around 7:37 minutes per mile. She finished almost half an hour ahead of first male athlete who came home in 13:10:25.
7. With the storms in the news this week, I’ve decided to write a book about the high winds – I’ve started the first draft.