On Monday morning my wife dog-walked with a friend so I ran – 10.4km (6.5 miles). My current aim is a weekly 40+km, including a long run of over 20km, so a Monday run gets it off to a good start.
Back to the pool for the swim doctor session on Monday evening. Being pig-headed, I had hoped that I could improve my swimming simply by doing more swimming – wrong – I think that would have just ingrained my (many and grievous) faults. Accordingly, my attempt to improve my (very poor) technique has involved taking it apart before trying to put it together again.
The session on Monday was encouraging – it involved more swimming and fewer drills so I had the chance to put together what (I hoped) I’d learnt over the last few weeks. I swam for about 1000m, including some sprint laps (not that anyone watching would have known that’s what they were) and it felt better. Perhaps learning processes like this are inevitably 2 steps (strokes?) backwards to go 3 forwards?
I ran one the the usual routes with my wife on Tuesday morning for 7.2km (4.45 miles). It was quite hard – 7 sessions in 6 days were certainly taking their toll. Despite that, I set off for the the usual hill reps on Wednesday.
Even on the run to the hill it was clear it was not a good idea – and the stiff headwind for each ascent just added insult to injury. I managed to slog on for the normal 8 reps – this time the Garmin recorded 8.5km and 285m of ascent (6.3 miles and 925 feet).
Very tough, but useful for two things – first, I managed to find the resolve to get it finished, second, I know I have to listen better when my body says it needs a rest.
I mowed on Wednesday afternoon – the first cut of the year (I am distraught that there doesn’t seem to be a Strava ‘mowing’ category) – but at least it was sitting down. I took Thursday as a day off. A gym session on Friday, followed by the regular stint in the charity bike shop.
In an eternal triumph of optimism over experience, I always expect to wake up after a couple of days off running, feeling fit and ready for anything. Yet again I was proved wrong on Saturday morning but I did get out and slogged around slowly in a nasty wind for the week’s long run – a hard 25km (15.5 miles). I’m getting to the distances where my current approach of ‘get up, have a cup of coffee and go for the run, taking nothing with me’ isn’t going to be quite enough.
That’s 51km (over 31 miles) for the week – I’ve just got to do twice that in one go for July’s ultra …
On Sunday we walked to a local farm where they were doing a pop-up snack bar to raise funds for the Ukraine. The farm is owned by the National Trust and the tenant (who comes across really well) who has recently taken it over was, in a previous existence, half of the electronic music duo ‘Groove Armada’ responsible for, among others, the almost Shakespearean “I see you baby (shaking that ..)’. It’s a strange world.
I don’t know if it was a good idea but, later, I got on the turbo for a quick spin to stretch the legs after Saturday’s run – 30 minutes @28.5kph (17.7mph).
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: However far a stream flows, it doesn’t forget its origin
2. BBC News website: Discarded rocket part crashes into the Moon
First sighted from Earth in March 2015, the three-tonne rocket part had been tracked for a number of years. At first, astronomers thought it might have belonged to Elon Musk’s SpaceX firm, and then said it was Chinese – something China denies.
The rocket stage would have dug out a small crater and created a plume of dust but the effects of the impact on the Moon should have been minor.
The European Space Agency estimates there are now 36,550 pieces of space junk – hardware discarded from missions or satellites without enough fuel or energy to return to Earth – larger than 10cm (4 inches).
3. BBC News website: South African breaks the men’s 50km record in his first race at the distance
Stephen Mokoka won the 50km (31 miles) race in 2:40:13, beating the time of 2:42:07 set by Ethiopia’s Ketema Negasa last year. World Athletics added the 50km distance to the list of events for which world records are recognised in July 2021
“I’m tired. It’s a long way, but I enjoyed it,” he said.
Very much echoing my thoughts from last July’s 50km ultra (in which I did not set a world or any other record of any description). I hope I can say the same after this July’s 100km.
4. BBC News website: Scottish first minister apologises for witchcraft accusations
Nicola Sturgeon has offered a formal apology for the “egregious historic injustice” suffered by people accused of witchcraft between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Witch hunts took place in many countries during that period, but academics say Scotland’s execution rate was five times the European average. It is thought 4,000 Scots, mostly women, were accused of breaking the Witchcraft Act between 1563 and 1736.
Confessions were regularly secured under torture, with those condemned strangled and burned at the stake.
A terrible period in history but this is certainly getting to the heart of current issues
5. BBC News website: Murder suspect wins prison beauty pageant
A Nigerian woman who is facing trial for the suspected murder of a businessman has been crowned Miss Cell 2022, at Kirikiri prison in Lagos. Ms Ojukwu was seen wearing a crown in photos taken at Wednesday’s pageant in the prison, which the correctional services boss said was part of International Women’s Day celebrations.
and first prize is usually an exotic foreign holiday … but perhaps not in this case
6. BBC News website: 100 mile world record
In January, at the Spartanion 12-hour race in Tel Aviv, Lithuanian Aleksandr Sorokin maintained a 6:31/mile pace for 100 miles. His time of 10:51:39 smashed his own 100-mile world record of 11:14:56 and set the record for the greatest distance ever run in 12 hours – 110.23 miles – besting his own previous record of 105.82 miles.
For the first 65 miles, Sorokin held a pace that ranged between 6:13 and 6:25 per mile. He kept things up with a sub-6:55 pace as he reached the 100-mile split before eventually slowing to 7:10 and then 7:15 over the final miles.
Wow – 7:15/mile is ‘slowing’?