29 April 2008

Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

I think I can say that my tenth Marathon, the Shakespeare Marathon in and around Stratford on Avon, turned out to be the worst in nearly every respect.  I met some nice people, and in some cases went through hell with them; I got to the finish line and collected my medal and a banana; and I enjoyed the scenery.  But I was on the course for very nearly five hours, and for the second half of that period it was seriously hot and sunny.  I imagine that Marathons are run in far more adverse conditions, but not in England in April - I arrived at the end with, I suspect, a touch of heat- or sunstroke.  Perhaps an instance of the wise thing to do being to run, and get out of the sun sooner.
 
I was in better shape than Mark, a first-time Marathoner whom I met somewhere after Mile 22 - though we had spent the previous four hours or so in fairly close proximity.  He thought he had over-hydrated, potentially a big problem on a hot day (especially as the race was the best-supplied one I have ever been in, with water and energy drinks at frequent intervals), but it sounded as if he had taken about half as much fluid as I had.  That might be another reason why I still feel pretty ropey.  My legs have got back into action fairly quickly - I even cycled to the station this morning - but I do seem to be taking a while to get over other effects.  On my way home from Stratford, I even had to pull into a lay-by for a nap.
 
I ran a long way with Rupert, an ultra-Marathoner who seemed to have a pretty difficult day too - left him well behind when he had an attack of stomach cramps, then he passed me again after the wheels had come off at about 18 miles - who sported an Ethiopia running vest.  I suggested to him that perhaps something rubbed off on him when he wore it, rather like I hope that training runs with much more gifted and serious runners will do the same for me.  Well, my really serious and gifted training partner (although we have only run together once or twice) was at the time way ahead of us, probably just about to complete her half-Marathon - one lap of the course - and win the women's race.  I guess it takes more than just a couple of runs to make a difference.
 
I must also mention Jayne with whom I ran about 18 miles and who gave me a lot of support along the way - in return for which I told her all sorts of negative things that a first-time Marathoner (as she was too) shouldn't hear.  It is only just and fair that she should have finished half an hour ahead of me!

21 April 2008

Back on the road again

I have finally managed to get out and run today - a couple of weeks or more since my knee reacted against skiing. In the meantime, the weather turned cold and wet - and I know it should not have deterred me, but it doesn't help. But today we seem to have had a change in the weather, and tomorrow promises to be sunny: this afternoon, after a grey and miserable morning, was reasonably OK though not what we have come to expect for April.

The run was not long, as its extent and pace were dictated by Boston, who needed to examine every smell he encountered. He is getting old and stiff, too, and his marathon running days are far behind him.

Mine, I hope, are still in front of me. On Sunday, I should be OK if I set out and run ten minute miles: not ambitious, but it's a get-you-round strategy that has worked for me before. And if I can't make the second lap, I can always head for the half-marathon finish.

A few days away from the office has tranformed my mental and emotional state, but I think there is still a long way to go before I feel that I have put whatever it is behind me. Running a Marathon, and getting back to writing my book afterwards, perhaps, will be a big help. And this afternoon I used a tried and tested therapy: I put new handles on a spade and a garden fork. What I mean is, I picked a small job with a clearly defined and visible conclusion. It just happened to be repairing garden implements. Anyway, it's not such a small job, as the rivets are difficult to drill out and then the broken stub of the old handle is hard to remove from the head. But that's merely making excuses, though in any case it felt good.

19 April 2008

I'm Already There

I had a meeting yesterday afternoon, with a Mr Lewis and a Mr Clark. I arrived a little late, only to find that they had been detained for even longer. I refrained from asking whether they had been out exploring.

06 April 2008

It's all over now, baby blue

No, it isn't, not by a long way - but I have decided (following Charon QC's example) to hive off legal news and comment into a separate blog. There's a posting there about the Court of Appeal's judgment in the A Whiter Shade of Pale case to kick things off.

I wanted to call the new blog IPse Dixit but someone seems to have grabbed that name already, from all the main blog providers, so I've had to make do with second best: though it's only slightly less appropriate.

02 April 2008

Baby, let me follow you down

Several achievements today. I seem to be doing something a little like
a parallel turn; I skied the path through to the piste by our apartment
before any of the youngsters did (although I only put my skis on after
safely negotiating the initial stretch, which falls steeply to a stream
and certain disaster for an inexperienced skier); and I joined the
youngsters, under Sarah's guidance, on a blue run from 1850 back down to
1550. It had been snowing all day, and the powder was thick, so it
tripped me up more than once, but I managed to tack back and forth
across the piste to such an extent that a previously unused muscle in my
groin started complaining bitterly about the whole thing.

In My Own Time

I never imagined I'd find myself not only skiing, but being shown how to
do it by my daughters - and actually doing reasonably well at it too.
After lessons over three days, I am now descending the mountain fairly
confidently, and zig-zagging from side to side reasonably well though I
am suffering a great deal of leg-pulling for allegedly doing the entire
run in a snowplough. That must be wrong, as my leg muscles simply would
not stand for it.

We have had some embarassing moments, such as this morning when, going
up to our lesson on the chairlift for the first time, we all ended up in
a heap where we should have alighted gracefully from it and glided off
into the distance. But I went almost the whole day without falling
over, and when I did it was from a stationary position, having recovered
from a bit of a stumble near the end of a very long descent (green, it
has to be said, but even that looked impossible to me only a couple of
days ago!). Today instinct took over from over-thinking the action of
turning, and while it isn't pretty or efficient it is reasonably
accurate and effective. The difficulty is leaning, or shifting one's
weight, away from the direction in which one wants to turn, unlike
riding a bike, driving a car or flying an aeroplane - although in none
of those activities does the direction of lean cause the turn: it is a
reaction to it. Perhaps not in a plane: then it's a necessary part of
the manouevre, given that you can't turn an aeroplane with the wings
horizontal.

The youngsters in the party are already executing parallel turns,
whereas my best is more like a sharply-pointed snowplough, but I'm
taking it, in the words of the song, in my own time.