19 May 2010

Saucerful of Secrets

A long and busy day yesterday, which is why I have had so long to consider what can be said about Monday - which for several small reasons was one of the best days of my life. Well, making due allowance for a deteriorating memory.
Seeing three friends, two of them for the first time in over two, maybe even nearly three, years, is a good start. Considering how careless I have been with them in the past (illustrated by that two or three year interval) friends really are very important to me. Perhaps I realise that more as I get older.
Being asked unexpectedly for a little life guidance, by a friend 13 years older than myself, also contributes to the unique day. He's done more than he can imagine for my self-confidence.
Lunch with my newly-minted Marathoner friend, whose achievement has almost moved her onto a different plane of existence. I was there a year ago, after the Capital City Marathon, and now she's inspired me to look forward to getting back there in October, after the Kielder Marathon.
An evening run with another friend, and we haven't run together for three years - back then she was a regular running buddy. We meet at the hotel where I am staying the night (in readiness for a day of presenting courses) and head for Regent's Park, then Primrose Hill where we do a little hill-work - it's permissible to stop for a rest after running up a hill when the view is that good. Back towards Regent's Park but we take to the canal towpath west until it's too boring to go on, then back to the park, a long route back towards our starting point, a diversion when we think that perhaps we haven't run far enough and the map indicates a drinking fountain, which turns out to be dry when we reach it: so, back to the hotel, discussions about a drink, realisation that we are not in good condition to go into a pub so instead we buy a couple of bottles of beer in Sainsbury's and sit on the grass in Bloomsbury Square drinking them until the park-keeper throws us out, then we sit on a low wall to finish them off. I feel about 35 years younger, and only part of that is down to the running: the following morning the effects of a nine-mile evening run make themselves evident ...
So, a recipe for almost-instant rejuvenation: a long run followed by a slow beer in a pleasant park on a warm evening with a friend you haven't seen for a while. Young and blonde, though not essential, certainly helps.

16 May 2010

It happened today

I am looking forward to tomorrow and Tuesday, to seeing four old
friends and some new ones, a good run, two courses to present and who
knows what else. And today has paved the way nicely, with a relaxed
but positive seven mile/one hour standard Sunday morning run. Even
though I feel horribly out of shape I can still manage a decent
effort. Cool and drizzling, but I didn't care. The warrior is slowly
returning - perhaps just never completely went away.

12 May 2010


An interesting talk yesterday evening on anthropology, by Prof Renée Hirschon of St Peter's College, to Writers in Oxford. The audience included a number of distinguished anthropologists and at least one very distinguished novelist.
On the car radio on the way home, David Cameron was making his speech outside 10 Downing Street. Going by some of the content, he might have been at the same talk. He spoke of a society:

where we don’t just ask what are my entitlements, but what are my responsibilities. One where we don’t ask what am I just owed, but more what can I give. And a guide for that society – that those that can should, and those who can’t we will always help.
I want to make sure that my government always looks after the elderly, the frail the poorest in our country. We must take everyone through with us on some of the difficult decisions we have ahead.
Above all it will be a government that is built on some clear values. Values of freedom, values of fairness, and values of responsibility.
I want us to build an economy that rewards work. I want us to build a society with stronger families and stronger communities. And I want a political system that people can trust and look up to once again.
So, clearly, anthropology is a very important subject ...

11 May 2010

The die is cast

I have paid my money and secured my place in the Kielder marathon. Not until 17 October, but still a challenge to get ready - more so to do a PB.


A very satisfying run yesterday evening - after a very messy day indeed. I had an opportunity to introduce James - whom I have known for many years but with whom I have never run, as far as I can remember, other than in an INTA 5K race - to the attractions of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
While I run across Hyde Park and on through Green Park and St James's Park often enough, it's a long time since I ran this route. It brought back many memories of lunchtime and evening runs with running mates with whom I haven't run now for ages - and it also provided me with encouragement, because I kept up a faster pace than I thought I could manage at my present level of fitness. I don't know what it was, because having failed to find a satellite at the start I didn't start the Watch.
But, in keeping with the message of the song - it just had to be the Stones, to mark a run with James - it's just the start. The start, perhaps, of a campaign to do a 3:30 Marathon in October? The 16-week training schedule is stuck to the wall in front of my eyes, though until late June all I have to is think about it.

05 May 2010

With A Little Help From My Friends

For the first time in nearly two years, I'm taking an early train to London. But it's earlier than I ever used to be, by ten or fifteen minutes, yet Coach A has plenty of familiar faces in it. My old commuting mates have turned the ratchet a little further. Once upon a time it was feasible to commute using a train that left about 0745. Now it's 0659. With all the delays and cancellations about which I still receive notifications (almost nostalgic), it's hardly surprising, but what a life.