28 February 2013

Winter Idyll

I carefully rehearsed what I might say on Radio 3 yesterday morning, to introduce Holst's excellent Winter Idyll which I had suggested as a piece worthy of inclusion in the programme's series of "Winter Warmers". I had quickly come to realise that, although you can feel the frost and see the bare trees in the arresting opening bars, the criteria for inclusion were more to do with thawing out, or sitting by a log fire while a storm raged outside - and revisiting the piece, I was happy to find just those elements too. Of course, others might not hear it the same way as I do, but that's the beauty of an abstract art form like music ...

However carefully rehearsed, I managed to forget it all and began with a thought-collecting "errmmm". I'd expected, having heard the feature many times before, that I'd be expected to contribute more than just about 15 seconds of explanation for my choice, but there we are - perhaps the schedule did not permit of more. And no-one would want to hear me rabbiting on about it instead of listening to the music. Sarah Mohr Pietsch,  the presenter, seemed to like it too ... and on listening to the programme on BBC IPlayer (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qwh69 about 66 minutes into it) I got more than 15 seconds, and squeezed in a reference to my morning run (which was distinctly wintry, though not as Moscow-like as it was on Sunday).

Take it easy

If I am right (as I am, sometimes) about the injury to my foot at the beginning of January, I certainly don't want to aggravate it now that I am able to run a little again. Which is why once round St James's and Green Parks was enough yesterday morning, slower than nine minutes a mile for three miles or so before my appearance (15 seconds of fame!) on Radio 3's Breakfast Show, then breakfast and the Motor Law conference, all at the RAC Club. And this morning 5K round the village playing field was enough, though I might try to make this a two-run day: that could be the way to build fitness without causing another stress fracture.

All this is in the pair of Mizuno shoes I bought this time last year. My Vivobarefoot shoes, and the Luna sandals, are out of use for the time being. Despite being able to say to anyone who asks about running far in the invisible shoes "I don't know, I haven't gone further than 26.2 miles in them ..." (cleverdick is the word that springs to mind - and with huaraches, perhaps the correct preposition is "on"), and having done a Half (not a particularly swift Half, it has to be said) in Vivobarefoot shoes, my left foot needs a bit of cosseting. Or maybe those long runs in minimalist shoes got me most of the way to a stress fracture - who knows? In any case, I am taking it easy for the time being - I have big ambitions for later this year and another injury could wreck another year, running-wise.

24 February 2013

Fundamentally yours

My return to running is taking a long time - and perhaps that's how it could be. My injured foot has had six weeks' rest, which is what all the websites I have consulted said was appropriate for a stress fracture, which I believed (despite not having the "exquisite" pain the one doctor I did speak to about it thought I should be experiencing, although maybe that depends on what you mean by "exquisite") was what it was.

After exactly six weeks (what it seems would often now be called the six-week anniversary, an expression which could easily move me to acts of violence) I ran the nearly two miles from Paddington to the office, then in the evening I ran the 1.65 miles back. No, I don't understand that either, but I do think it is really 1.95 and I will stick with that. Not that it's much of a run: hardly even worth lacing up running shoes for - and incidentally I am wearing big clumpy foam things, with orthopedic insoles and forefoot gel pads, until I feel confident about doing differently.

Well, that was Monday, and on Wednesday (I thought a rest day might be a good idea) I took the picturesque, long, route, 3.1 miles, along the Regent's Canal. And back in the evening. Nothing to report: steady 10 minute miles, and I realised that it's not easy to commute-run much faster than that anyway.

I fitted in a lap or two of the playing fields at home in between times, but a lap's only about 0.3 miles so nothing to get excited about. Even ten laps is pretty modest. Yesterday there was not a moment for running, because we set out early to watch Mel play lacrosse in the BUSA tournament at Warwick (which leads to another story), and being out in sub-zero temperatures all day left me too tired to do anything when we returned home (except watch Engrenages, to which I am becoming quite addicted although mostly I tell myself I am improving my French, hence my not calling it Spiral). After that, I slept very soundly and didn't have too much to dream ...

This morning I had every intention of doing my regular 7 mile loop when I donned my running kit. Honestly. But waiting for Garmin to find a satellite, the cold seeped in through my gloves and hat and two long-sleeved tops. The forecast said the wind-chill factor was -2°C, which is nothing compared with the temperatures that halted a run last February in Moscow although it did actually feel pretty similar. Instead, Hugo and I put in three laps of the playing field and I returned home to bake comfort food - no, I mean runner's food, namely flapjacks (to be precise, marmalade flapjacks). Naturally, I had in mind to take an opportunity to do a second, longer, run later in the day, but predictably it failed to materialise.

The FT prize crossword, a Mudd, proved quite a challenge and not only because I was tired last night when I started on it. It's finished now though, thanks to an afternoon spent largely listening to Johnny Walker's "Sounds of the Seventies" programme on Radio 2 (not a patch on the original Sounds of the Seventies, with Bob Harris, John Peel et al, but surprisingly good). It needed to be listened to as James and Andy were on it, reminiscing about the seventies although both claimed to be able to remember little about the decade - not even sure whether Stackridge had really opened the first Glastonbury Festival, although they were clear that they had played the final set. Walker asked them about their recollections of that famous Wembley Stadium gig in '75, when the consensus among knowledgeable commentators seems to have been that they were the best act on a bill that also included the Beach Boys, the Eagles and Elton John: but of course James was not a member of that iteration of Stackridge ... That could have cued a major incident, and perhaps years ago it would have done, but James said that he had been "dipping out" at the time, and there was some talk of how all the band members had been fired at one time or another - Crun three times. Walker played the sublime Fundamentally Yours, surely one of their best songs, and Spin Round The Room, about which I have no comment - plus Oh Yoko, for Andy's famous session guitar work.