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Janathon day 16

Friday sees me working at home, meaning that I can get out for a run in daylight, making use of my lunch break. And so it was today. It was clear and crisp out by the time I got out the door, but despite the lack of frost it was cold out. Gillet and gloves cold. I set off in good spirit, glad to be out and moving after the short, sharp col of earlier in the week. I’ve still got a bit of a sore throat and a cough that comes in fits and starts, but apart from that I’m pretty much back on form.

I decided that it was time to step up the running periods again, in spite of the hiatus mid week. And so I set off to run for 7 minutes. I never set off running from the house, I always walk to the end of the road before starting the Garmin and setting off to run. Well I say always. Not today, I didn’t. I was sure I’d hit the start button and that it bipped at me in response, but after crossing the road and getting to the industrial estate it was resolutely reading a screen full of 00:00:00.Oh no!

Fortunately I’d gone no more than 3 to 4 minutes, so it wasn’t as if the situation was unrecoverable. I made a guess that, as I hadn’t had to stop to cross the roundabout, that I’d probably been out for 3 minutes and started the watch there. First time I’ve managed to not start the watch. I’ve missed lap markers before now, or hit them twice or not turned it off, but missing the start is a new trick. Not one I want to practice further.

Not too far, as I was time limited. Just up to the pylon and back again. I know that distance usually comes in at around 2.7 miles, so that is what I’m claiming today as well. The Garmin only shows 2.39, but I’m missing some there, so it is only fair to take what I know I did run, rather than what I have evidence of running, That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. It was lovely out, and I was dressed about right for the weather. There was a cold breeze but it was a lot less strong than it has been – more swirly than anything else. I did manage to find a weather phenomenon that doesn’t seem to move round to face you on an out and back route, that would be the sun. part of my return leg was into the sun and with the damp surfaces it was really very bright out. Not long after I got back it turned cloudy and there was a sudden shower of rain, but I don’t remember seeing any signs of that while out – at least I got my timing right there.

Challenge exercise for today amounts to 125 squats, 21 pressups and 64 situps. I will get to those later (promise).

Je suis Charlie

Janathon day 11

Today was a fabulous day to be out running. Cool out with a stiff cold breeze, but the sun was shining and the skies were clear. I opted for a long sleeved shirt and my gillet, not because it was cold as much as the gillet offers more wind resistance than a second shirt does. It wasn’t just me that thought today was a good day to be out and about either, the tally of active people included 2 runners (one who waved cheerily from the other side of the road and second who was running on the wrong side, but took the advice that she swop sides to face oncoming traffic in very good part), 4 bunches of cyclists (I’m sure the collective noun for cyclists isn’t bunch, but I’m struggling to think what it might be!), a pair and 3 lone peddlers. Not just me being a nutter out in the open then.

After Friday’s rediscovery that running off tarmac is not quite the same as the on tarmac stuff, I decided that today would be a good day to extend the distance I covered. So once I got to the pylon, I turned right to follow the footpath into the next village, this means I run more of a P shaped loop, rejoining my longer out and back route at the manor house. The extended distance is all to the good, but the thing that makes it a really good workout is that it’s off road. Depending on the season, this route can be of varying quality underfoot, as it is a mixture of paths across or round fields and unsurfaced farm tracks. Today it appears that it’s not been long since the top field was ploughed as there was no obvious path across the furrows. It meant that the soil was fairly loose and the recent rain meant it was quite damp. An ideal combination for most of the field to decided to stick to my shoes! So not only are you trying to make progress across something quite uneven and yielding, but you’re doing so with feet that weigh three times as much as usual. My shoes have big cut outs in the heels, I assume for lightness or cushioning. The downside of these being that they soon fill with mud and I end up running with what feels like half the shire attached to my feet. Like I need any further handicaps… But it’s good for the balance, the core gets a good work out, it’s kinder on the joints and is just kind of fun (in a mildly masochistic kind of way). Pretty much stuck to the 5 minutes run with 1 minute walk intervals, so that’s good, especially as this is the furthest I have run since May 2012! The extended loop took me to 4.08 miles and I covered that in less than 54 minutes.

In a departure from my usual style, I would like to associate my run with the Unity Run for Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité. I don’t know what comfort it brings to the families of those who have been killed in the terrible events in France last week, however I am fully behind the notion that freedom of speech and the freedom of the press is important enough to stand up for. I have never read the satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo, in fact a lot of satire leaves me feeling mildly uncomfortable; it can be cruel, the sensation that you’re laughing at someone , not laughing with them. Although I can appreciate that a lot of the targets of satire need to be laughed at, otherwise you’d cry or despair over them; I don’t have to like it to see that it has its place in society.

The assumption has to be that the attack on the office of the magazine was a result of the magazine’s decision to print some cartoons that depicted Mohammed in a less than favourable light. You don’t have to like or agree with the cartoons, in the same way that I don’t have to like or agree with everything you say. I don’t believe any person can deny the right of an individual to hold and express an opinion. And individual freedoms are only going to be present and protected when the press is free to comment, report and criticise whoever and whatever it deems appropriate. There can be no sacred cows. The down side of freedom of the press is that we also have to extend that freedom to the Sun and the Star, but, to paraphrase from a Toby Ziegler speech in the West Wing, “That the Star can publish what it likes is the only way I know that the Times/Telegraph/Guardian can publish what it likes as well”. Freedom of the press mirrors personal freedom of expression, one will fall without the other and to suppress either results in restrictions that are unacceptable.

The side effect of a freedom of expression is that every one else also has the right to express the opinion. With the right comes the responsibility to accept that there are a myriad of views that can be expressed. I have no more right to suppress your opinion, should I disagree with it, than you have to suppress mine. What you say may well offend me, but I have no right to suppress what offends me simply because it offends me. With the right of freedom of expression comes a responsibility to accept that we can and will be offended. Get used to it, it’s part of being an adult in a functioning society. There is a famous misquote by Voltaire that sums this up.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

That is a summary of Voltaire’s views on freedom of expression, it’s not from Voltaire himself. What was actually written in Voltaire’s Essay on Tolerance was “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too”. But that lacks the panache, the hyperbole, the dramatic flourish of the misquote. I think that for most people within the Western world, that has become part of our expectation. It hasn’t always been the case, as this Viewpoint article from the BBC explains. We’ve come a long way in a few hundred years, but that’s not to say that the freedoms we currently enjoy are universally acknowledged, welcomed or even considered rights at all.

What we are certainly not accustomed to is the idea that to express an opinion leads to physical consequences. That someone could take such offence that they would resort to violence is outside our realm of common experience. To hit out at a view in the heat of the moment is possibly more understandable than the concept that the terrorists concerned could plan and execute their act of revenge in response to the publication of something they found offensive. I’m sure lots of people may have found those publication offensive to various levels. Including the first person to be shot a policeman who was a muslim. Was he offended by the cartoons? Would he prefer they were not published? We’ll possibly not know, but he died doing his duty first and foremost. The appropriate response to something we disapprove of is not violence, it is to produce a rebuttal, to respond so as to show the thrust of the publication to be foolish. Gunning down 12 people and causing the deaths of 4 more is not an appropriate response. The pen is mightier than the sword, goes the saying.

The pen is mightier than the sword

The pen is mightier than the sword

That might not be true in the short term – the gun certainly trumped the pen in the case of those killed. In the long term the case is less clear cut; the magazine Charlie Hebdo is being published this week from temporary offices and the cartoon community has responded with a series of cartoons – they are not suppressed by the threat of the gun. In a few months the name of the magazine and the target of the shooters will remain known, the names of the terrorists will live in few memories.

The right of expression is worth standing up for and, as with all rights, it needs protection; otherwise we will one day wake up to find they have been removed, little by little, without our noticing. In the UK press there is an increasing tendency to demand an apology or retraction from someone who expresses a view that a person or social group finds offensive.  Obviously if you say something that is criminal (incitement to violence, libel, making threats etc) there is recourse to the law and that should be used. To censor expressed views simple because a social norm doesn’t approve of them is a highly undesirable trend; the thin end of the wedge, at the other end of which lies Orwell’s thought police. The whole point of freedom of expression is that all ideas and views are expressed without let or hinderance.

Adams from The Telegraph. An example of a cartoon that will offend no-one

Adams from The Telegraph.
An example of a cartoon that will offend no-one

That I find your view offensive should have no impact on your right to express it. Demanding an apology from a politician or other public figure who expresses a view that could be considered offensive is a sure way to suppress those views. It is a form of censorship and it risks limiting all of our freedoms by making some views taboo. This is, in it’s own way, as undesirable a response as a resort to violence. It is far less obvious, far less dramatic, but it is a more insidious form of suppression of expression.

There is another undesirable element of communication in the modern world that runs counter to the freedom of expression. It takes the form of compulsion – the “if you’re not with us you’re against us” phenomenon. There is an expectation that people on social media will all voice an opinion that has been decided by the masses as appropriate. Freedom to express an opinion means the right exists to choose not to voice an opinion. The social media compulsion seems to exist in the expectation that everyone will voice support for a particular cause. However choosing not to voice support for a cause should never be equated  with supporting the opposite case. The world is not a place that exists in black and white, there are an unlimited shades of grey that exist between two polar opposites.

Lucile Clerc

Lucile Clerc

A culture of censorship would no doubt have never allowed Charlie Hedbo to publish the cartoons, or probably a significant amount of its content. But that is the price we pay for a valuable freedom; it’s a price I think we should expect to pay. That I am able to spout whatever rubbish I choose in this blog is how I opt to exercise my right to express an opinion and I stand in solidarity with anyone who stands up for that right – even to the point of dying for it. Je suis Charlie

Rafael Mantesso

Rafael Mantesso

Three is a magic number

Janathon day 3.

Today has made me think about what I consider as exercise.  First thing, I was up and out the door for a run (of which more later). Then it was back for a shower and get dressed before heading into town to do the weekly shop. I walked into town, which is approaching a mile (downhill all the way) then shopped and walked home with my basket full. That’s approaching a mile, uphill and on this occasion into a shower of hailstones. If exercise is classed as doing something so as to be somewhat out of breath, then the walk back up the hill certainly counts as exercise. But I would rarely think of it as being exercise, that’s just part of my Saturday routine. I tend to walk into town because it’s barely far enough to justify taking the car (well not unless I’m planning on buying a sack of potatoes or something equally difficult to carry). But I don’t tend to think of walking into town as exercise. I wonder why that is.

Anyway, back to the real exercise of the day. Weather was wet and grey today, but it was cold out. The air was cold and the rain felt like it was supercooled, it certainly stung when it hit the exposed flesh. On looking out the window I’d opted for just the single long sleeved top, but when I put the Garmin on the car to find satellites that decision was rapidly reversed, and a second layer added. brrrr it was not very warm out. I set off for the first run section and set out far too fast. I know this was a reaction to being cold, to try and warm up, but it’s not helpful. The first spurt was under 10 minute mile pace and I failed to sustain that for any length of time. The increase to 5 minute run intervals went well, apart from my failure to successfully calculate that 24 plus 5 is 29, I made that 30. So that was one longer than intended run interval somewhere in the middle there. I also stretched the last run section, as otherwise I’d have stopped to walked for 1 minute with barely much more than that left. The last interval was, therefore, a little on the long side as well. It all felt perfectly OK, so that’s all to the good. I also stretched the run out. My usual turn point has been at or about the pylon, which is at just about 1.4 miles from home. My next landmark to turn is the turning circle at the manor house. The advantage of this is that it allows me to run round something (in this case, the turning circle) rather than simply turning at a point on the road. It also means that I approach the road from the turning circle, so get a much better view of the road in both directions in order to be able to cross it safely. Not that there is that much traffic about, but it’s better to be safe than sorry – I’m sure I’d loose a competition with a car. That comes up at a little over 1.7 miles, meaning that the out and back trip today came in at 3.44 miles. Yes, I do intend to use all the decimal places that my Garmin reports to in my aim to track mileage this year – I suspect I will need all the help I can get!

I have also done today’s squats, pressups and situps for the 30 day challenge. I did these after returning from shopping, knowing that I didn’t fancy them one bit after returning from the run first thing! 50 squats was divided into 2 sections and wasn’t too painful. 28 situps were distinctly noticeable in the way that the 24 yesterday were not. And the less said about the pressups the better. I know I’m not physically in great shape, but they are really feeble. I’m reduced to box pressups – not even girly ones on my knees – in order to get my nose anywhere near the floor. Let’s look at it this way, I can see me following Janathon with a February challenge of girly pressups and into March with the intention to manage one proper pressup. Just one, it’s not much to ask.

Depending on how you look at it, that’s 2 or 3 pieces of exercise completed on day 3 of the year, including running over 3 miles. Three clearly is the number of the day.

Baby it’s cold outside

It was, in fact, cold and very frosty outside. So frosty, in fact, that my car, on which I place the Garmin to allow it to find satellites while I tie my shoes, looked like it had a furry coat of frost. Very pretty, if rather on the cold side. So today’s random musing while out running is why I would usually set forth at this time of year wearing a minimum  of 4 layers, yet happily go out to run (and in fact slightly overheat) wearing at most 2 layers. The human body is an amazing thing, but at times it makes no sense at all.

I feel the cold. I think it fair to put this into perspective. I wear a cardigan all year round, and two for at least 4 months of the year. I don’t own a summer and winter wardrobe, it’s winter all year round. I don’t own any shorts – it’s never warm enough to swap long trousers for short ones. I sleep under the duvet even in the middle of summer. My feet and hands are, at times, the coldest things on the planet (that is according to my nice warm husband when he comes to bed). In short, I should have been born in a warmer climate than the one I currently inhabit.

And all of that completely goes out the window when I run.

Take today. If I went out to walk into town, or to drive somewhere I would no doubt have set forth wearing at least the following: fur hat, scarf, gloves, woolen 3/4 length coat, jumper, rugby shirt, T shirt, jeans, long socks (possibly even with tights on underneath).

So to run I set out wearing: long sleeved top, sleeveless gillet, gloves, tights*, capris, socks, bobble hat, shoes.

* yes, really, 60 denier opaque tights are a fabulous base layer.

I will admit that the first few minutes it was cold. Like really cold. Breath like a steamtrain in the cold air. But once I got moving, it suddenly wasn’t that cold after all. The tops of my arms were not exactly warm, and there was an occasional cold draft round my neck between the hat and the gillet, but my hands  – those things that usually do an impression of an ice cube – were sweaty in their gloves and the rest of me was fine. So what on earth is going on there? No idea.

As I got back towards home, one of the neighbours were setting out in their car. Cue waves and she wrapped her arms around herself as if to shiver, indicating it was cold out. To which I nodded, but with a big grin. Yes it was cold out., but it was lovely too and I had a lovely outing in my minimalistic attire.

Best foot forward

So having been cleared to run, you’re probably wondering why it took over a week for me to actually run. A stinky cold is the short answer. Having been cleared on Thursday to run, the plan was to head out Sunday and actually do it. However I’d had a cold brewing for a while and Saturday morning last week it lined up its final assault – which left me in no fit state to run on Sunday. Ho hum. What with that and a couple of all day meetings that sort of wiped the week out.

Yesterday, however, I was feeling much better. Even after a lovely lie in I woke to a world that had been dusted with glitter in the night; a very clear sky had resulted in a beautiful heavy frost. And what better weather to run in? I know – it’s one of the things that always makes me laugh about running – most people see a frosty morning and think it’s great to look at, or else needs 67 layers and a woolly hat before venturing out. I set out yesterday morning wearing 2 layers – although I did put a pair of gloves and a woolly hat on. And it was such a nice day for a run. Clear and still; it was nothing like as cold as the negative temperatures reported might sound.

Seeing it’s been over a month since I last ran, I stepped back a few time intervals. Having been at 10 minutes run to 1 minute walk when the ankle played up, I stepped that back to 3 minutes run to 1 minute walk. And I think that was about right. Managed the 3 minutes without too much trouble each time and used the 1 minute walk to cough, hack, spit and generally denude my respiratory passages of gunk. There really is nothing quite like a run for clearing the tail end of a cold. Snot-tastic. Should there be any high winds forecast, I can assure you that the shire will be in no danger – it is stuck to the map. Lovely!

It wasn’t terribly far, and it wasn’t terribly fast, but it felt just so lovely to be out. No worried at all in the ankle department, so that’s a relief. I took it quite carefully, as it was surprisingly slippery underfoot, with the frost causing a certain amount of slip sliding, especially on the smoother tarmac. But it places it was also making that crunchy noise as I ran over it. It was a fabulous day for a run, and I’m so glad that I was able to get out and enjoy it.

I will report that I was also a very good girl and did my stretches before and after the run, in order to warm up the calves and try to avoid a repetition of the pain. Just need to be diligent and do them every day… that might be a bit more difficult!

Hotel one niner, you are cleared for takeoff

Just a very brief update today. I’ve been to the physio and have been squeezed, poked, pummeled and generally beaten up for the last few weeks. But all to the good, today I got clearance to run again. Hurrah. I have some remedial work to do to increase the length of my hamstrings and calves, but nothing that can’t be worked on (as long as I remember to). Christmas parties tomorrow and Saturday (you should see my shoes for that one) mean it’ll be Sunday before I can get out. Fingers crossed for good weather…

How easy it is to lapse

This week has demonstrated to me exactly how easy it would be for me to lapse as a runner again. All the while I wasn’t actively running, I still thought of myself as a runner, albeit an inactive one. Having dragged my lardy arse out and rediscovered the pleasure of running, I hit my first hurdle. This was a dual pronged approach by the gods of mischief; part one comprised a sore calf, as incurred in a run last week. Part 2 was the weather and my wimpiness in the face of inclement weather. My last run was Wednesday, when the sore ankle/calf developed. It had stiffened up into a general aching calf by the end of the day and so I decided to rest it a week, before running again.

Wednesday came and went without venturing out. I have little willpower in the face of strong wind and rain, add that to the fact it was pretty much dark when I got home and the comfort of my sofa won hands down. Thursday I was just too late from work to even consider a run. Friday I was working from home, so could have gone out for a plod at any point really, but it was windy again and I was feeling cold and headachy, so stayed in the study with my radiator. On neither day was it that bad – I’ve certainly run in worse weather than that. There was no excuse for the failure to get out the door, it was simply a lack of willpower.

Saturday I finally ran out of excuses, it had been raining and while it was overcast, it wasn’t actually raining. It was breezy, but it wasn’t blowing anything as hard as it was earlier in the week. It was chilly, but it wasn’t frosty, as it had been earlier in the week. After a trip into town to do the shopping and head to the library to swop some books I finally found out the running kit and headed out the door. Couldn’t find my beany hat – it’s probably mixed up with the undies in the laundry basket – so it was baseball cap and long sleeved shirt and out the door.

And it was going pretty well for a time. Was debating whether to try the 10 minute run intervals that I’d started last time out, or dip back to 7 minute intervals. As it felt pretty good at 7 minutes, I went out for the 10 minutes. After 16 minutes, I got to the pylon. Not wanting to make this too long or over stress anything, I turned there, rather than heading to the next turning location. I started thinking about how to arrange at least one running session during the week, going for a run at lunchtime (either at work, or when working from home are both options) and I started toying with the idea of joining a club again- although I’d like to be running a bit further before i go along to a club – I’d hate to think I’m slowing them up.

And then the gods of mischief decided to throw the dice again. I was on my way back, having just started the third run interval, when I got that same stabbing pain in my right calf. Same place, same presentation – couldn’t find a stretch, hurt when weight was transferring to the toes. Buggeration. It wasn’t quite as stabby as the previous experience, such that I was able to run back, although I did add a few walk breaks into what should have been the last 10 minute run section. Even with that delay, the run turned out to have a pretty good average pace, being under 13 minutes for a mile. I’ve only beaten than 3 or 4 times since I started back again, so I’m clearly making progress – if I can just hold together for the entirety of a run.

So another run that was much like a curate’s egg. I spent the afternoon looking a physio websites, and may well be making a call on Monday morning to see if I can’t get this sorted out. Thanks to the gods of mischief for another hurdle in the path to being a runner again. 😦

Friday niceness

Friday morning isn’t usually a run time for me, but we’ve got today off. Yippee! So the alarm clocks were all turned off and we slept in. Bliss. About 8 am I surfaced and collected all the necessary gubbins to head out for a run. I’d not run during the week as Tuesday we had the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo (or what ever his name was) blowing about and I really didn’t fancy that. Wednesday turned into a longer than anticipated day at work, and by the time I’d got home it was cold and dark and miserable and I didn’t fancy that much either. I looked out of the window on Friday and saw that it was not looking too bad for late October (I mean it hardly looked like June out there, but at least it wasn’t raining or blowing the tree horizontal – just looked sort of autumnal) and that made up my mind – run time. I may have been mildly deceived about the temperature, the breeze was a bit cool, but actually it wasn’t as cold as it looked. I went out in a long sleeved shirt and did wonder if I could have coped with short sleeves, as I felt a bit too warm for part of the outward leg. For someone who is always wearing at least one jumper more than the rest of the world, I don’t half overheat quickly while out running. When I made the turn and started running back into the wind, I was more comfortable about the long sleeves – that was the right decision.

I went out to the turn beyond the pylon again, but taking longer run intervals of 7 minutes, interspersed with 1 minute of walking. That meant that I only walked for 4 minutes out of the 45  or so I was out. That’s just a smidge below 9% walking. When I consider I started at 60% walking, that shows how far I’ve come. Just need to keep chipping away at the walking and extending the running – then hope some speed will come back. There’s certainly room to improve on the speed front – today I was overtaken by a pair of lady runners. They caught me just after I’d started, before the roundabout. I caught them again, while waiting for the traffic to clear and we crossed when a nice lorry driver let us across in front of him. I know drivers in general and lorry drivers in particular get a lot of stick for being aggressive and inconsiderate, but I have to say that’s not usually my experience. Where I run on a road that’s not really wide enough for two cars, the vehicles almost always pull over to the other side of the road when passing, to give me room. I respond with a wave of the hand, to acknowledge their consideration. And I’d estimate that a majority then wave smile or nod back. I will admit that the cheeriness of the wave is highly dependent on how I’m feeling at the time! While trying to cross the roundabout, if a vehicle pauses to let me across, it is often a lorry. So let’s hear it for the considerate driver and not let the miserable minority besmirch the reputation of the majority.

The other niceness noted today was on the way back. There’s a drainage channel by the industrial estate that has got very overgrown and there were some workmen cutting that back when I was on the return leg. They’d not been there when I went out, so had clearly arrived in the meantime. They were cutting the trees and putting them in a chipper. Trying to keep out of the way,they were half on the pavement, but I decided trying to get between them and the hedge was probably not the best idea, so I skirted round them on the road. As I passed, they paused the chipper,which was polite of them – it was rather noisy and I suppose the possibility of being hit by flying chips did exist.

I’m not quite sure the run lived up to the niceness that I observed during it. Out was OK and I made the turning circle by the manor in good spirits. I’d not been checking the watch too frequently, instead trying to work out where I thought 7 minutes would be and not looking until then. For the first run section, I’d actually overestimated (only by 10 seconds, but it’s enough!) The return leg was into a headwind, and that seemed to make it all much harder. I was checking the watch far more often and well before I was even half way through the run section. Overall it was pretty good though. I certainly felt at times that I could run for longer, but each minute walk was not quite enough to fully recover. A couple more outings at this pattern before the next step up.

Cool weather, warm pace

It was foggy and cold this morning when we left for ringing this morning. The little snowflake light on the car that indicates when it is cold or freezing was resolutely orange all the way, showing it was less than 4 degrees outside. brrr. All of which made me quite pleased that I wasn’t going to head out for a run until lunch time. When time came, it had cleared a bit, the fog had lifted but there was consistent cloud cover and only a watery sun; it didn’t look very warm out there. So I delved into the bottom of the kit drawer, unearthed a long sleeved top and headed out.

And it wasn’t all that warm out. I was cold to start with, but the body soon warmed up. The hands and ears took a bit longer to come to a comfortable temperature – it might be time to find the beany hat rather than the baseball cap. By the time I was half way I had pushed my sleeves up to my elbows, so maybe a short sleeved shirt would have been OK, but I’d have felt colder for longer, and I don’t enjoy being cold. Maybe that told in the pace, as I seem to have managed to run my fastest average pace run since coming back. 12:45 minutes per mile over 34.40 minutes didn’t feel difficult to maintain, which is good. Being cold doesn’t always make for a fast run.

Going out at lunchtime meant that it was a lot busier out than it is in the early morning. There were quite a lot of cars, but they were all being quite considerate and moving over to the far side of the road to pass me. Maybe there’s something about Sunday drivers having more time, or being less harassed, than their weekday colleagues. I acknowledge each of them for making that kind of effort with a wave of the hand, and quite a number wave back. I suspect they’re also thinking “nutter” but as long as they don’t think “target” I’m fine with that. There were also 8 cyclists, a couple of solos and three pairs. In two cases the pairs were wearing what looked to be matching kit – not at all odd. I wonder if it’s appropriate to count them in a manner analogous to Magpies, but that would make 8 for joy. It wasn’t a euphoric run, but it was quite fun, so maybe that’s apt.

The answer is blowing in the wind

Tonight’s run was a little bit windy. Strange weather all round really, but it was the wind that captured the attention. Not really cold, it was quite humid, but really very blowy. It had not long rained; I drove home in rain, and there was a covering of cloud in varying shades of grey, but that was scudding along above the tree tops at a fair old rate, propelled by the wind.

It wasn’t blowing so hard that you couldn’t stand up, nor was it capriciously peeking round corners and caressing the skin. This was wind that meant business, it was getting from A to B and nothing, not even a short podgy runner, was going to get in its way. So the question that I pondered tonight was why, when running an out-and-back route, does it seem to be a head wind more than half the time? My current outing is approximately an backwards L shape, where I start at the bottom tip of the horizontal, run 0.6 miles, turn to the left by about 90 degrees and run at least 0.7 miles before turning and retracing my steps. So what strange weather phenomenon causes at least 3 of these legs to feel like a headwind? All I can think is that I register a head wind most noticeably on my face, I don’t register a tail wind on the back of my head in anything like the same manner. A tail wind would have to be significantly harder to be noticed to the same degree. Similarly, a cross wind may register as a head wind because the sensor faces front. I’m not going to claim that I clearly run fast enough to create a head wind in the manner of a speeding bullet. I’d like to, but that would be exaggerating.

All of which was going through my head as I ran out and back into various degrees of wind. Today was the first run at my next step up in run ratio – a move to 5 minutes run for every minutes walked. This is getting serious, the entire outing was accomplished in only 6 run segments; I forewent the last 15 seconds of walking I would have been allowed and ran into the end of the road. It wasn’t easy, I was checking the watch several times in each run section to see how far I’d gone – never quite as long as I thought I had is the generic answer. And the walk breaks were most welcome and not quite long enough to be entirely comfortable and rested by the time the minutes was up. But having said all of that, it wasn’t awful. I didn’t feel I was about to expire and I didn’t feel the need to add any extra walks. Another step in the right direction, even if that was into a head wind.