First some running (to justify the blog):
My summer holiday running went better than I had hoped with about 7 or 8 successful early morning hill runs of about 9.5 miles apiece. The success comes from the fact that I actually got out of bed early enough in the morning to do the runs. That sounds easy but it involves not drinking (too much) the night before. The time for the route dropped by about 12 minutes over the course of the holiday – mainly through increases in aerobic capacity (more up-hill running) and faster descents (leg strength). The times were unspectacular (unlike the scenery) but as I was barely able to run a mile about 6 weeks ago they were encouraging.
The route itself takes you for about 3 miles of hard climbing (power walking some sections because of the severe gradient), then a mile of undulating hills, 2 miles of 18% switchback descents (hard work on a dicky knee) and then 3 miles of flat running back to the start under the heat.
The last 3 miles is on part of a 100km race held every year in late May between Florence and Faenza. Those 3 miles are at about mile 47 of the main race and I have regular visions of myself running this race (the pace would be about the same – a slow shuffle!)
I had run the same route last year (at the same time) and was in worse condition so that bodes well for the next challenge. I don’t have a next challenge and this is leading to me being unmotivated which is leading to me looking at a 10k run as a massive commitment.
My brain is still on holidays.
Still, given how catastrophically my left leg went on strike in May and June of this year I should be a bit more sanguine about this lull in motivation and just enjoy the fact that I can run with little pain.
The post title doesn’t refer to my running (which, all things considered, is good-ish) but rather to my onward march to middle age.
My sore knee and greying temples (and slowly developing moobs) are the only outward sign that I am moving to the next stage in life. Internally however, I’m wearing a cardigan and tut-tutting with alarming frequency.
In the past few months I surprised myself by shouting at the TV when a scantily clad lady (who was on the TV) took a swim in a river in her knickers and a smile. I didn’t shout Phwarr, no, I shouted She’ll catch a cold if she doesn’t get out of the water soon. That’s not normal, is it?
Yesterday I was out for a nice 4 mile run when I passed an elderly, retired gentleman enjoying the beautiful Blackrock railway amenity walk. He was finishing his petrol station coffee and proceeded to chuck the empty cup into the grass verge at the side of the walk.
What ensued was me walking beside the litter bug holding the cup and asking him politely to put it in a bin and him telling me (less politely) to get lost.
Half a mile of that.
I used shame, catholic guilt, the feckless Irish and a whole host of other arguments to get him to dispose of the cup – all to no avail.
He had the sort of demeanour you’d expect from an Anglo Irish/Irish Nationwide chief executive – a neck like a jockey’s bollox.
Eventually, when I realised that the shame look you give a kid who shits in their pants wasn’t going to work on him I played my trump card : The internet! I pulled out the camera phone and said I’d put his picture on the internet.
That did the trick. He took the cup, dropped it into one of the vandalised dog waste bins, I thanked him and off I went.
In my mind’s eye I had taken on the role of Charles Bronson, the Lone Ranger, Robin Hood as the righter of social wrongs and the the local middle class middle aged vigilante.
I think I probably looked a bit more like Alan Partridge.
Hi-Ho Silver – Away!