Saturday, 16 February 2013

Catching up on a few things

Lots going on in the Rambling household right now and here's a quick round-up of some of these things:

The month of February

Many people here in England loathe February and I must admit it's not my favourite month.  We have had our fair share of snow and ice: none of which assist my running and cycling exploits.  I have, yet again, fallen behind with my training schedule but I hope I can catch up without causing an injury.

Work is tough, as normal in the world of criminal justice with various reforms underway; full of unforeseen consequences in the pipeline.  And yet the tougher it gets the more I think there is a purpose for me.  To be honest, I do sometimes fancy another role when I read of some of the dreadful things going on in our world: it's the injustices, the globalisation problems, the spectre of people trafficking and human slavery to name but a few.  But I'm just an ordinary person, what part can I play, who am I?

And then yesterday

I was sitting at my desk and looking out of the window.  It was a nice day - seemed pleasantly warm after the 3 inches of snow we had at the start of the week.  I needed to have a meeting with my manager and I spontaneously presented him with my annual leave card and took the afternoon off.  Why?  I needed a run and this was going to be the first opportunity all week.

Got home, Sauconys and running gear on and I was off.  I had no idea how long I'd be, it was one of those make-it-up-as-you-go-along runs.  Just after I got into the countryside I came a across a couple who'd managed to get their car stuck in the muddy entrance to a field and so I offered to help them push the car out.  I did just that and realised I'd built some weight lifting into my run.  Cool. As the run progressed I encountered some serious mud which from previous experience there's no point in trying to tip toe around it - just go straight through!  I thoroughly enjoyed the mud splattering around and slip-sliding around everywhere to bring some added fun.  A couple of hills and I knew my heart was pumping up to capacity and it felt just so brilliant!  I love those bits of interval training where, just for a couple of minutes, I'm going at full capacity.  It feels great and I know it does me good but the critical bit is not to over do it (I don't want to have a heart attack in the middle of nowhere).

I delighted in running through the last few bits of snow - as nice as this sometimes is, I hope we don't get any more snow this year!  The run in total lasted 100 minutes and I covered 8 or 9 miles at a steady long-run pace.  These are my favourite runs and I covet these times.  Long runs are brilliant in training for marathons and have other benefits in terms of physical and mental health.  

And the day before that

I went with my new Apple MacBook Air to the Apple store in Watford for my first 1:1 lesson in how to use it.  I am quite impressed with the Apple approach and their products in general together with the way they help dinosaurs like me (after all, I certainly need the help).  Even more impressive was one of their staff remembering I was writing a book for newbie runners and another book about how to give up smoking.

"Ah" she said "hurry up and get these books done - I need both of them".  She coughed.  She remembered and I was chuffed to say the least.  At least I have one customer lined up!

the effect of not running so much

A couple of things that I've noticed:

  • My weight has crept up in two weeks by about 5lbs.  Can you believe that?  That's two bags of sugar!  Hannah's birthday cake may have contributed to this (yum).
  • My sleep pattern has deteriorated.  If I don't run I don't sleep so well and then I'm even more tired in the morning.  Running makes me tired, I sleep really well and wake up totally refreshed.  Not running doesn't help at all.

Remember I mentioned a couple of friends a while ago?

Back in October (click here) I blogged about a couple of friends and I thought it might be useful for you to get an update.   Not much to share on Brian.

Adam on the other hand is remarkable and I admire him; he's going from strength to strength.  The latest is that through all the running he's doing he has lost so much weight and this has given him a couple of challenges.  First of all, what is the next challenge?  Answer - enter the MK Marathon (yay! that's fantastic as I'm running it as well) and secondly - what to do with all that surplus skin.

Dealing with surplus skin, it turns out, is a tricky thing for people who lose lots of weight.  He described how he has folds of skin dropping down here and there on his body.  He swears he's never putting on weight again so he's never going to grow into it.  The NHS regard it as a cosmetic issue and therefore will do nothing.  So Adam is paying privately for an operation in the summer and he's making a number of other changes in his life.  I admire Adam and people like Adam.  It seems for some people they need to be hit by some calamity or reach rock bottom.

He's gone through a difficult time in 2012.  He started the year off as a married man and ended up divorced, all within a year and completely unexpected.  He's turned other difficulties around to his credit.  Although there's no way he would have wanted those marriage difficulties, he has at least taken big steps to over-come some underlying issues and running has been such a simple - and yet effective - way of moving forward in life.


  1. Seems to me Adam's excess skin problem is a lot less "cosmetic" than women getting breast implants on the NHS; or worse getting faulty [privately provided] breast implants removed on the NHS. Adam has obviously worked hard to improve his health, his need is nothing to do with vanity, doesn't make sense to me.

  2. Hi Relayer,

    Many thanks for the comment - a good point. I think in an ideal world he should have the operation funded by the NHS and yet I wonder if it is a post code thing? The breast implant issue is an interesting comparison.... you could argue it is justified following an operation to remove a breast because of cancer (a mastectomy?). Otherwise I agree.

    Kind regards, Doug.