I had to drag myself from slumber this morning, kicking and screaming, but it was 7.30am. On a Sunday! My espresso machine holds 4 cups, and that’s how much coffee it took for me to wake up enough to eat a banana, lace my shoes and run out the door.
There, I made it sound like an up-and-out, but there was a short delay as I sat down to read The Week. For those of you who don’t know the publication link it is brilliant! It arrives on a Friday morning and holds a synopsis of the important news and comment from the last week, from the UK and around the World that you can digest over a leisurely weekend breakfast. As a cynical soul, its approach of laying out the different treatments by the different newspapers really appeals!
This morning my attention was grabbed by two not totally unconnected things:
- the statistic that Britain’s 883 Quangos swallow up £167.5bn a year, which is roughly equal to the amount we taxpayers pay in National Insurance (£88bn) and VAT (£67bn) combined
- the news that Charlotte Mears has been enlisted by the Foreign Office to dispense advice on travel emergencies… such as broken fingernails or unruly hair extensions
This morning the weather was beautiful… magnificent in fact. A change in weather from last weekend did not stop me getting lost though… the telltale sign was when I noticed the words ‘which village is this’slipping out of my mouth as I ran past a dog walker. Plumpton. A second DW simplified what might otherwise have been a re-run of last weekend by sending me the easy way to the Downs from the other end of the village, where I permitted myself a short walk up the scarp slope.
Three years ago, towards the tail end of the training for my first (and only) marathon, we entered a race called the Brighton 20: essentially 20 miles around the Downs behind Brighton. My aim was to run every step of the way, which I did, eventually. It is surprising how many club runners you can pass on the three scarp-slope climbs no matter how slowly you’re running (and their whoops of encouragement really feed the spirit), but I now understand how they then have the energy to power past you again at the top! I now also walk up the steep bits!
Despite the heat today, the going underfoot was pretty soggy in places. I used to hate cross country (memories of running at school?), preferring road running until my friends forced me to try it again. Now the challenge of sliding along through the mud brings a grin to my face and puts core stability to the test. I have twice now, hilariously, left my shoe in the mud and had to slop back to it with a muddy sock, but that adds to the fun in my book.
Today’s run was just over 21km (13.something miles) and although 2 hours 20 minutes is not a great half marathon time, even for me, it is better than the last time I ran one… at four hours and 13 mins! Mind you. I had only just reached the top of the hill after 2’20 so I would plead mitigating circumstances. Any comments of support? Dai?
Well that’s probably it for another week. Other than to mention that I did have a run planned with Nick one morning next week, but he’s recovering from a couple of cracked ribs after an amusing head-on collision on his birthday, poor guy. I understand it was 1.00am at the end of a brilliant, raucous, medieval themed party and both he and the head concerned were on the bouncy castle at the time. ‘Nuff said?