Day 3 – the worst half hour yet

The worst half hour yet.

I decided yesterday afternoon – on a whim – to try a backyard run. Other people have done it, why shouldn’t I?

I shouldn’t have done it.

It was half an hour of boredom, extreme concentration, hectic effort and very little reward.

Boredom because it was the same thing over and over and over and over again. Concentration because there were trip hazards everywhere, one of which was mobile and kept barking at me and trying to eat my shoes while I was trying to run. Effort because there were so many turns and obstacles that my average stride length turned out to be just 0.65m. That’s against my average of 1.12m on a normal run. So despite what that very dodgy looking 9:30/km average seems to suggest, there was an awful lot of hard work going into getting myself around the front and back gardens. And little reward because all I felt at the end was hot, bothered and miserable. There was no post-run glow or exaltation. No feeling of achievement. There was just one endorphin. I wanted thousands.

Still, I did it, and I’ll likely do a couple more over the next three weeks, because even though it’s not very pleasant, it does still get the heart going and it does still get the Discovery points.

 

UPDATE: Experts don’t like it either.

The battle continues…

The battle between the allied forces of my diet and my exercise, and my love of beer continues to rage on around my midriff. On the plus side, I’ve been exercising pretty regularly: just about every day to some degree.
Sadly, the high temperatures and my lack of will power has led to some erosion of the benefits of that exercise, in that I have enjoyed some (or more) beers next to the pool, with dinner or – in one particular case – next to the pool with dinner over the last week or so.

It could be worse. I could be drinking and not exercising. Or, if you choose to look at it another way, exercising and not drinking. And so while I’m not necessarily getting all that I could be from my runs or gym visits, I’m happy enough. Everything in moderation. Including, it would seem, progress on my fitness.

But there is progress. A few centimetres here, a couple of kilos there. I’m getting there (slowly). And the great news is that the bits that were the most hurty before Christmas are not the bits that are (temporarily) hurting after my exertions.

This morning’s 5km was my fastest of the year: indeed, looking back, (surprisingly) my fastest since 1st September last year. Evidently, things are on the mend.

Even if I won’t be able to stand up once I finish writing this post.

Ja. I’m a bit stuck. Could someone get me a beer, please?

Hello? Anyone?

A different Sunday

My run this morning wasn’t great. I managed to pull back a bit of time at the end, but the combination of a gale force NorthWesterly wind, my reluctant legs and last night’s disappointing meal at the Blockhouse Kitchen at Uitsig weighing me down made for a tough five kilometres.

The country is on hold this morning, wondering whether the Springboks can make it through to the Rugby World Cup final. They’ve had something of a free run so far: since losing losing to New Zealand on the opening day, they’ve only played one team ranked inside the top ten. And that was Japan.
And only one team in the top twenty. And that was Italy.

Wales might be a tougher test, but there’s always a French referee on whom to blame any prospective defeat.

Me? Well, the rugby is on in the background, but I’m doing jobs around the house and feeding myself with coffee and anti-inflammatories.

Later, I may drink some beer and watch some football. I deserve it.

 

UPDATE: As soon as I clicked the publish button and glanced at twitter:

Like I said…

Run and rain

First run in a couple of weeks this morning. Not all of me wanted to help out. My legs and my lungs (two parts which I have always felt are fairly integral to successful running) were particularly uncooperative and I am already pretty sure that the former are planning an agonising protest for tomorrow morning. But you don’t get anywhere without putting in a bit of effort and while today’s 6km might have taken rather longer than perhaps it should, it did still get done.

All of which brings me neatly to last night. Football last night did not get done. One minute it was on, the next, there was a downpour and the courts were underwater and the game was called off. I took the kids to the trampoline park instead and we counted all the holes in the roof as I preemptively planned our evacuation route.

But there was a lot of rain. The last 24 hours gave us 70mm at Kirstenbosch and an absolutely incredible 186.9mm at Dwarsberg – slap bang in the middle of our dam catchment areas. Kapow.

Those of you who have followed this blog over the last few years really need your heads checking will recognise what really huge news this is.

But it seems that we don’t always realise just how lucky we are. The complaints about the winter weather in Cape Town seem to have been more vocal and numerous than usual [anecdotal observation]. But this weather is just the Old Normal. We haven’t had a proper Cape Winter for a few years now, which almost cost us our city. But it also retrained our memories into thinking that what happened last night and over the last few weeks is unusual or abnormal. It’s not. That is exactly how winters used to be prior to 2016. Grey, cold, windy, wet. Who could forget the warnings we used to be given?

The severe cold, wet and windy conditions expected to spread eastwards across the Western and Northern Cape provinces this weekend could be fatal for livestock and dangerous for humans, the Cape Town Weather Office warned yesterday.
Forecaster Carlton Fillis said rainfall of up to 50mm, combined with gale-force winds and temperatures of below 15C, was especially dangerous for livestock such as goats. People should also be careful.

Always take care of your goats. Always.

Speed

It was a cool morning. Not windy. Not hugely sunny. Ideal running conditions. I thought I’d drive to Rondebosch Common in Rondebosch.
Says Wikipedia:

Rondebosch Common is an open common of about 40 hectares (100 acres) in Rondebosch, Cape Town in South Africa.

What Wikipedia doesn’t say is that Rondebosch Common is also quite flat.

See, where I live is quite hilly. Not Sheffield hilly, but not far off. So if you go running around here, you will get some slower uphill bits where your calves are on fire and then some fast bits where your thighs die on the downhill.

And that’s great if you like that kind of thing, but it’s not conducive to getting a decent time and gauging your performance on a level surface. That’s where Rondebosch Common comes in. I’ve only run there once before – I did a Parkrun late last year – but I was keen to see how quickly I could go today.

Please bear in mind that I am not built for speed. I’m getting old, I have one dodgy knee and one dodgy ankle. Basically, these days anything under 30 minutes for 5km is quite an achievement for me. But conditions were ideal today and the ground really was rather flat, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Suffice to say that my first kilometre was the fastest I’ve ever done, and suddenly, anything seemed possible. The following four were slower (although notably, the fifth was quicker than the fourth), but were still pretty good and I knocked over 3½ minutes off my best ever (pre-knee, pre-ankle) 5km time.

5kms this morning took me 23:12.

I was also amazed.

The only downside of this supreme effort was the feeling that I was going to vomit up my lungs and then (obviously) promptly die. But what’s the point in just thinking that you might be able to do these things, and not actually going out and proving that you can (or failing, gloriously)? Pushing yourself to the limit every once in a while is something you’ve got to do.

That said…

Never say never, they say, but I’ll never do this again. I could run much, much further than this, but I literally couldn’t run any quicker.
This took everything.

But I did it.