I may be pushing [milestone birthday], I may have a dodgy knee, a dodgy ankle and several (or more) mashed and pulped intervertebral discs, but I still managed a 5:55/km run this morning. It’s important to note that this is up hills and down dales – you don’t get to run on the flat in this bit of Cape Town. And I think I could go much faster on the flat.
That sort of pace might not be a big deal for you (especially if you have a car), but we each get to set our own targets and goals, and trying to get below 6 minutes per kilometre is a reasonable one for me. And I know that I’ve put it at an appropriate level because I’ve worked hard to get there and I nearly died a bit upon crossing my finishing line, yet it seems like I will actually still be able to operate at something approaching normality for the rest of the day.
All about balance.
Next time, I’m going to find a more horizontal bit of Cape Town, run on that for a while and see how fast I can go.
Following the debacle of the first lockdown run, I’ve been getting better at exercising and doing small circuits of the garden Chez nous.
Some upper body weights, some online core and HIIT classes, the occasional run, a bit of cardio up and down the steps. It’s mostly been great. I’m actually feeling pretty good.
There are a few things that still need sorting out though.
This was yesterday’s workout:
Not bad. Decent figures. That distance isn’t correct though – the first run was measured on GPS and sold me short. This one relied on my steps and probably overestimated by a couple of kilometres. But this was all about heart rate and time, not about distance.
It wasn’t about speed, either. And that was a pity:
How do you like them apples? What’s up, Usain? Can’t keep up, petal?
Yes. My maximum speed was 91.9kph. A speed I haven’t managed to achieve since heading back from Agulhas a couple of years weeks ago.
I’m faster than I look. Weird though – I don’t remember my face being dragged off my skull by the sheer, brute force of massive acceleration next to the pool. And Christ only knows what the braking distance is for that sort of speed. I’m surprised that I didn’t collide with a wall somewhere. My garden really isn’t that big.
There’s one other issue. Timing.
I’ve been timing my workouts by song. As in:
I’ll just do two more songs and then I’ll get a beer.
And when you know that you’ve only got one last song, you put in every ounce of effort you can. And then that last song turns out to be the 12 extended player of some 160bpm dancefloor remix by the Pet Shop Boys. And you very nearly die.
For 9½ minutes.
For the record though, the Pet Shop Boys are really good for getting you going while you’re exercising. Yesterday’s dance version of Love is a Bourgeois Construct got me up to almost 92kph.
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.
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.
This being South Africa, we don’t have the creature comforts of speedy internet at reasonable prices. Sure, could have speedy internet at extortionate prices, but then we wouldn’t have money for other essentials like food and Castle Milk Stout.
Still, the balance that we have found between internet speed and beer money should result in us getting speeds over twenty times as fast as we’re seeing this morning.
Remember my old adage:
Things go wrong. It’s how you put them right that makes the difference.
Our ISP offers help via live chat, whatsapp, email, phone and social media. But they have been conspicuous by their absence from every single one of these: crickets, rien, dololo, niks. South African customer service on point, once again.
And thus we are still in the dark about whether this is our problem (well, I mean, clearly it is our problem, but you know what I mean), their problem or some upstream component that has gone awry. Not that it really matters which of these it is because whichever one it might be, the internet isn’t working. Again.