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Life

Almost Midnight

It’s been a day. Somehow it’s already heading towards midnight, and I’ve only just sat down to write something. I know, I know – I could scratch today, and write something later in the week – but then I started thinking “it migh tbe nice to write every other day”… and that’s my slippery slope, right there. Within days I’ll be writing every day again.

So what DID I do today ?

I scraped myself out of bed early this morning, retrieved my bike from the shed in the back garden, and set off to cycle a few miles around town. Along the way I reached a really rather ridiculous hill leading out of town, and thought to myself “I actually feel ok – I’ll go up it”. On reflection, this was a really stupid idea, and my lungs and legs still haven’t forgiven me.

As I turned the pedals, eating up the tarmac, I could see a cyclist ahead of me on the hill. I kept my head down, and kept turning the pedals – slowly slipping backwards through the gears. I was gaining on him at quite a rate of knots, until I ran out of beans rather spectacularly. Still – thought I was doing remarkably well, and could have cheered when I saw him pull into a layby half-way up the hill. I pulled in behind him, and then realised he was just turning around – to go back towards town. He also looked as fresh as a daisy. And was about seventy years old. And I wanted to climb into a hole in the ground.

After a few moments catching my breath I continued on up the hill, with my legs slowly turning to rubber. The rest of the half-hour on the bike was remarkably easy after that – smiling at people as I passed them walking their dogs, as they no doubt thought “that idiot just cycled up the hill, didn’t he” (it probably didn’t help that I hadn’t shaved either – so not only did I look like I might die at any moment, I also had pretty good caveman stubble going on).

While cycling through town, I was overtaken by two cyclists on racing bikes. I convinced myself they were only faster because they were on racing bikes (I was on my commuting bike) – even though they were probably ten years old than me. I started grinning at my own idiocy, and before I knew it arrived back at home.

It’s the effort that counts, right ?

After a shower, a shave, a round or two of marmite on toast, and a coffee, I settled into the work day, and sat through a number of Zoom and Teams meetings. For the record, I think Zoom works far better than Teams, even though I’m not supposed to say that.

This evening has been all about updating my eldest daughter’s computer, teaching her how to use the terminal in Linux, and installing Steam for her. Fingers crossed the computer keeps working – it wasn’t doing a very good job of it earlier this evening.

Ah crap. It’s almost midnight already. I wonder if we have any cereal left? I need the energy for the morning – the PLAN is to do the next Couch to 5K run with ALL THREE daughters. It remains to be seen if they will all get up.

Categories
Life

Unfollowing Drama Queens

I’m sitting at the dining table this morning, opposite our youngest daughter who is getting on with school work. My other half is in the junk room, working. I have the day off. So far I have thrown a couple of loads through the washing machine, cleared the washing up, been for a cycle around town, and had a shower.

The cycling thing is my master-plan to “fix” my right knee. It’s been hurting for the last week when I run on it – I imagine because I’m nowhere near as fit as I was three months ago, and have probably put on weight while at home. It seems to be working so far. Thankfully the “Couch to 5K” running plan doesn’t really ramp up for another couple of weeks, so we’ll see.

Cycling around town was… interesting. If not for gale-force-winds, it would probably have been really enjoyable. As it was, it turned into a serious workout – but miraculously my knee was fine. I only stayed out for twenty minutes, and covered about 6 kilometres. I saw nobody throughout the ride, other than a car that got stuck behind me on an uphill stretch of the route. I imagine they were pretty furious – given that I didn’t see any more cars anywhere in town – and they got stuck behind the only cyclist they probably saw all morning.

One up-side to the wind? It’s making short work of drying the washing on the line.

This is what my life has been reduced to – washing clothes and dishes, running and cycling to avoid becoming enormously fat, and minding children to make sure they get their homework done. I’m starting to identify really strongly with the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day”. At least I’m working tomorrow – even if that does mean sitting in the junk room, instead of the lounge.

Following the Prime Minister outlining plans for the beginning of the UK lifting itself out of lock-down last night, Facebook erupted with a torrent of ignorance, misinformation, fear, and uncertainty. I swear – some people love nothing better than to set fire to the ground beneath their own feet, before climbing atop a soapbox of their own construction, and attracting as much attention as possible. For a change I think the government are doing a pretty damn good job in impossible circumstances – and now is not the time to start pointing fingers, blaming, or whatever else. How quickly people forget what it means to be British, and instead start whispering “but what about me though?”.

I blame the social internet, and the ability for people to foster their own insular bubbles filled with self-obsessed attention seeking idiocy. And yes, I realise there is a certain amount of irony involved here – given that blogs are of course insular bubbles filled with personal content – but they tend to describe life in a fairly even handed manner (or at least the good ones do) – not complain, shout, scream, and wallow. Bloggers tend to be highly introspective and reflective – rarely finger pointers or blamers.

I had to un-follow several people last night – if only to protect my own mental health.

Anyway. Here’s to you and yours, and another day in lock-down. I’m here all day.

Categories
Life

Running the Roads

Last autumn I took part in the “Couch to 5K” running programme at the local running club – to support my eldest daughter both with her fitness, and in her battle with anxiety. We joined a small intrepid band of new runners each week, and pounded the streets together every Tuesday evening. Over time the distances increased, and in early December we “graduated” – completing several organised 5K runs around town.

We had planned on starting to take part in park runs – a weekly 5K organised run at the big park in town every Sunday morning – but then the entire town flooded for several months, and then the Corona Virus hit. We stopped running in early December, and haven’t done anything since.

Having been in lock-down for the last several weeks, the children were becoming increasingly restless, so my other half volunteered me to re-start the Couch to 5K programme with them. In case you’re starting to see a pattern forming, yes – I get volunteered for a lot of things.

We made it through three weeks before a mysterious injury afflicted me on the way down the stairs one day. I was carrying a pile of towels towards the washing machine – as you do – when something suddenly hurt. That was last week.

This morning, we reset again – this time with the NHS Couch to 5K App on my phone – with Olympic champion Michael Johnson encouraging us throughout the programme, with his deep booming voice announcing “You’re doing great – the next run starts in 3 – 2 – 1 – go for it!”. Part of the reason for resetting is because a circle of acquaintances on Facebook have also started from zero with the same app – so we get to share our progress, and encourage each other.

My only reservation so far is that my knee hurt almost immediately this morning. I’m wondering if it’s just because I’m sitting down a LOT at the moment, and perhaps crucially, not cycling. On a normal workday, I would cycle 6 miles – that hasn’t happened since March. I’m going to try getting the bike out on the in-between days, and just go for a quiet ride around the local area.

Fingers crossed!

Categories
Life

Sunday Morning

After waking up a little after 8am this morning I was very busy daydreaming when my other half rolled over, woken by the cat asking for his breakfast, and murmured:

“Are you not going for a run this morning?”

I sighed. For some reason I woke up with little or no enthusiasm this morning. After wondering about maybe going running tomorrow instead, some unseen force scaped me out of bed, gathered together some shorts and a t-shirt, and delivered me to the bottom of the stairs.

Miss 15 leaned around the corner of the kitchen doorway, bowls of cat food in her hands.

“Shall we go for a run then?”

She shrugged – “I suppose?”

Five minutes later we found ourselves doing warm-up exercises in the warm morning sunshine outside the house, and then set-off through town. While running, it occurred to me that I don’t have to make conversation with my youngest daughter while running – she’s the polar opposite of her older sister. With Miss 19 I have to keep a continual stream of nonsensical conversation to take her mind off what she’s doing – with 15, I don’t have to do anything – just be there with her.

We ran eight sets of three minutes this morning. She sniffed throughout the entire run – I imagine hay-fever. The sun has caused everything green to burst into life over the past few weeks – suddenly the air is thick with pollen and insects, even in the morning.

After the run we took turns through the shower, and then made a late breakfast. She cooked pancakes, while I cooked bacon. Of course I say “she cooked pancakes” – it was more a case of she made the mixture, massacred the first pancake, and then I cooked the pancakes and the bacon.

It’s now almost lunchtime, and I’m not entirely sure what I might fill the afternoon with. It has already been suggested to me that I might spend some time with our eldest, but she just printed out a recipe to make sushi. Ah – so I’ll be cleaning up an unholy mess in the kitchen later then.

Coffee. That’s what I’ll do first.