Frantically Doing Nothing.

I’ve been getting a bit frantic lately. As usual. I’m in a bit of holding pattern at the moment. I’m still on the recovery phase of my training, work are still only giving me 2 shifts a week, and I don’t need to buy anything so I’ve nothing to obsess over/ fixate upon. I’ve got all this free time while I’m not doing much training, next week I start a 60 mile, 6 days a week training plan and work will be kicking in very shortly. They put up a sign in the office about new procedures that are going to be implemented as the new machinery comes online, and the agency have sent a text asking for anyone with holiday plans from July to let them know now. So they are clearly expecting to be snowed under with work. I was looking at it, it’s only been 5 weeks of 2 shifts a week. It seems like forever. I was talking to one lad about it and he said he’s had a couple of weeks with no work at all. When it all kicks in and I’m trying to fit runs in around shifts this will seem like a great time.

I was bored and looking at other work today. To my surprise there are other jobs out there now. There wasn’t anything comparable to my current job a few weeks ago. There was one by which I was really tempted. Monday to Friday, 09.00- 11.00 starts, trunking to Bridgewater (Somerset) and back. But it runs from Skelmersdale. So, buy a motorbike (yay!) commute 40 minutes in, 12 hour shift, 40 minutes home… Oh. Damn. No training, no life, just a good start time and a nice trunking run. I did that for Booker when I was on the Didcot run. Tons of money but I was getting literally depressed, it’s just not worth it.

I’ve bookmarked the site that’s advertising the good jobs, just in case, but I’ll wait it out at my job. As the manager said, they didn’t spend all those millions of pounds for the machinery not to have it running flat out. When it goes online, and they start importing more and more work, I reckon I’ll be fighting with the agency to get my days off again.

As I say, last week of (shortened) recovery, next week I get to test out Camille’s plan.

It’s been a week since the above and I’m training again and I’m out of the manic phase. I was driving Wendy crazy with it. And myself, obviously. Strange how these things are all-consuming, but the second it’s over you forget all about it. I’d forgotten until I came to update my blog and read it. Like the plague weakness bouts. While I’m OK I make training plans and don’t give it a thought. Within 24 hours of it smacking me again I’m thinking “this is my life now, it’s never going away. Just one bout after another. I can’t bear it.” A few days later, all gone, brain back to normal. I wonder if it affects your brain, or it’s just so enervating you are naturally sad? Or whether I’m just a wuss? Who can say? It’s odd.

First week of my new training plan and I was excited to try it out. I thought it was going to be too easy, but it seems pretty good training, now I’m doing it. Hopefully it will be a bit kinder on my knees as well.

First impressions are: 6 days a week training, about 8 miles (easy pace) each day, with a midweek specialty day (sprints or hills or whatever) and a long, slow, run at the end of the week. Mostly easy running, but it’s all building miles.

Now I’m back to training I’ve started my diet again. I was slacking and my weight was creeping up again. I need every advantage if I’m going to reach my goal for this year. I’ve already got over a stone less blubber to have to carry for 26 miles. Sadly there is more to go. I’m trying to do it sensibly now. It’s not starvation, lots of healthy stuff, and I’m trying to max out my daily protein. This is good for repairing damage and building muscles. Also it stops your body from eating your muscles as a food source. So it’s all win.

Hmmm. I took a week off training because I was getting sore knees. Doctor Google thinks it’s runner’s knee, which, on the bright side is nothing broken, just inflamed and sore from overuse. It’s more of a worry that it could be an indicator that it could get worse. Anyway, I took a week off. I’ve come back to training this week to start Camille’s plan. Already my knees (particularly my right) are playing up. It’s clicking every time I bend it and gets uncomfortable if I let it sit in one position. It woke me up last night. Not good.

I was fretting about it today on twitter. Someone was saying go and see the physio again, but I was putting it off. It’s a hike to Stockport and I am scared he’s just going to say total rest. I’ve only got 21 weeks until my target marathon. They said that whatever the physio says it’s best to do it immediately, to give myself the best chance of recovery so I can still try and smash my goal. There’s no arguing with that. I’ve emailed him to see when he can fit me in for an appointment.

I was limping around for 2 years on a battered hoof, he sorted that in one session. He might be able to do the same again. If I have to rest, best to do it now. And at the very worst, I can always ignore him and grit my teeth for 6 months.

In other news, my purge of all that is useless clutter continues. I’ve sold my sax. I’m keeping my clarinet, it’s only cheap, it’s quieter to practice on, and it’s got a really nice sound. And my big problem is I can’t count time, that applies to any musical instrument. Might as well be crap on a quieter instrument.

I advertised the sax on eBay. They said to list it with £6 P&P charges. I thought it would be more, so put it at £15. It sold, yay! I went to print off a postage label, the cheapest I could get (because the sax and case is over 5kg) was £83! I googled the guy’s address to see if I should just run it over. Actually in the sea, off the bottom of the map, by Brighton. He lives in a boat in a marina. I did the maths. With the current ridiculous fuel prices, 10 hours driving (round trip), and over £100 in diesel!

*sigh*

Chalk another kicking up to experience.

Tomorrow I’m going to sneak down to the boat club, assemble my boat, take some pictures, then get that sold. That is absolutely collection only.

It’s not that we need the money, it’s just all this stuff is hanging around, unused, and mildly stressing me with it’s mute reproach.

Talking of, I’ve got 3 shifts next week. I don’t know if the sorting machinery is coming online, or it’s just a one off. It can’t be long now though. Then I’ll be swamped with work. It’s feast or famine.

I finally manage to bag Boris.

Poor Boris. But rats can spread lethal diseases, so he had to go. On a post about shooting them it said to be sure to pick them up with a shovel so you never touch them directly, they are potentially that dangerous.

I’ve bought some fancy pellets that are consistently accurate and zeroed my telescopic sights. I set five 5p coins up (smaller than a 1p) and shot them down with 5 (supported) shots, so it will be clean kills, at least.

I have been building the boat club up in my mind. It had assumed monstrous proportions. I don’t know why, but anything I put off just grows and grows.

Anyway, the boat club sent me another email, about providing proof of boat insurance and such, and it spurred me into action. I went to the club on Monday and took pictures. I’ve listed the boat on eBay and it has already got a bid, so it has sold. Now it’s just a matter of how much I get for it. Then meet them at the club so they can collect it. Phew. That will be a huge weight off my mind.

Adrian, the physio, has given me an appointment for a week on Monday. He said, from what I described, it sounds like an inflamed tendon. That sounds very treatable.

Yesterday was my birthday, I woke up with a sore throat, by the end of the day I was croaking like I was losing my voice, weak, and feeling pretty rough. Marvelous. I didn’t have any work today or tomorrow, but I put myself as unavailable to make sure. I was a bit grotty when I got up, but I think I’m OK again now. My throat is still sore, but that’s nothing.

I have a new idea/ pipe dream. I’m going for the sub 3 marathon this year, next year I’m doing a 50 mile and a 100 mile race. Depending on how I take to ultras, I’ve thought of a decent challenge:

The TransPenine Trail (TPT)!

Coast to coast, Hornsea to Southport, 208 miles, 2,054 metres of climb.

The TPT is mostly canal paths and old train tracks turned into paths. With the minimum of roads to link it.

That would be a hell of a challenge. The thing is, it passes within 3 miles of our house, so it’s kind of rude not to.

We’ll see. I might hate ultras with a passion. I’ve only done one 50 mile race and it was hell on Earth. To be fair I didn’t follow a structured training plan, so I went into unprepared. The training plan someone recommended for next year has 30 miles on the Saturday, 20 miles Sunday. I never did anything like that for the 50. My longest run was 40 miles, but I never went out to pound out another long run the day after. That teaches your legs how to power through exhaustion. Also I’d trained to run 8 minutes/ walk 2 (it uses different muscle groups so keeps you fresher, apparently) but when I got to the race nobody was walking so I just kept going until I died. Stupid.

The TPT would be a huge challenge. Not just the legwork, but the logistics of it. Trying to navigate through the night, solo. Food, water, somewhere to sleep for a few hours, I’ve no idea how I could do it. That’s part of the fun, working it out. Most people do it as part of an organised race, or with a support crew. For now it’s just a wild idea. I’ll see how I feel after the 100 mile race.

I’m having a lazy day today as my throat is still rough. Back to the training tomorrow.

Right, some twitter and I’m done.

We had the state opening of Parliament

The tories were as atrocious as usual. There was a picture of a laughing tory proudly opening another foodbank.

In the last election before the tories disenfranchise 4 million voters they got absolutely pasted.

I’ve asked the housing association for this staircase upgrade.

Later,

Buck.

‘Phone.

Not being able to see the ‘phone I’m just guessing here, but here’s a few things to try.

Get to the part about the Wifi.

Turn it off and on again as described, wait for a second and your Wifi should appear at the top of the screen, make sure you are clicking on yours, not “Grogu is a Sith”. Yours should be written on the back of your router.

Before I changed the name of our to Grogu is a Sith it was BTHub6-F9WH

Then when it asks you, enter the wireless password (ours is kJLeiYGeuht, note the J, L, Y and G are all uppercase)

Enter it.

Press back button or the square one to return to the home screen.

After a minute you should see you are connected to wifi.

The left hand icon at the top right is your wifi strength, the bars, two over, is your ‘phone network strength (for when you are away from wifi).

If you have wifi icon you are connected.

To test it, swipe your home screen to the left of the right until you come to a search bar.

If you’ve not got one, pull up from the bottom of the screen and look through your apps. Click on the big G (might have to swipe left or right, might not be on the first page)

t

Tap on that, then in the search bar, type any old rubbish, if it shows results, you have wifi.

Then go into your Gmail. That will ask for you email address, enter it, then the password for Gmail.

That should be it. Try ringing your landline.

Don’t fret about it. Ask one of your church chums to help you out. It’s a lot easier to do when you can see what’s happening. Ask them to put Duolingo spanish, app on and Whatsapp. Then you can get on Wendy’s prayer group.

Once it’s set up it’s pretty basic. It’s getting it set up. Again, don’t worry about it.

Here, to cheer you up.

I asked Twitter if anyone had done the 100 mile run I have my eye on next year, and if so, what was it like. It’s 4 different 25 mile loops or legs.

Lots of encouraging and positive reviews from the men and women who’d done it, then this:

Momentous Announcement!

I’ve given up on motorbikes.

There. I’ve said it.

I had the urge to change to a cheaper bike. I was thinking a Honda VFR750, I’ve had a few of them. They are relatively cheap, brilliant handling, very comfortable and have an absolutely bullet-proof engine.

I listed my bike for sale and was driving myself mad, frantically weighing the options for my next “forever bike”. I had a bit of a shock when I stumbled across an article saying the new standard petrol, E10, being 10% ethanol (sugar based bio-fuel) gums up the jets on carburetors, rots the rubber seals, and soaks up water vapour so will rust your tank from the inside. Super. Modern, fuel-injected, vehicles are fine with it. Not so, ’90s carb-ed, VFR750s. Apparently some petrol stations are continuing to supply super unleaded, which is just 5% ethanol. Bit of an eye-opener though.

Anyway, I was going frantic, weighing different options. Then it struck me, whichever bike I get I just don’t need it, and won’t use it. And if it’s got carbs even 5% ethanol will be damaging it if it’s not used.

Just like that it was over.

A dealer has rung me up and agreed to pay the full price I paid for my Daytona, I’ve listed my fancy leather jacket on eBay, and cancelled my knee-down training course and got a refund. I’m keeping my old, workhorse, leather jacket, (trousers, lid, gloves, etc). If I have to get a job where I need to commute I’ll be getting a bike again, but for now, at the very least, it’s over.

And, I’m selling my boat.

Yes, I know, Wendy was right all along. *sigh*

It’s just one more club to which I can’t face going. As with every martial arts club, triathlon club, running club, Russian class…

I’m screwing up my courage to return to the club, assemble the boat, take some pictures, and get rid of it on eBay.

Clean sweep. Rid of everything that’s costing me money and I’m not using.

Then I can relax without the threat of the boat club weighing on me and without an expensive bike, looking pretty and being pointless, sat on the front.

I have my carbon fibre push bike and fancy resistance trainer collecting dust in the shed, but I’ve already paid for them, and I’ll doubtless swing around to triathlon again. If I sell them at a loss I’ll only have to buy them again next time.

Which brings me around to training again. I’m supposed to be on a 5 weeks, light duties, recovery phase. I’ve still not got much work (supposed to be kicking in this month) so I’m bored witless. I’m doing weeks 1, 3 and 5 of the recovery. That’s more than enough. The plan I bought from the world record holder, Camille Herron, is 16 weeks long, so that gives me 7 weeks between recovery and starting it. To make sure I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket, I’ll start her plan and do it for the 7 weeks, then try a flat-out half marathon. If I’m not faster than my last Half I’ll switch back to the Advanced Marathoning plan. It’s brutal but it gets the job done. I’m optimistic about the sub 3 because even though I was really struggling against the wind at Blackpool, when I turned out of it at mile 24 I managed to put in a 7.03 for mile 25! That’s 10 seconds slower than sub 3 pace, at mile 25, after tough wind. Assuming I can crack sub 3, then I have to crack on with ultra training for my 50 mile race in April. And, while I’m in ultra mode, I may as well do a 100 mile race later in the year. That’s the benchmark distance for a ‘proper’ ultra.

I thought ultra training would be incompatible with (fast) marathon training but I was just reading a book that says the big mistake most ultra runners make is focusing on running a gazillion miles every week, really slowly. It said the best thing you can do is concentrate on shorter, more intense, leg and lung burning runs. Those give the most fitness improvements. So I could throw in a marathon or two next year as training.

Once I’ve done the 100 miles, I think I’ll concentrate on faster and faster marathons. Though I’m not ruling triathlon out.

By the way, I know it’s easy to think “you might have a heart attack and die at your age” (as my mate warned me would happen if I tried triathlon, 10 years ago) but there have been some disturbing things going about lately. A twitter chum who is currently in Australia wasn’t allowed to give blood because she was resident in the UK in the 90s and could still be incubating Mad Cow disease (it can take decades to appear, apparently) and I’ve also recently read post covid, people are contracting Pulmonary Fibrosis, both of which are truly awful ways to die. If I was to keel over and kiff it while out on a run, I’d be OK with that. It’s quick and clean. Bish, bash, bosh, done and dusted. I’m not saying I will, or it’s even likely, but if I should that’s OK. Hmmm. Not sure that works as intended. The health benefits, mentally and physically, outweigh the slight risk, but I was just saying in the unlikely event of a heart attack, it’s not the worst thing that could happen.

Anywho…

To kill the time I’ve started on my clarinet and saxophone again today. Wendy was saying earlier I have huge amounts of determination and I stick with it and get it done (about running and such), I said I haven’t, otherwise “how come I can’t play the sax?” She said musical instruments, unlike running, are 80% talent. You can bang away forever, if you’ve not got the talent it just won’t work. I think that might be painfully insightful. I assumed, like in everything else I do, I’ll start off crap, (everyone does) put in the hours, the sweat and tears, and master it. Perhaps I just never will on this one.

Right, enough for now.

Later,

Buck.