Fresh starts

Bit of a victory mile this morning…

…as the London Marathon decision (which was announced yesterday evening) worked out really, really well for me.

First of all, I will be taking part in the (Virtual) 40th London Marathon in a slightly altered form. Participants have 24 hours (from midnight to midnight on Sunday 4th October 2020) to complete the virtual race, and are allowed to take breaks. As such, I will be combining it with a challenge I’ve wanted to do for a couple of months but couldn’t commit to until I knew what was happening with the marathon – I will be running one mile an hour for 24 hours on 4th October! (My usual ‘mile’ route is closer to 1.2 miles so I will be running around 28.8 miles in total – more than enough to complete the Virtual London Marathon.)

I’m thrilled about this – it feels like a challenge I can really have a good go at this year, seeing as I run that route most days and could do so in my sleep – whereas my ‘training take two’ for the full marathon was not going as well as I hoped due to the general uncertainty of the pandemic, and I don’t think I would have run to my full potential had the physical race gone ahead this October. It also enables me to raise a bit of money for the RNLI (here’s my JustGiving page if you’d like to donate!), which I’ve not been able to do this year due to all my races being postponed, and it will be something exciting that I’ve not done before. I really feel motivated now, and am considering entering the Virtual Great North Run as well in order to give me a good training base for the challenge!

(I’m also quite looking forward to watching the special biosphere-protected elite race on TV in between mile runs on Sunday 4th October, as that will hopefully provide some inspiration!)

Secondly – assuming that COVID-19 is no longer cancelling races by next autumn – I will be running the next in-person mass race at the 41st London Marathon in October 2021 (they’ve delayed the usual April date to give the pandemic a better chance of clearing off). My place for the 2020 race was a ‘back of the pack’ place, which was generously given for free to all runners who took more than seven hours to complete the race in 2019, due to the problems that arose at the back of the pack that day. All ‘back of the pack’ places are being deferred to 2021 – so, unlike ballot place runners, whose places will be spread over a couple of years, I know for definite that I will be on the start line in October 2021 (again, assuming that COVID-19 is thoroughly in retreat by then!). I am really grateful for this additional certainty, although I do feel for other ‘back of the pack’ runners (and other groups of runners who won’t be allowed to defer to 2022 for various reasons) who can’t run an autumn marathon due to calendar issues.

In general, then, I’m on a real high about my running plans for the rest of the year. I’m even going to be swapping out some of my weekday one-mile runs for two-mile runs in order to build more of a mileage base! Following the 24-hour challenge, I’m planning to work hard on my 10k pace over the winter in the hope of getting that sub-hour result at the Sunderland City 10k in May (pandemic depending) and then start building up the distance again with the Edinburgh Half Marathon, also in May (pandemic depending).

(I really, really hope that we can have races as normal again in 2021 and that all of this planning will come to fruition.)

Anyway, in only-semi-running news (as far as I’m concerned walking is good training, and it was related to Geth’s running anyway!), Geth and I went for a nine-mile walk this afternoon to scope out a new section for Geth’s long run. Geth is hoping to run the Yorkshire Marathon in autumn 2021 (if we can get in – what’s happening with Yorkshire is a whole other kettle of fish that deserves a post of its own!), and so is gradually building up his distances for the long run he does every second Sunday, thus requiring additional loops for his route. It was a warm, muggy day and so we appreciated a stop-in at Brinkburn Street Brewery in south Byker – it was our first time in a pub since March, but we both felt really comfortable there. They are managing their distancing admirably – we only had to wait a short time before being shown to the beer garden, where we had plenty space to ourselves and didn’t feel encroached upon by other customers (some of the beer gardens I’ve walked past lately are not like this at all!). I would definitely stop in again on a quiet weekday afternoon, though I’d probably book next time as I think we were quite lucky to get a table.

A very quiet evening now, with both of us collapsed on the sofa in front of some YouTube!

A ‘pace run’ tomorrow morning, though after today’s exertions I doubt it’ll be that pacy. I’ll post my running vlogs over the weekend as usual and do another update on Monday.

Sober girl in socially-distanced beer garden
Back to the random flavours of Fentimans that you get in pubs (so possibly look out for some new Booze Alternative posts soon!). It was nice to have a bit of semi-normality this afternoon.

Today’s earworm playlist:

ACE+ – ‘Riki The Legendary Heropon’
Meat Loaf – ‘You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)’
Abba – ‘I Have A Dream’
Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’

Tenterhooks

The usual mile today…

…but of course the main running focus has been the nailbiting wait to find out what’s happening with the London Marathon rescheduled date. A few media outlets have picked up the story this morning as it seems to have been leaked that the mass race will be re-postponed to the spring and the October date will just feature a few elites running laps of a London park (which would make good TV but won’t really be the London Marathon in my view, so if that’s the plan I hope they call it something different!). Some sources are suggesting that the official announcement will be made this evening, while others are saying it’ll be 7am tomorrow morning.

Either way, I’m finding it very hard to be productive today, because waiting for this announcement is very distracting!

My ears are doing a bit better today. Last night, I tried the drops that came with the pack Geth bought from the chemist a couple of weeks ago, and they felt a lot more effective than the oil, so I’m going to switch to those for a few days. After that, I will have a go with the bulb syringe from the pack (gently!) if my ears haven’t fully cleared from the drops.

I’ll be spending the rest of the day further trying to distract myself. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be.

London Marathon 2019
I will be back on that start line… but it’s looking increasingly unlikely that it’ll be this October.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – ‘Rio’
Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’

Phone Box Thursday: Les Jardins du Monde, Royan

Bill recently sent me this phone box photo from 2006. The phone box is in the grounds of the ‘Les Jardins du Monde’ attraction in Royan, France (and probably doesn’t have a phone inside, as Bill is using a ’00s Nokia in the picture 🙂 ).

Red phone box
Red phone box, Les Jardins du Monde, Royan, 7th August 2006.

(Coordinates 45°62’91.1″N, 1°01’41.2″E – Google Street View won’t let me inside the attraction, but you can see the entrance.)

Link to a full view of this box (reportedly) from Alamy Stock Photos.

While the traditionalist in me would prefer all red phone boxes to have remained in their original locations in the UK and been maintained by councils for the rest of eternity, it is nice that some of the unwanted ones are going to good homes in other countries and brightening up the tourist attractions there.

Back to the UK next week…

Underwater

I managed two miles for my Wednesday run today…

…which is still not very far, but it’s more than I’ve managed on a Wednesday for weeks, so I’m quite happy about that!

I’m having a really bad time with my ears at the moment. Since I had to have them syringed eighteen months ago, I’ve been using oil once a month to try and keep them unclogged. However, about three weeks ago, they very suddenly became badly blocked (requiring my hearing aids to be cranked up to max volume and even then feeling like I’m underwater), and so I’ve been using oil in both ears daily to try and improve the situation. Some days have been better than others, but on the whole it’s not working and is really starting to make my ears itch.

As such, I called the GP this morning to see if there was any chance that I could come in and have them syringed again. They said that they can’t do that at the moment due to COVID (and have no idea when that will change), so I’m at an impasse, and I’m really miserable with these blocked ears.

Geth bought me a home syringing kit at the chemist the other week, but I decided at the time not to use it because the first three items on the ‘DO NOT USE IF…’ list printed on the back were:

  1. DO NOT USE IF you have a history of ear problems
  2. DO NOT USE IF you are inserting anything else into your ears, such as hearing aids
  3. DO NOT USE IF you have ever had a damaged eardrum

I’m normally a bit devil-may-care with these lists as it’s just medical companies covering themselves, but I know I do have to be careful with my ears as they’re in such a mangled Frankenstein’s monster state after everything that happened to them when I was a kid. However, I’m at my wits’ end, and so I’m tempted to have a go with the kit anyway – after all, it can’t be any more damaging to my ears than having them painfully powerwashed out with saline solution as part of the ear irrigation process at the GP clinic.

Another option I’m considering: Geth’s mum has suggested heating the oil before putting it in my ears as this ‘activates’ it. I’ll probably try that tonight, though I am getting really, really sick of putting oil in my ears now.

Anyway, in non-medical news, I was able to wake up early-ish again today, so I’m hoping to get all my work done in good time today and relax with some videogames this evening. I started playing Beyond A Steel Sky last night – it’s got some tough puzzles and I’m still on the first section, so I expect it will keep me occupied for a week or two.

Two more days until I will know for definite about the London Marathon, which is both nervewracking and exciting!

Paper Mario origami sheets
I need to find some time to make this Paper Mario origami – it looks like a nice relaxing project.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The ‘Sheila’s Wheels’ advert music from the ’00s
Duran Duran – ‘The Reflex’
Michael Jackson – ‘Smooth Criminal’
Duran Duran – ‘Rio’

Hints of autumn

A still-fast-ish mile on a mizzly grey day…

…which really made me feel autumnal. I run a bit faster in the autumn because the weather conditions are best (and also usually because it’s my last push of race training for the season – we are yet to see if my last two autumn races standing will actually go ahead, but things may be very different this year… anyway, autumn is still associated with zipping along through the crunchy leaves for me, among many other things!). I expect we’re still due a bit of nice weather this month, though, so I won’t start hunting for Hallowe’en chocolate just yet.

I also didn’t run until lunchtime because I had a deadline for a client today and wanted to get the work done first thing. In that sense I was quite lucky with the weather today, as the last few days it would have been too warm to run comfortably after around 10am.

I’ve otherwise spent today getting on with admin and housework, and am looking forward to some videogaming time tonight as usual. I finished Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World yesterday, which is a decade-old game I’d been meaning to finish for years, and am planning to move onto Beyond A Steel Sky this evening.

Same again tomorrow, though I’m hoping to be awake earlier.

Running shoe wear
My most recent pair of running shoes (bought in Inverness in March when we were up for the half marathon… the last week that felt normal) are starting to wear down to the foam on the edges, even though I’ve been alternating them with my previous pair. I think I’m going to have to ease up on the leggings-buying and invest in one or two new pairs of shoes as my next running purchase – running every day really does wear them down.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Manami Kiyota – ‘Satorl Marsh’
New Order – ‘Blue Monday’
James – ‘Come Home’
Traditional – ‘The Blaydon Races’

Running plans

Back to my Monday recovery mile today…

…and I’m getting really excited now about finally finding out what is happening with the London Marathon this week! I have two totally different sets of running adventures planned for the next couple of months, depending on what the decision is. We’ll definitely hear by Friday, apparently!

As I have done for the past couple of weeks, I’m taking today off – I got all of today’s work done yesterday so that I could do this again. I’ve got a couple of decent-sized videogames that I want to get into this week, so I should be able to get a good start on those today.

It’s the first week of August, so that means new writing and game creation projects. I’ll get cracking on those tomorrow!

Rainbow loungewear
This week’s new loungewear, continuing my ‘bright colours to cheer up 2020’ theme.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Dave Cummins – ‘Belle Vue’
Nathan Lane, Jason Weaver, Joseph Williams and Ernie Sabella – ‘Hakuna Matata’

RED day 214

(Just a quick update about the game I was finishing last night as I was a bit frazzled yesterday – I got it all finished and submitted to the competition I was doing it for. I’ll be able to release it and blog about it properly in a month’s time.)

Today’s earworm playlist:

Manami Kiyota – ‘Satorl Marsh’