"for the happy, the sad, I don't want to be, another page in your diary"

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Chicken Run

L has Monday off to recover from the Thunder Run but I’m at work. She gives the impression she spends the majority of her day off looking for lost balls on the park.

The diagnosis is that we have a puppy who likes to run off with a ball, then to sit and chew it. Whilst we also have a plonker (I assume she means our Crufts silver medalist) who likes very much to drop his ball in the longest grass he can find. As I well know, it’s difficult trying to keep an eye on both dogs at the same time but then she bigs up a chap with an allegedly sensible dog choice aka two spaniels but apparently he too was shuffling through the long grass searching for a ball. So spaniels can’t find balls either. 

I suppose the weekend must have gone ok because I’m not in an ankle cast, I even manage to fake looking mobile at dog training on Monday evening although any hobbling is down more to my blisters rather than my ankle.

That said I don’t cycle on Tuesday or any other day this week. I just couldn’t swing my leg over. L manages to swim, which she says is very therapeutic on the legs. I think I would have drowned if I’d attempted to swim but then I probably always say that.

Wednesday we take L’s Dad to The Yard on Pride Park for his 80th birthday and then the rest of the week is spent camping at my club’s dog show or Chicken Run as L calls it.

Oddly as we are camping both kids are camping too at almost the same time. Perhaps we haven't scarred them for life after all.

Thursday is set up day for our show and after that I meet L in Burton where we try the new
Weighbridge Bar which is in a weighbridge office. These are the types of places I deal with in my job but none of them have bars inside them. I think they should.

After that we stay on site as we have a bar there for the whole weekend although it frustratingly insists on closing at around 5pm every day.

The show itself goes well although the weather is terribly changeable. The heatwave continues throughout Friday but then decides to end in the middle of our show. Saturday brings 40mph winds and we have to suspend the show mid afternoon until things die down. I am tasked at 7am to help pull one of the show tents out of the hedge where it had come to rest. Sunday is pretty much all rain.

MD does ok in his runs, fourteen of them over three days. We don’t get any rosettes but he does enough that I am no longer considering his imminent retirement. He probably doesn’t want to hear that as I bet he was looking forward to it. 

(Sunday 29th July)

Sunday, 22 July 2018

TR24 2018

So it’s, TR24, as apparently they now call it and it’s the event’s 10th year. Happy Birthday Thunder Run. Thankfully last night’s rain was as brief as it was unexpected and we don’t get another event like last year’s when the rain simply didn’t stop. So the several pairs of grippier shoes that I have brought with me, just in case, don’t get to come out to play as the ground is like concrete.

Once again L and I are in a team of five and our team consisted of the completely injured (me), the just getting fit again after being injured (L), our seemingly a little more reluctant each year team captain, a first timer and the first timer's super keen husband who was drafted into last year’s team at the last minute and loved it. Frankly, we're probably all tempted to leave him to it.

There’s also the teams of eight, pairs and the truly mad folk who do it solo. As ever it all kicks off at 12 noon and for the second year in a row I get to lead off.

I don’t mind doing the first lap, as this is the only lap that you can really call a ‘race’. After lap one, you have no idea what agenda the other runners on the course have. E.g. which team category they are part of, how many laps they are doing\have done or whether they even care. Instead everyone eventually becomes a sleep deprived comrade in the trenches. Life long friendships and relationships have most probably been formed between people who met through such adversity at TR24.

As I take my place on the start line, I have everything well strapped but especially my ‘broken’ ankle on which I haven’t run in a month but which probably needs a least another month to mend properly. I tell a small lie, I did jog to the bus yesterday to test it out and that wasn’t pleasant. Fingers crossed I can at least complete a lap.

So off I go across the field in front of the crowds and up the first big hill through the trees. I get as far as the 1k point before some creature decides to bite me on the leg, my good leg, an insect I assume. Ouch.

So now I’m hobbling on both legs as I head downhill to where the course goes through the campsite before heading back out into the wilderness. My lack of training and the heat means I struggle from the off and resort to walking at several points around the ‘not flat’ course. The heat means I am never more grateful to see the water station at around halfway.

After which is the main section through the trees which I wasn’t looking forward to. This is where I came a cropper in the dark two years ago and this is where all the tree roots are. Therefore there are plenty of opportunities to re-fracture my ankle.

Finally that section is done and I’m climbing\crawling up onto the plateau above the main site before the route descends again and turns back on itself as it head back to camp. This is where I fell in the wet last year...

I make it unscathed back into campsite, past the pompom girls\boys and up the final incline. Then it’s back down to the finish and the changeover point to pass on the snap baton. Job done. 54:35. Which is slower than all three laps two years ago and slower than the drier two last year but I made it round.

I visit the St John’s tent to show them my insect bite. They are very impressed and hand me an ice pack that this time doesn't come with a spell in detention. Then with L due to head out as our number three, I go for a pint on the beer bus. As all runners know, hydration is everything.

When I go out again five or so hours later, it is to record a 57:50 and my night lap is a shocking 65:29 but this was partly because my head torch packed up at 6km with the most difficult sections still to come. I had to resort to running in other people’s lights which probably got me a bit of a reputation as a stalker.

Then I do an only marginally quicker 65:15 in the morning. I would loved to have done a fifth but the body said no.

In 2016 with a team of eight we manage 21 laps in total and with a smaller but potentially quicker team of five in 2017 we had high hopes of beating that. Then came the rain and we managed only 19. So this year we should have been able to have pushed it out beyond 19 but sadly we only made 19 again. This was due to some of us being half fit, having a novice who had to be cajoled into her second run having hated the first but then did brilliantly, actually managing an impressive four full laps and some questionable tactics.  

Still it was another fun packed Thunder Run weekend although a bit less fun packed without the mud and after which, after three years in a row, we handed in notice of our retirement from the event, at least for a few years.

(Sunday 22nd July)

Friday, 20 July 2018

Complex Matters

L is the one in London on Monday so I get to walk the dogs. Their walk is followed by rice and poppadum for breakfast. Yes we had a takeaway last night.

She is back in work on Tuesday but twiddling her thumbs because of an IT problem. It keeps rejecting her because her passwords aren't complex enough. That is, of course, the modern trend of insisting on passwords so complicated that no one can ever remember them so everyone has to write them down. Therefore breaking into someone’s computer is now usually a simple matter of reading through their post-it notes.

I bike on Tuesday and Thursday, in between I have a meeting with Guernsey Council on Wednesday about a new computer system. Unfortunately this is on neutral ground in Birmingham, so I don’t get to visit. It also means I’m back in time for dog training.

By Thursday, L’s password problem seems resolved but judging by her first message of the day ‘Let's run away together’ she’s still not having the best of days at work. One minute she’s vowing to be AF before the Thunder Run, the next she’s asking for a G&T to dip her chocolate in. Sounds nice though.

Tennis is on hold for a month. The centre is shut this week for a wheelchair tournament, it’s my club’s dog show next week and then we’re on holiday in Scotland for two weeks.

I get the bus to work on Friday. Figuring that I’ll save some energy for my one lap of the Thunder Run course. L suggests other, more controversial, energy saving measures that might extract two laps out of me. I’m not convinced, it’s Friday after all.

L seems positively upbeat about the upcoming weekend, she’s got the hours counted down. 26 hours to the start. 50 hours to retirement.

Then suddenly, strange wet droplets start falling out of the sky. What is this strange phenomena? Could it be that long forgotten thing called rain?

(Friday 20th July)