28 December 2009

Merry Xmas

I hope everyone's enjoyed a good break.

I went for a run from my parents' house on Xmas day, through Hampstead Garden Suburb and up to the Heath. I was hoping to find Jonathan Ross' house for a nice Xmas photo/card for this site, but he seems to have scaled down his lighting efforts compared to previous years and it wasn't obvious which place was his. Instead, you get a well-proportioned terraced house in Islington, which I passed during another run yesterday. I must remember to revisit in the dark...

I'd heard that the Mike Skinner of the art world, Banksy, has been busy of late and the main purpose of my foray up the Regent's Canal was to discover his new pieces before they got destroyed. Unfortunately my fears were partly well-founded - the main piece (which is in the article linked to above) already seems to be non-existent, having been defaced by other 'artists', though I'm sure Banksy was aware that this would happen and I quite like the irony of the graffiti workman erecting graffiti, only to be graffitied over within days.

21 December 2009


I was a bit apprehensive as Rob and I headed off to Tignes due to my pig 'flu-related fitness problems but it turned out that I was able to deal with a bit of pre-Xmas skiing fine. There wasn't a great deal of fresh snow but it was very cold indeed (I reckon down to -20C at times up the mountain) so the pistes had a good covering.

We managed a morning with a guide late in the week via Rob's mate Giles, a very nice bloke who works for the Development Centre. The exceptionally friendly and, frankly, awesome Nicko gave us a bit of light instruction whilst somehow managing to find some pretty decent powder - the photo on the right was taken after a 10 minute walk from the top of the Tommeuses chair, before a very pleasant ski down into the Vallée Perdue.

All in all, the trip was a decent way to begin like I'm regaining my fitness. I obviously need to start running properly again but it was nice to get a bit of physical activity under my belt. Hopefully the current cold snap in London won't last too long, as the icy pavements aren't going to be very helpful...

06 December 2009

Animals VII - is you da fox?

It was never really part of the plan to run less than 40 miles in October and November but it happened.October was the foot problem. November saw what I suspect was swine 'flu plus pneumonia. Thanks to my truly appaling GPs, very little got done until relatively recently and it took until three days ago before I finally ended up with the right antibiotic for the pneumonia, a full three weeks after I originally fell ill. At this point I should thank my sister Jane and friend Refik for their recent medical advice, which was infinitely more helpful than that of what were supposedly "my" doctors. The latter will be receiving a bollocking, assuming the post still works these days.

My mate Al is a great believer that runners shouldn't get too obsessed with illness and injury. I can see his point to a certain extent - these are a natural part of running and you can't wait until everything is perfect before you tie up your trainers. Niggles etc are there to be run through rather than whinged about, although obviously serious injury or illnesses are something a bit different. Anyway, now that I've had three days of feeling normal again, I thought it was time to test my body out. Three weeks is quite a while to go with no exercise, notwithstanding the close-to-half a stone that I've lost (I'm now below 12st and am technically a "normal weight" for the first time since god knows when).

Turns out I'm OK - clearly the short run I did was tough, but I think I'll be somewhere close to normal relatively quickly. It's a measure of how far behind I am versus my expectations that I was hoping to be competing in a cross-country marathon on the Gower peninsula. Hopefully I'll be in a position to start running proper distances by the end of the month.