Sunday, July 13, 2008

Not again?

No, don't worry.  The knees are fine.  I feel them, from time to time, but judicious stretching, walk breaks and preventative massages (and some painful stretches on my foam roller) appear to be keeping anything more serious at bay..  No what I'm referring to is that, once again, I'm absent from the blogosphere for weeks on end! How does this happen?  Oh yes, I'm busy at work (but have been for a while now) and I'm busy at home (what's new there?) but I was pretty on top of things for a little while there at the beginning of the year - it's the last few months that the wheels have really come off my blogging and commenting.  I'm WAY behind on everyone's posts and promise to try and catch up this week.  Man!  What's changed?  Well all I can think of that's changed in a big way is that I'm in training.  And on top of what is proving to be a more or less full-time job and the usual family / home / life stuff the days are completely full.  Packed to capacity!  Blogging just falls off the to-do list, most days. 

But not today.  Enough is enough and a 3 week silence is long enough.  Well you will be happy to hear, I hope, that I'm still on board for Chicago.  In fact, today's 12 miler tops off my first 3o mile week in this training cycle and for some time, altogether.  The week has also been a triumph in running planning after a week that was not.  Week 4 of my training program was severely curtailed by a hospital stay for my son in London.  We ended up staying the night which I hadn't anticipated and he needed me more than I had thought so I, effectively, lost 4 days of my program.  Which I hasten to say I have no regrets about - I have retained some perspective on priorities, you'll be happy to hear.  Without going into boring detail about my son what he has is ongoing but not life-threatening, so there will be more of these visits in the future.  One of the UK's best children's hospitals is in London (Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children) and he is very fortunate to be able to be helped there - but you can imagine this requires quite a lot of upheaval for us all.  Without the support of my best friend Dawn and my in-laws things would be really tough but we are so lucky with our network, both in London and at home.  And the support includes babysitting while running, when possible - due to my unexpected overnight stay in hospital I did not have a change of underwear with me, but I did have my running kit (always prepared for a run).  So I did a very Run Lola Run thing - I ran through the crowds of Oxford Street to get to Gap to get some clean underwear!  It was crazy but very exhilarating - just mad weaving through the people in my running gear and just powering on, with only my cash card in my shorts and then running back with a pair of white knickers in my hand.  I felt so much better after the run, the shower and the clean underwear! Ready to tackle the rest of what life had to throw at me.. 

And life has thrown me some good stuff this past week: 
- first - a new gadget!  Yes.  I have been running with my Nike+ for some time now but I am irritated with its lack of accuracy, the fact that the batteries suddenly die and that you generally have to deal with Apple / Nike glitches (and I say this as a passionate lover of all things Apple, and to a slightly lesser extent, all things Nike).  Just that the 10th time your iPod freezes up or you come back from a run and are told: "0 miles completed, your speed was 0 miles per hour" you get a bit frustrated..  I used to run with a Polar 625X with a footpod which I loved to distraction and which kept me well paced in every marathon I've run.  However, I wore it all the time and late last year the stop start button fell off.  I did try to get it reconditioned but it's quite pricey.  (If anyone would like to try to do it with Polar you are welcome to my kit - it's cheaper to repair than buying a 405 despite all the creative accounting I tried - I've got the footpod and the watch.  Polar needs to replace the battery and put a new button on it.  Just let me know if you're interested.)  Anyway, I decided to go for gold and buy a Garmin 405!  I had held off on Garmins before because I run under trees a lot (about 99 percent of the time) and had heard bad reports on GPS watches.  But I was reassured when I ran with Sally recently at home with her 205 and we never lost reception and apparently the 405 is even better. I have little to compare it with but love it!  Yes, of course, some glitches (not Apple compatible yet ;)) and I realise you HAVE to lock the bezel when running, but once I've managed this I'm quite happy.  I have been running with it since last week and I have to say I think it works well as a motivational tool as well.  So all in all - 5 stars! 
- and then, even better, I bought my husband a trip to Paris for his birthday with - tada - me!  So on Thursday we set off on the Eurostar to Paris (so civilised people - it has to be done) after champagne and scrambled eggs at the longest champagne bar in the world at the station in London.  An hour or two (and a few more glasses of champagne onwards) we glided into Paris and found our hotel.  We had 3 lovely days of strolling around, sitting on terraces, shopping, sightseeing and generally enjoying ourselves.  I even managed to get a required 6 miler in on Friday (instead of Saturday) and then get this - they have a wonderful new system of basically borrowing / cheaply renting bikes in Paris.  I won't bore you with these details either but let me link you to more information on this.  But..  this is Paris.  They have put in quite a few bike lines, the buses don't spew their exhaust behind them but still - Parisian drivers are not known for their courteous and moderate driving habits.  The centre of town has beautiful, gigantic traffic circles like Place de la Concorde where about 8 different "avenues" convene on one great big circle.  These great traffic circles are rarely roundabouts but instead appear to be where a high staked game of chicken is played.  The lights change - red, amber and then flash, instead of turning green, as if to say "it's up to you - you decide whether to go for it".  You find yourself moving forwards in traffic only to see another stream of traffic coming at you at a similar speed from either (or both sides).  Who gets across first?  We exercised some caution but sometimes you just have to go and trust they'll let you go in front.  Which, it has to be said, the drivers did.  I only got honked at a few times and believe me, in Paris, that is an achievement.  

Back home on Saturday night to piles of laundry, whiny children and domestic bliss - aahh how I missed it. But Sunday morning I set out for my planned 12.  I can't say it was easy - the good life in Paris does not really set you up that well for running - but I persevered and turned in a slow and hot 2:10 for my 12 miler.  Not breaking any records but hey..  I managed.  This week is a step back week (phew!) and my long run is 9 so hopefully a chance to catch my breath before I power up for the big weeks ahead.  I will endeavour to be a more conscientious blogger and commenter my friends - I haven't forgotten you, don't forget me...

12 comments:

Susan said...

Ah we could never forget you, P!

Glad to hear that things are better for your son. Phew! I think you handled the stay with as much grace as one could ever ask for! I honestly laughed out loud at the thought of you running to the Gap for new undies!!!! What a woman!

Champagne and eggs -- that, my friend, is the way to start a trip! I hope you took lots of photos in Paris. Please post!

MarathonChris said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. Seems to be a common theme amongst folks - not keeping up as much with blogging and such. The summer is a busy time for all - I think we all understand a few weeks away....

I am always happy to hear from you, but understanding when you are paying attention to those more important things!

Sounds like you are doing all the right stuff :-)

kassy said...

have your nike+ switched to a new stock of sensors :) since its still new.

akshaye said...

You have more than enough reason to not blog! I am glad your son is doing better.

Great job with the 12 miler.. I love the Garmin and have the 205 for sometime now. But I cant wait for it to die so that I can get a 405 :)

jen said...

Sorry about the scare with your son, but I'm glad he's going to be ok! Sending healthy vibes out to him.

The new 405 sounds wonderful but the trip to Paris sounds even better! You are so lucky to live so close. I would love to go there someday.

Great job with your training, keep up the good work!

peter said...

Ah gay Paree, we won't be able to keep you on the farm after that. Glad your training is progressing as that thing in the distance, Chicago, is just starting to materialize. Hope your son's condition stabilizes soon. Sounds like he's receiving excellent care.

ShirleyPerly said...

You may have ben gone for a while but not forgotten! Glad to hear the situation with our son sounds manageable and that your running is still doing well. How fun to have a new gadget. I've heard that Garmin has continually improved its GPS tracking so that issues that were common with their earlier units are no longer a big deal.

Thank for the update!

PLANET3RRY said...

Glad to see that you are still up and running! That's is great and a romantic trip with the hubs.

I love the description of the roundabout. They installed a small one near my house and it's very perplexing to some of the drivers... I love it though, but would be petrified of the one in Paris.!

So tell me more about this Polar thingy... it need a battery and button? What else?

Jen in Budapest said...

nice job - atleast you got out there and did 12 miles. I need to start a new training plan soon. Thanks for blogging. :D jen

Marathon Maritza said...

Hello Stranger!

Glad to hear that your training is going well and that your son is doing better!

The 405 is so great so I am glad you got it. I have a 205 that I'm in love with (don't tell my boyfriend!) so welcome to the lovely world of Garmin!

And I'm so jealous of your Paris trip...it's been 3 years already since I've been there but I remember everything like it was yesterday. I'm also pretty sure my hips are still remembering those pain au chocolats...what a great birthday present!

Jade Lady said...

Family priorities always first! Then clean underwear...then...it's ok for some champagne, and a trip to Paris!

Paris sounds like a nice little gift for yourself and your husband!

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