At the moment, I’m not feeling like a triathlete. I can’t remember the last time I swam in a pool and I’m not cycling often, but I’m doing what I can to keep fit. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve done a little bit of running, plenty of walking and have started planning a possible trip to the Netherlands in summer.
These boots are made for walking
I have done far more walking than running in the last couple of weeks.
In January, we had to put in an application for M to start school in September. We had to choose three schools. One of the schools is more conveniently located as it’s not far from our home and also quite close to my workplace. Unfortunately, it’s also one that we have a very slim chance of getting into.
Our other two choices are 3.5-5.5km away, so I’ve been considering the different routes we could take to get to them. The one that is slightly closer is our first choice… however, the most obvious route involves some busy roads and I would prefer for M and I to cycle or walk. I’ve had a good look at some maps and thought I’d found a convenient footpath.
Garden of remembrance
On Tuesday 26/01, I thought I’d explore the footpath. It looked like I should be able to get onto the footpath by Southampton crematorium, so I wandered over there to try to find the path. I’m not one of those people who loves exploring cemeteries, although I no longer dislike them as much as I did when I was younger.
I’ve never visited the garden of remembrance at the crematorium before, and I have to say it was a strange experience. I appreciate that grief affects people in different ways and that acts of remembrance are different for everyone, but some of the sculptural choices are unusual. Toadstools (mushrooms?) seem a popular choice, but I’m not sure why.
Strolls with Rachel
One of my usual running buddies, Rachel, has been out of action for a while. Aside from having to juggle to small children, she is pregnant with #3 and has also sustained a leg injury recently, so we’ve not seen each other much.
It was absolutely fantastic to go out for a couple of walks with Rachel. The pace was slow, but that meant we had longer to catch up with each other. I’m sure I’m not the only person who much prefers to see other people ‘in real life’ rather than simply on a screen.
Rachel and I have managed two walks in the last fortnight. Rachel also introduced me to Bassett Green Estate, which I had not explored before. It is one of several Herbert Collins estates in Southampton. These are beautiful garden villages that were developed in the 1920s and 1930s. They consist of terraced houses arranged around greens. Some friends from parkrun live in a Herbert Collins house. I’ve visited them before and was charmed by their lovely home.
Search for the path with Pete
I decided to head out again on a long walk with Pete. Unfortunately, he’s injured and is unable to run at the moment, but he is still keen to get out in the fresh air.
Pete and I decided to try to find the elusive path. I figured that if we started at the other end, we might be able to locate the path and then follow it back up towards the crematorium.
We had a lovely walk and a chat, but we were unsuccessful in our quest to find the path. When I’ve some free time, I think I need to study some more maps.
Hike with Sarah
I’m someone who thrives on social interactions, so the lack of opportunities to meet new people alongside fewer chances to talk with existing friends has been a challenge this year. A couple of new people have joined my team at work and although I’ve had some great conversations with them on Teams, it’s just not the same as sharing an office with them and the numerous interactions that brings.
Our neighbours recently had a baby. Stu and I saw them in the street whilst we were out tidying our garden, so we struck up a conversation. We already knew they were keen runners, so we started chatting about buggy running. As a consequence, Sarah got in touch with me and we agreed to go out for a walk.
It was so refreshing to see someone new because – let’s be honest – most people are running out of conversation. Sarah and I went on a brisk walk around Bassett. What I found really interesting was that although I had been on all of the footpaths and pavements before, the route was completely different from any I’ve done before. It was slightly disorienting to arrive at a familiar path from another direction but has inspired me to do more exploring in our local area.
More (not) parkruns
I’ve recently completed (not) parkruns #3, #4 and #5.
I’ve run down to the Common for the last two Sundays. Stu agreed to drive down with M and her bike so that she could practise cycling on her own. Most of her recent rides have been on her bike but attached to mine with the follow me tandem attachment. The advantage of them going there at the same time was that I knew I would be able to get a lift home.
I prefer running with other people to running on my own. I think part of that is because at the moment exercising with a friend is my only opportunity for a social life. To help motivate me, I’ve been listening to Grounded with Louis Theroux.
What route should I follow?
For most of my (not) parkruns, I’ve decided to follow the route of Southampton parkrun. Last week, I spent a minute off the side of the path fiddling with my watch. Whilst I was there I was annoyed to see a group of runners taking part in an organised race. They were wearing matching fluorescent orange t-shirts with race numbers pinned on the front. I’m guessing it was meant to be a virtual race, but by doing the run as part of a large group in a busy area, it reflects badly on all runners.
I set off and was pleased to see M on her bike (with Stuart) coming towards me. I waved to M. In her excitement she tried to wave back at me… with both hands. Unfortunately, she crashed, so I hurried over and picked her up before running on. (I must add that she wasn’t hurt and didn’t seem upset about the crash!)
As I rounded the corner, it was nice to see Dee. We used to run together when I was training with Olly.
I continued on around the Common. When I got to the turning point by the playground, I realised there was a large puddle. I didn’t want to run through it, so I ran towards it with the intention of jumping over the puddle. However, I pulled up like a horse refusing a fence. At that point, I slipped and nearly landed in the mud. I glanced around, realised there was no alternative, so ploughed through the water.
As I ran back across the flats, I was joined by Peter from parkrun. We had a brief chat. It was really nice to see someone related to parkrun.
I then had the tougher lap to tackle. I had to run back up the hill to the crossroads and then continue to the very top of the Common. As I got towards the top, I saw Lisa talking to another runner. I waved but continued on, as I wanted to finish.
How did I do?
It didn’t feel like a good run. The Common was busy and I wasn’t motivated, so I was delighted to discover that I had achieved a (not) parkrun PB.
My other (not) parkruns
I’ve also been out for a run with Kate. We had a lovely time chatting. We chose not to follow the parkrun route but did complete 5km on the Common, so we registered our runs.
I did another 5km on the parkrun route on Sunday. I tried quite hard and thought I was doing well, but have been measuring the distance on my Garmin rather than just running the parkrun route. Frustratingly, my Garmin didn’t clock 5km until at least 300m after the normal finish, so my time was exactly 33:00. I am determined to get my time back under 30 minutes by the time we’re allowed to run in groups again.
I secretly thought about doing RED January, but after having ankle and shin pains in the first week, I quickly fell by the wayside. Despite that, I didn’t do too badly.
In comparison to December, I cycled/walk/ran 80km more. I exercised 14 hours more than last month. Also, I nearly doubled my elevation from last month.
Something to look forward to
Of aspect of lockdown that I’ve found hard is the lack of events to anticipate. I’ve decided that I need to start making some plans even though I cannot be certain that they will go ahead.
I’m really hoping that it will be third time lucky for Castle to Coast triathlon. It is scheduled to take place at the end of July, so I need to make sure that I am fit enough to cover the distance by then.
I’m also excited about a possible trip to the Netherlands in June. My friend Roelie (who did the Scilly Swim Challenge with Stu and I) is celebrating a birthday and has invited us to visit. I really hope that we are able to travel by then. Apart from visiting my mum in Cornwall, we haven’t taken M anywhere since we went to Australia in 2019. It would be so lovely to catch up with Roelie. It would also be fun to go camping with a group of others.
Something else that has happened that I’ve been anticipating for a long time is the arrival of a new work laptop. I’m still in the process of getting it set up, but it’s making working from home so much easier. (My old laptop crashed several times a day).
Have you scheduled anything to look forward to?