A different Sunday

My run this morning wasn’t great. I managed to pull back a bit of time at the end, but the combination of a gale force NorthWesterly wind, my reluctant legs and last night’s disappointing meal at the Blockhouse Kitchen at Uitsig weighing me down made for a tough five kilometres.

The country is on hold this morning, wondering whether the Springboks can make it through to the Rugby World Cup final. They’ve had something of a free run so far: since losing losing to New Zealand on the opening day, they’ve only played one team ranked inside the top ten. And that was Japan.
And only one team in the top twenty. And that was Italy.

Wales might be a tougher test, but there’s always a French referee on whom to blame any prospective defeat.

Me? Well, the rugby is on in the background, but I’m doing jobs around the house and feeding myself with coffee and anti-inflammatories.

Later, I may drink some beer and watch some football. I deserve it.

 

UPDATE: As soon as I clicked the publish button and glanced at twitter:

Like I said…

Run and rain

First run in a couple of weeks this morning. Not all of me wanted to help out. My legs and my lungs (two parts which I have always felt are fairly integral to successful running) were particularly uncooperative and I am already pretty sure that the former are planning an agonising protest for tomorrow morning. But you don’t get anywhere without putting in a bit of effort and while today’s 6km might have taken rather longer than perhaps it should, it did still get done.

All of which brings me neatly to last night. Football last night did not get done. One minute it was on, the next, there was a downpour and the courts were underwater and the game was called off. I took the kids to the trampoline park instead and we counted all the holes in the roof as I preemptively planned our evacuation route.

But there was a lot of rain. The last 24 hours gave us 70mm at Kirstenbosch and an absolutely incredible 186.9mm at Dwarsberg – slap bang in the middle of our dam catchment areas. Kapow.

Those of you who have followed this blog over the last few years really need your heads checking will recognise what really huge news this is.

But it seems that we don’t always realise just how lucky we are. The complaints about the winter weather in Cape Town seem to have been more vocal and numerous than usual [anecdotal observation]. But this weather is just the Old Normal. We haven’t had a proper Cape Winter for a few years now, which almost cost us our city. But it also retrained our memories into thinking that what happened last night and over the last few weeks is unusual or abnormal. It’s not. That is exactly how winters used to be prior to 2016. Grey, cold, windy, wet. Who could forget the warnings we used to be given?

The severe cold, wet and windy conditions expected to spread eastwards across the Western and Northern Cape provinces this weekend could be fatal for livestock and dangerous for humans, the Cape Town Weather Office warned yesterday.
Forecaster Carlton Fillis said rainfall of up to 50mm, combined with gale-force winds and temperatures of below 15C, was especially dangerous for livestock such as goats. People should also be careful.

Always take care of your goats. Always.

Speed

It was a cool morning. Not windy. Not hugely sunny. Ideal running conditions. I thought I’d drive to Rondebosch Common in Rondebosch.
Says Wikipedia:

Rondebosch Common is an open common of about 40 hectares (100 acres) in Rondebosch, Cape Town in South Africa.

What Wikipedia doesn’t say is that Rondebosch Common is also quite flat.

See, where I live is quite hilly. Not Sheffield hilly, but not far off. So if you go running around here, you will get some slower uphill bits where your calves are on fire and then some fast bits where your thighs die on the downhill.

And that’s great if you like that kind of thing, but it’s not conducive to getting a decent time and gauging your performance on a level surface. That’s where Rondebosch Common comes in. I’ve only run there once before – I did a Parkrun late last year – but I was keen to see how quickly I could go today.

Please bear in mind that I am not built for speed. I’m getting old, I have one dodgy knee and one dodgy ankle. Basically, these days anything under 30 minutes for 5km is quite an achievement for me. But conditions were ideal today and the ground really was rather flat, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Suffice to say that my first kilometre was the fastest I’ve ever done, and suddenly, anything seemed possible. The following four were slower (although notably, the fifth was quicker than the fourth), but were still pretty good and I knocked over 3½ minutes off my best ever (pre-knee, pre-ankle) 5km time.

5kms this morning took me 23:12.

I was also amazed.

The only downside of this supreme effort was the feeling that I was going to vomit up my lungs and then (obviously) promptly die. But what’s the point in just thinking that you might be able to do these things, and not actually going out and proving that you can (or failing, gloriously)? Pushing yourself to the limit every once in a while is something you’ve got to do.

That said…

Never say never, they say, but I’ll never do this again. I could run much, much further than this, but I literally couldn’t run any quicker.
This took everything.

But I did it.

Tenkay

I ran my first 10km for about 2 years this morning. This delay was mainly down to three reasons: injury, laziness, and injury and laziness.

There will certainly be faster 10km runs done today, but they won’t be run by me. For the record, it was never my intention to run 10km this morning, but a combination of some poor planning and a lack of concentration left me about 5km from my house, having already run 5km.
From that moment I didn’t have a huge variety of options available to me.

The 98% humidity meant that I lost almost 1.3kg in (just over) an hour. If that rate of weight loss continues, I’ll be dead in several days.
Thankfully, I intend to delay my imminent demise via means of a bacon butty, right now.

Five fine

After my problems with my knee at the beginning of the year (and then throughout the rest of the year, if we’re being completely honest), I’ve been working hard to put things right.

I’m happy to say that it’s paying off.

Some decent weight loss (still a work in progress), a huge improvement in fitness (also ongoing) and, this last weekend, a 5km run. Walking isn’t an issue, but that constant impact on the knee as one runs isn’t good. 5km might not sound like much, but given that I wasn’t sure that I’d ever be able to run again, it was huge.

I was dragged out to try a flat parkrun on the weekend and – without wanting to blow my own trumpet – I smashed it. No knee issues whatsoever, and I finished feeling that I could have gone faster or further if I’d wanted to.

Boom.

Sure, a little muscle stiffness here and there the next day, but nothing terrible. And so now I’m moving straight onto the next hurdle: a game of football on Tuesday evening. Running apparently isn’t an issue, but that constant impact on the knee as one plays football isn’t good. A game of football on Tuesday evening might not sound like much, but given that I wasn’t sure that I’d ever be able to play a game of football again, it will be huge.

Hold thumbs for great news on Wednesday morning.