Saturday, 26 December 2009

This flu's a real swine

I've been lucky; I've hardly had any serious illnesses in my life. Which makes this current bout of flu a bit of a shock. I've never felt so rotten in my life.It started with the temperature, with the skin almost too hot to touch. Curiously, I seem to have lost the ability to sweat. So no natural cooling. It's like have permanent heat stroke.No wonder I've had a headache for the last 6 days and nights. A symptom compounded by the sinus congestion.Which in turn resulted in me tearing a nasal blood vessel while trying to blow my nose. So now I haemorrhage if I forget and attempt to remove the gloop too vigorously. 
I've also had the nausea that the NHS website said you might get, so I'm not all that interested in eating. So I've got weaker (I lost 2.5kg in 4 days). And despite trying to drink water by the pint, my saliva has the consistency of wallpaper paste. This I find extremely distressing and in turn makes eating difficult, and contributes to the nausea....
I'm taking paracetamol and ibuprofen, which seems to help a bit. I've not gone down the 'Tamiflu' route, because we have been snowed in here, with eight inches of snow, and lots of ice, on the lanes.
'In most people, the disease is mild', says the Govt. I guess I don't fall into that category. But again, maybe this is what mild is like. As I said, I've been lucky. Until now.

Monday, 21 December 2009


I've been a bit lax in my blogging, so here's an update: Did a fierce gym session last weekend, then travelled to Cheshire for work. Whilst staying at the Travelodge (I live it up) I did a smashing 3.5 miler that was so familiar I could have done it with my eyes shut. As it was I did it in the dark, cocooned in my bubble of headtorch light. The route was one I've done well over a hundred times before. For about five years it was our default lunchtime run from work. We callled it 'The Lollipop' because it starts with a lovely flat, straight lane for 0.8 mile (the Stick) followed by an undulating loop of about 2 miles which has hills steep enough to curse but short enough to be grateful and then back along the stick. The challenge was (for me) to do it in less than 30mins. My PB (and we're talking 5 years ago here) is 27.27. So I was pretty chuffed to do it in 29.14 with 5 years more creakiness in the limbs.
Smileyrating: 8/10

Remember those kids stories about cute tractors? Here's the model:

I love the wonky headlamp eyes! This is just at the start of our lovely River Loop, which Mags and I walked yesterday.  It's amazing how a layer of snow transforms somewhere familiar into somewhere magical.
Here are a few more images from the walk...

Looking back. The river runs along the line of
dark trees on the left.   

Looking ahead.The route follows the line of
trees going off top left

The river, with snow covered rocks.
There were sheets of ice where the water was more tranquil

I travelled with ultracollie last week on a train full of coughing people. Alas, I am now going down with something horrid. Swollen eyes, aching joints, shivers, sore throat deep into the chest. So I shan't be running for a while. May I wish all my readers a very Happy Christmas and that all your plans come to fruition in the New Year.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

'Aint LEDs brilliant!

Those clamped to my forehead in my head torch anyway. Tiny little things. Dead light. Tichy batteries only required. Super, slightly eerie, even, blueish light that hides the slopes, flattens the road, shows up the eyes of animals and your exhaled breath - making you exhale sideways like a shifty spiv grabbing a crafty drag because if you do it straight ahead you can't see anything and your glasses steam up. A truly great invention. Sends ones brain off reminiscing about torches and bike lights of old; Pifco anyone? The cause of many a curse.

And that, my friends, was my thought process for the first half mile last night as I eased my way round the lanes in the dark. It was great. I like the feeling of easing along in your own little bubble of light, being cradled by the darkness, seeing the occasional star peeking through the cloud, and the steam from the local paper factory rising in an incandescent plume, lit from the skylights beneath the chimney.

I learned the vital trick of avoiding the dark patches - they were holes full of water. I muttered to myself as I tried to create a Christmas story for grown-ups for a writing group I'm in (I didn't get very far). But mostly I toiled onwards and upwards as I discovered a super, hillyish route along beautifuly quiet lanes. It was shorter than I imagined; I was only out for about 40 minutes, but it was a great end to a day spent hunched over a keyboard. Next time I'll extend it.
Smiley rating 8.5/10

Thursday, 3 December 2009

On shame and Scotchlite

Thanks to Ultracollie and Runningbear I've just had a brilliant run. Their blogs are so full of dawn, or pre-dawn, runs, sparkling PBs, glorious sunrises and all round chipperness that I was ashamed of my inability to (a) get out of bed on these dark mornings and (b) to get out in anything other than perfect conditions.
I'm one of nature's hibernators. Much as I'd love to be reincarnated as a dolphin or some other free spirit, I reckon dormouse would be more likely. So the dawn jobs are going to be a stretch to say the least. Nonetheless, the 'bang a headtorch on and off you go' ethos struck a chord. So I did just that. And I'm incredibly glad. Firstly because I got to pet our neighbour's incredibly cute cocker spaniel puppy (he's called Jarvis - great name), and secondly because I got to enjoy a beautiful moonlit half hour run up the hill and back again.
I hurtled to the bank and back on my bike yesterday, and I could feel it in my legs today. But it mattered not a jot. It was great. Only 5 cars passed me (and two of them were as I approached a layby) so my Scotchlite-adorned running gear came into its own and my way was lit by a great big yellowish moon which looked particularly dramatic with shards of ochre-grey cloud across it.
So thank you, fellow bloggers. You gave me the  metaphorical boot up the gastrocnemus that I needed in these gloomy, S.A.D, times
Smiley rating 9/10