Tuesday, 12 November 2013

An occupational hazard

So I'm back to spending more time in London than anywhere else now. It's a little strange, being back as a consultant at the place I worked for more than 20 years. The single worst thing, to be honest, is not being able to recall the names of people I met in passing during that time, but who nevertheless greet me like a re-captured prisoner-of-war ("You made it out! How did you do it? What's it like on the outside?"). And the best thing is being reminded almost daily of the reasons why I left; the bureaucracy, the inertia, the posturing and the position-taking.

At least being there regularly means it's possible to create something like a routine - same hotel, Tube journeys, and even now somewhere to run - the inner and outer roads around Regent's Park. They're a bit flat, and a bit busier than I'm used to, but for central London, they're not bad; better than a sweaty gym, that's for sure.

However, when a weekend morning dawns light and bright, as it did on both Saturday and Sunday last weekend, it feels like the time for real exercise has arrived, regardless of whether you're actually in good enough condition to cope with it. For example, last Saturday, my ambition was just to run for two hours, to get in what counts as an endurance session when you're on your legs (as opposed to being on wheels, where two hours is only just about worth pulling on the lycra for). I did the two hours more or less to the minute, but I spent most of them going uphill or downhill, getting 3000 feet of climbing in, over the course of just under 14 miles.

By the time I got home I was beat. However, the house move has meant that there are, erm, one or two things to do at the weekends, and I thought retreating to bed for a couple of hours would be a surefire recipe for incurring the wrath of Mrs Monmardman. So I showered, breakfasted, and kept going. By late afternoon I felt like death, and even Mrs M observed - unprompted - that "I looked a bit pale". Now that was all fine, I knew that one of our Saturday night curries and a good night's sleep would have me right as rain. However, whereas a decent level of exertion turns me into a bit of a tigger, over-exertion turns me in Victor Meldrew. I grumped away at anything and everything the TV had to offer, from the football results to X Factor. I really don't know why I watch either. In the end I feared that my general misanthropy was going to get me into worse trouble than if I'd sloped off for a liedown earlier in the day. So I went for a liedown. A nine hour one in fact, which sure enough proved restorative for both mental and physical health.

Sunday saw some more running, and critically, some garage sorting. Bicycles have begun to emerge from the general chaos, so I'm hoping to get back in the saddle some time in the next few weeks. Audaxes have been entered, plans are beginning to be made for 2014. In the meantime, I'll keep running round Regent's Park to try to be in something approaching reasonable condition for them.

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