Friday, 8 April 2016

So where were we?

Ah yes, being quite smug about my abilities to recover from a long run. Not so smug now though, heh?

Yes, things didn't quite go according to plan in the lead-up to my long-planned 75km ultra-marathon on Easter Sunday. It wasn't a surprise to me. I've always been one of those people whose successes (such as they are) tend to be the result of working and playing by the rules. The training rules in ultra-marathon training are, respectively, do a lot of miles, increase weekly mileage by no more than 10%, and increase the distance of your weekly long run by also by no more than 10%.

Well, I didn't play by the rules: my mileage was erratic, I didn't always do a lot of miles, and I lurched up to running 34 miles one particular Sunday - which was when the dreaded knee problem came on. Seems I have a very small tear to my medial meniscus, nothing that stops me running a few miles, but enough to cause anything upwards of a half-marathon to be excruciating.  Ho hum.  Time to repair it, do some cycling, and try again next winter.

Strangely, however, while I was disappointed I had to withdraw from my Canalathon, I wasn't devastated, probably because the withdrawal coincided with finishing work for a while, and soon afterwards (that being yesterday), coming across to France for an extended period.

Yes, I did it - I've made myself unavailable for work until the start of August, and I intend to spend as much of it as possible in France. The plan is the same as the one I hatched earlier in the year - manual work, cycle and learn a bit of French.

There are two cycling excursions planned - one to Provence with Mendip Rouleur for an attempt at joining the Club dec Cingles du Mont-Ventoux (that being 3 different ascents of the great mountain in a single day), plus some very civilised cafe-based riding besides, and one to Normandy with Mrs M for a spot of gentle cyclo-touring.

Right now though, I'm even more excited - rather sadly - to get stuck into some Bloke Stuff, most of which I've no idea how to do right now.  Quite a lot of it will involve Bloke Tools too. I've already bought a trailer for picking stuff up at Brico Depot (B&Q) and getting rid of it at the dechetterie (tip). There are steel toe-capped work boots in the garage, overalls, and best of all - I think I might need a cement mixer. Ten years ago I used to covet other men's bikes; now I sneak furtive looks at their tool shed.

What's the cause of all this Blokery? Three-quarters of an acre of unruly and disintegrating garden, that's what. There are fences, sheds and greenhouses to be taken down, other fences and roofs to be put up, and digging, seed sewing and weeding to be done. Not to mention power washing, mowing, strimming, hedgecutting, and bonfires...ahhh, lovely bonfires.

So, there's going to be a lot of outdoor time. I've done one day so far, and my hands are already red and chapped, I'm so soft from the last few months of keyboard-jockeying. Tales from French France and - hopefully - progress that doesn't involve loss of limbs or too much blood to follow.

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