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Weeknotes 2024-23

I started the week by giving blood (donation number 63). I could have donated at any time since March, but had been putting it off for a while because I didn’t want it to interfere with races. Their requests for donation seemed to have been getting increasingly frantic lately (I’ve since been told that they’re at a “pre-amber” status), and I figured helping keep someone alive was more important than potentially finishing a few seconds slower when my times aren’t exactly competitive anyway! Fortunately my haemoglobin levels seem fine these days (thank you, multivitamin and iron tablets), and the blood seemed to pour out quickly.

On Tuesday we had another work meal, but this time with most of us present rather than just a few leads. We went to Mr Wing’s, which operates on an all you can eat basis but with specific dishes brought to you rather than buffet style, so naturally I ate far too much.

On my Steam Deck-inspired retro gaming binge (not really retro – to me that would be Space Invaders etc) I’ve now finished Portal 2, and moved onto Portal: Revolution, an excellent free unofficial sequel that I’d not played before.

Another Friday 5 on … er … Friday – this time Framlingham, which is also in the Suffolk Grand Prix series. I started OK, but after a couple of miles the missing red blood cells started catching up with me, and Holly started pulling away. Then Tom passed me too, which was more annoying because he’s in the same old man age category as me.

FRR at Fram

I dragged myself out for a slow parkrun on Saturday, then attempted a long run on Sunday, which turned into a bit of a fiasco. The original plan had been to run a trail route I’ve done before to Felixstowe, stop for chips at the seaside, then get a train back, but that didn’t quite work out …

Firstly, distracted by bumping into the Harpers near Foxhall stadium, I completely forgot to turn off and completely forgot where I was going and missed a turning. After a quick diversion we got back on the route, only to find it largely blocked by nettles and brambles. With a small detour into the field, then a pause to find sticks to beat the undergrowth aside with, we eventually made it to a proper path again. Once across the A12, I suddenly remembered having to fight through brambles on the other side when the rest of the path had been fine. Fortunately it wasn’t much worse today, and we were soon on the open pasture, but still walking due to the lack of any visible path.

The first clue that the “path” might not be in ideal condition

After reaching the road (past a herd of cows that fortunately just stared rather than giving chase), I realised we’d diverged from my planned route again, but figured we could follow a path through the farm and rejoin it. After much head-scratching we seemed to be back on track, but imagine my surprise when we suddenly reached the A12 again! Somehow I’d ended up following the trace on the map on my watch in the wrong direction (should have worn the orienteering bifocals!). At this point it seemed wise to cut our losses, give up on the chips, and turn it into a circular route. Had we known that the next couple of miles of path had completely disappeared, to be replaced by fields full of head-high nettles, we might have made a different choice.

Fighting through
Cows!
Alpaca!

We eventually made it through (with a small diversion round the edge of a farmer’s field), but even when the going got easier my body had apparently given up, with my heart rate up in the 180s even at a very gently pace, so there was even more walking. We ended up taking 3 hours 21 minutes to cover a mere 11.6 miles! It’s a good job Holly has a sense of humour and was prepared to chalk it down as an “adventure”, otherwise I think I might have lost a running buddy. It’s now five hours later, and my legs are still tingling horrendously from all the nettle stings and bramble scratches – next time I think I’ll take a machete!

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