Looking for a suitable quote for this little tale, I remembered that Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu had said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
I checked the accuracy of this. He is credited with the smart words (though they are sometimes attributed to Confucious) but I’ve a problem with it. Because I can be pedantic I googled “What unit was used to measure distance in China in 500 BC”. Guess what? they didn’t do miles. The accepted measurement was (and still is) the Li, which is roughly about 1/3 of an imperial mile, so it’s only a 333 mile journey in reality. Modern day Li’s are 500 metres.
Do you remember this? I decided that I not only needed to keep both legs but I needed them both attached to the same body, a couple of visits to the doctor and before you can say “Hop it” I was on a bed being flushed with iodine and then having a brace of stents fitted (kissing stents, so they tell me. How sweet). Blood circulation at my ankle went from 5% to 60% so I’m only 40% off perfect now. Don’t you wish you were so close to perfect?
The doctors told me that gentle exercise would help improve things further, so I walked and walked and then decided in January to join in with a group doing couch to 5k. This encourages one to run for 5km (3.1 miles for you over there) eventually. I should at this stage offer a large round of applause to the Sweatshop chain of sports clothing stores and in particular to the shop in Teddington for organising regular running groups and giving encouragement to all potential runners everywhere.
I can now run 5km (3.1 miles or very roughly 10 Li). I can’t do it quickly but this is all (apparently) going to change. I place the blame for this very firmly at the door of my friend (who I shall call Fred because he reads this, don’t you Fred?).
Fred said “I can’t run, I’ve no ACL in my leg, I cycle instead. Come and join me on a cycle ride”.
Fred does this. He mentioned that he had started playing golf and we should go for a game. He’s really good at golf. Fred is cycling many miles a week and I have now committed to a 50 mile charity cycle with him. Bradley Wiggins has raised an eyebrow of concern.
That’s not the very silly thing though. Because I’m going to do a cycle ride I needed a bicycle and because I now have a bicycle I feel the urge to use it more so I have entered a duathlon. This involves running, cycling and running again. I’m only doing a little one, 5km-22km-5km but a brief test of pedaling followed by running reveals that it is going to be hard work. The shared muscles are somewhere around the groin. It’s far more painful than giving birth (apparently).
My current time for 5km is 30 minutes. That’s just for 1, so I reckon the second one will be more like 40 minutes. On the bicycle I reckon I can just about manage an average of 20 kmh so we are looking at around 2 hours and 15 to complete the course. The winning time last year was 1 hour 20 minutes and the slowest was around 2:45. I’m aiming for under 2 hours and I have 15 weeks to get to that speed.
Wish me luck. I’ll see you all in Richmond Park on 18th September. I’m expecting banners with “Come on Robby” and “Hurry up you fool” scattered around the course.
Bye for now.