Weeknotes 26 June 2023
Trying something new this week. Inspired by Phil Gyford's weeknotes, I'm writing some of my own. I got into a good swing of monthnotes last year, but for some reason I've found it hard to build a rhythm in 2023. It feels like each month is too jam-packed with stuff to write about, and so inevitably I waffle and procrastinate until we're two weeks into the following month and the previous has been all but forgotten.
So I'm breaking it down into weeks. We'll see how I get on.
This week was quiet round our end, plenty of time spent with Ghyll in the evenings. We've had an uncommon run of nice weather—great big puffy clouds scattered across vivid blue skies and the thermometer hovering around twenty degrees—so I've taken Ghyll out for a few walks to a nearby field for a run around. He always comes back foaming at the mouth and panting his heart out. And then he sleeps well.
Not to say that we haven't had a bit of rain, though—and all the attendant allergies rainy weather entails. I'm useless on the first (and sometimes second!) sunny day(s) after a spell of rain, wheezing continually into a soggy handkerchief and squinting at the computer screen through itchy eyes. When I try to explain this to people, I feel like I'm astrologising: "No, it was sunny yesterday, and then the rain fell last night, and we've had a bit of wind, and the moon's waning... atchoo." As much as the dust was annoying during a dry spell earlier in the summer, I think this is annoying me more. Good for the plants, though.
Sam prompted me late last week to start training in earnest for my triathlon at the end of July, so this was my first full week of Serious Training. You might say that's a bit late—and I would too!—but I have been doing sort of triathlon-adjacent running and cycling for the past few months now. I think I'm in decent shape. The training plan that Sam has subscribed me to has taken it out of me, though. Only got a single (blessed) day of rest this week; difficulty sleeping has not made it any easier. Here's hoping that it gets easier over the coming weeks; if not, well, pain is temporary etc etc.
Sam spent most of Friday cooking up some goodies (quiches, breads, rolls) to sell at the church fair that St. Luke’s held on Saturday afternoon. The baked goods sold well (thanks in small part to my own zealous cake-eating); Sam’s disappeared almost instantly. I’ve heard tell of people who come to the St. Luke’s fairs exclusively to pick up one of her famous quiches lorraine. It was nice to catch up with folks I hadn’t seen in a few months, too; though when asked how I’d been and what I’d been up to, I struggled to come up with an answer. I don’t want to be the kind of person whose go-to is “work has been busy,” but what have I been doing for the past few months? Going out for runs? I guess I cycled the C2C back in May—and we went to the States. I’ll lead with that next time.
Afterwards, I took my first open-water dip in the UK in the Hartlepool marina. I'd swum in lakes back in Canada before, but almost exclusively on calm days at the end of summer when the lake'd be nice and warm and the sun would heat the top 10 cm of water to bathtub temps. Nothing quite as choppy as the marina turned out to be in a high wind. About halfway across the channel between two docks, a group on a dinghy came sailing up to me and told me that I wasn't permitted to swim in the marina. Strava's Global Heatmap misleading me again!—oh well, I paddled over to one of the ladders and climbed out. I must have been a bit of a sight to the locals in the marinaside beer gardens: some soggy, bearded Canadian crawling up out of the waves and wandering off down the promenade. Defeated, I stripped out of my wetsuit and ran a contrite 6k down to Seaton Carew and back, making good time in defiance of Hartlepudlians giving me the ol' up-down-up in my skintight triathlon suit. A long shower and a couple beers in the evening put me back to rights.
Woke up Sunday to a high wind, regretting a promise I made to a buddy of mine to head up to Newcastle for a bit of running. I struggled to get out of bed and strongly considered being an absolute flake, but with some effort managed to pull together my running gear. Then I grabbed my backpack, my boots, jacket, and helmet, because I was back out on the motorbike for a ride up to the Toon—that's right, I'm back on the YBR after my catastrophic encounter with a roundabout last November. It was easier than I remembered it being! I think that, in some lizard-brain-type way, I'm mentally readier for the speed and the full-body way that you operate a motorbike, after riding my bicycle so far over the wintertime. Bombing down Bargate Bank into Lanchester going 65 kph in the slipstream of some Vauxhall Insignia with nothing but a juddering steel frame under you really girds the loins, it turns out.
Anyway, my friend in Newcastle talked me into an impromptu half-marathon through Gosforth and Heaton and back across the Town Moor, under a sky threatening at times both sunburn and a solid soaking. We did a good job of keeping a steady pace, and Strava reckons that I broke my PB in the half-marathon. Given that we didn't get rained on in the end, I reckon that's a decent result. I never thought I'd be the sort of person able to wake up early and knock out a half-marathon and then get on with the rest of my day, but here I am. Quietly proud of myself.