Cardiff was the place I felt in love with racing again. I had never felt out of love with running. After training more or less consistently for more than 20 years it is a vital part of my well-being by now.
However, after my back injury which led to a long-term hamstring injury last year (through bad mechanics all around) it just felt painful to run at faster speeds for at least a year. I just couldn’t lift my left knee high enough to push forward.
Back in September of 2015, with my amazing coach Dimitris Theodorides, we talked about how I would start running again very slowly and training gradually and see where it takes us… And slowly did we start…
An XC race at last! And so, I managed to run in two fixtures this year. What painful bliss.
I think I did a little bit better than the first race and even though it was not as muddy, it was significantly more hilly, with four hills to tackle, this time, albeit fairly short.
If you needed another reason to keep exercising until a ripe old age, look no further. Exercise may slow brain ageing by up to 10 years in older people, according to one study. Fortunately, running is one of the main types of high-activity exercise that reaps the maximum benefits.
A study led by neurologists at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found that exercise in older people is associated with a slower rate of decline in thinking skills that occurs with ageing.
“Our study showed that for older people, getting regular exercise may be protective, helping them keep their cognitive abilities longer” said study author Clinton B. Wright, M.D., M.S., associate professor of neurology at the Miller School.
I don’t often carry my mobile phone with me when running (perhaps only for long runs).
But that day (must have been a couple of weeks ago now) I did. It was right after one of our lunchtime running groups at Oxford Brookes and I decided to do one more lap around South Park before heading home.
It was the right thing to do, as I was compensated by those wonderfully serene views on a cold but sunny day.
I recently attended an England Athletics workshop led by AAC (Abingdon Athletics Club) coach Bernard Wilkins and one of the things he mentioned that struck a cord with me was the utmost importance of cross country racing for runners.
Why, I asked him. And his passionate answer focused mainly on the stability benefits, strengthening of leg muscles and trying to run a steady pace on uneven, challenging ground. Your legs simply work more than when you are running for the same time and pace on flat paved roads. It is about building strength, running economy and cardiovascular fitness at the same time.
The mud was so overwhelming that later that night I thought I might be having nightmares about what I had just done. This was my first cross-country race in five years and let’s just say, it all (re)started with a bang.
It has been raining a lot in Oxford over the past few days, so I knew there would be mud, but the extent of it left me shellshocked throughout the 6.6km run through Shotover park on a chilly January morning.
I picked up this book when on holiday in Andros last year. A summer later, having just come back from Greece (and feeling a bit homesick already), this was just the perfect reading for me. An Englishman’s personal account about life in a village up the valley (probably Menites?), which is full of interesting observations about Greek island life and its colorful characters.
I recognized many of the villager ‘types’ from my own experience, I brought back to mind some of the beautiful scenery of wind-ridden Andros, with its fertile inland (due to the many streams of course), beautiful captain’s houses and nice beaches.
An unexpectedly enjoyable read, which I now consider a must literary supplement for anyone who is even remotely interested in modern art.
I of course happened to be reading the English translation as I don’t speak German! And that one, by the Pilkington Press, is of exceptionally high printing quality, with nice and heavy glossy paper and excellent prints of the artworks, something that is rare to come by these days.
This so Greek it makes me smile. Some hints of Balkan, some hints of the Mediterranean, a love of life and dance and alcohol! The bagmalamdaki rocks, and Agathonas’ moustache too! Good job guys!