Paul’s Blog – Apologies, a statement & Running

Since coming back from Nepal I have been planning to post three blogs, one about Nepal, one about a ‘little’ Marathon & one about running but my Nepalese hangover (or jet-lag) has left me feeling far away from the real world if I’m honest. However a New Year brings new beginnings so lets start making amends but first that Apology & Statement:-

Apology – Our New Year’s Day at the café was not a good start, for reasons un-related to the café & unavoidable Dorina & I were delayed in getting to the café by more than 4 hours which meant that the 6 members of staff who were on had to cope without us. With good weather to boot the Café was even busier than a normal New Years Day & to put it frankly the staff simply had no chance of coping satisfactorily. Even after our arrival the now eight of us were run off our feet trying to get the orders back under control which we finally achieved albeit far too late in the day. Our sincere apologies to all those who waited patiently but for too long & thank you for bearing with us.

Statement – We do not accept rudeness whatever the excuse might be & have the right to spell this out, so to the person who was shouting at Gaby I will say that whilst we do understand your frustration we do not accept your behaviour & had I been present to see it I would have intervened more sharply than Nick did. You have a choice, either in the cold light of day come back to apologise to her or stay away from me & our Café. 

To keep this statement in context the kind words of several customers late in the day who clearly appreciated that we had opened our doors were warmly appreciated so thank you.

Now back to those belated blogs & running comes first:-

On Sunday 22nd December I went for only my 5th run since getting back from Nepal. My previous 4 runs had not gone well, my lungs were huge but my legs suffered, too much walking & only one little marathon in 3 weeks clearly did not have the desired effect. Net result I knew I would still break the 2,000 mile mark for the year but with sore/weak knees I had switched off from any higher goals.

As ever whilst running thoughts come & go that are often un-explained, on this 5th run maths came into my head ‘shit Paul, you still had had the chance to average 40 miles a week for the year but now here you are 100 miles short of that target & only 10 days left in 2019, you’ve missed the chance, you fool.’

I returned to the café after this more enjoyable 10 miler (‘my’ Betws Bridge circuit) & despite several ‘I saw you running’, ‘you looked good going up the hill’ type of comments from regulars/friends I was soon moaning my ineptitude to John, Marion, Dorina, Iain, Andy, the list probably went on… Marion tried to lift my spirits to which I answered something like ‘but I’d have to run like the wind & over a busy Xmas & New Year, get a grip Auntie M, it ain’t going to happen!’

A new dawn, a new day, a new mathematician awoke. ‘Paul, you already plan to run your Xmas morning run (16.5 miles) & then repeat this on Saturday with Matt Ward’s communal Coed y Brenin run where you may or may not be leading a slow group (offer was out there to Matt if he needed me if not I’d simply be one of the led). All you have to do is link these up with runs before, in-between & after & the 90 miles left may just be possible’. Of course my thoughts also turned to my knees briefly & then I did what I had to do & went for a run.

By the Saturday I was still on track although 3 dogs did there best to de-rail me. Matt had indeed called on me to lead the Half Marathon route but not the 2 Hour 45 minutes or 3 Hour group (which I’d trained for on Xmas morning running it in what seemed a painfully slow 2:30) but the 2 Hour 20 Minute group. Now this would normally be a run in the park for me (race pb 1:51) but with 6 back to back runs under me it would be tough. The dogs & their un-trained owners set off leading their ‘leader’ at a far too spritely 2:05 pace, this was going to hurt & it did until thankfully either one of the dogs or it’s owner tired a little giving the relieved ‘leader’ a lucky break, 2080 miles for the year was still on track.

Sunday at the café was un-believably busy but at 5:00 pm with things easing off I stepped outside to consider a run, ‘that wind is fierce, don’t fancy that’ so I went back inside & told Dorina I was driving home to see if conditions in the CyB were any better. At 6:00 pm I stepped out of the car the air was calm, my 8th successive run was on. In truth it was only a 6 miler in the very pleasant dark but it kept the miles ticking over & left me needing 16 miles or so I thought in the final two days of the year.

Monday again busy firstly on wood store duties before Dorina & I high-tailed it to the Café to cope with the predicted afternoon rush (un-like New Years Day we arrived on time). This time we drove back home together & I whimpered out of a repeat of Sunday due to a touch of drizzle.

So I awoke on New Years Eve still needing the 16 miles, again I would be needed at the Café for the afternoon, would I again wimp out post Café shift? There was only one solution, an early run, ‘get the monkey off your back now Paul’.

I ran to a plan, ‘keep running away from the house for 13K then you will have to run back 13K, 26K = more than 16 miles, job will be done.’ The plan was almost broken by thoughts of turn around after 5K, you can then do another run from the café this afternoon. Turn around after 8K…. you get my drift but thankfully other thoughts such as ‘what if its windy again at Capel’ & ‘just get on with it’ gained control. Finally 60 metres after I passed 13K I turned around on the Mawdach Estuary into a stiff headwind (feared as much) but I knew that my job & my running year was done. What a running year it has been for me is exactly how I feel, too many highlights to cover in blogs although I have done my best to bore you as I’m sure you’ll agree. If you are a runner I hope your year has similarly fulfilled you too, Happy New Year, lets keep running.

PS. The next day I typed up my last two runs into my log, the Sunday one had actually only got me down to 16.05 miles left to do, there was a moment of frustrated doubt until I converted the 26.12K run into miles & came up with 16.325 miles, to say that I sighed in relief would be a tad understated.


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