Long distance

Last Sunday was the fifth edition of the Nice-Cannes marathon. Each year I toy momentarily with the idea of taking part in the following year’s.  The key word here is “momentarily,” common sense soon asserts itself. After taking part in the 1994 London Marathon, I did say I would do another one. Of course, no timeframe was specified and I suspect this was said during the rose pink post-completion after-glow.

I do run as part of my cycling training programme but I use the word “run” guardedly. To be honest, I find running for more than 40 minutes a bit boring and indeed prefer to sprint between lamp posts, trees or other such markers. Of course, it’s somewhat disheartening that while sprinting at my top speed I’m regularly overtaken by better runners just jogging effortlessly along. Though if I’m honest my most embarrassing moment remains being overtaken by a runner while riding up my favoured Col de Vence. But, back to the running.

My cycling coach often puts running on my weekly agenda and I duly oblige, even though I might prefer to be out riding. However, if the forecast is for rain, I’d rather run than ride. I’m not sure why but I get less wet running for 40 minutes than I do cycling. I think it’s all down to the feet. When I’m riding the rain water runs down my legs and rapidly soaks my socks. There’s nothing worse than cold wet feet. You should wear waterproof shoes covers I hear you cry. It’s true, they partly delay the inevitable but I find my feet get far too warm in them while they don’t get anywhere near as wet when I’m running.

Anyway, it wasn’t an issue this week as the weather was gloriously sunny  although there’s now a bit of a nip in the air and long descents demand a gilet. So I wisely saved my running for this week end when rain was (correctly) forecast. I managed my 40 minutes this morning while it was just drizzling. Since collecting my beloved from the airport at midday we’ve had a solid downpour which has forced him onto the home trainer on the balcony. He’s lost part of his home trainer: don’t ask how! So now he keeps sneaking bits off mine and then forgetting to put them back. Husbands!

We’re now into that time of year when the home trainer comes into its own. A bit like running, I can manage only an hour at most and find it best for one-legged exercises to improve my pedalling or using both legs to improve and increase my cadence. However, it remains at best a last resort. If it’s not raining too much, or it’s just wet underfoot, I’ll happily ride my mountain bike in preference to the home trainer.

We did have a couple of splendid descents in the domaine. Well-worn paths through the trees where the residents take shortcuts between the buildings which were great fun to ascend and descend, and only a stone’s throw from the doctors should I have a bit of a tumble. Some bright spark decided they should be turned into proper paths and they’ve now been concreted over so I’ll have to find somewhere else to practice my death defying descending.

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