Spring 2015

Well Spring has well and truely arrived and we’ve been planting things and I’ve had my first sweating in a vest run of the year so it’s probably about time I posted something on this blog.

Orienteering wise the Chiltern Challenge at Penn Common late February was fun with me managing 69:47 for the Short Green course coming 30th of 70 starters (64 finishers). Jane and I did a stint marshalling a road crossing before hand and I was pleased to find the veggie chilli from the burger van was suitable for vegans so all in all a good, if tiring, day. Unfortunately I was pretty crap at both March and April’s Saturday Series events at Cutteslowe Park and Shotover. After I’ve started getting knackered my plan seems to leak out of my brain in between controls, that and some pretty basic mistakes with the map reading suggests I better go back to Light Green for the next event. (Well maybe not the next one as it’s University Parks so surely I can’t mess that up!).

Running is very slowly improving though I didn’t manage my hoped for sub 1:50 at the White Horse Half as the conditions were atrocious with a fierce wind and a soaking. I was pleased to persist and run all the way without getting despondent. We had a great Vegan Runners UK meet-up at Tring parkrun a few weeks back, a hilly course for a parkrun! There were 10 of us and we all went for a vegan breakfast and cakes at the Anusia Cafe afterwards.

White Horse Half

White Horse Half (thanks to Barry Cornelius for the photo)

My frozen shoulder does seem to be thawing – very slowly though. I’m still paying ยฃ45 a session once or twice a month for James, my osteopath, to try and force a bit more range of movement out of it and to reassure me it is actually improving. Progress seems so slow that it’s easy to think it’s just not moving but I can now reach the picture rail in my room and can remember when it was a good 10 inches out of reach. So I plod on with the daily stretches. It doesn’t hurt much any more even when I give it a bad time so at least I don’t have to protect it all the time.

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Shotover Orienteering

A return to Shotover today for a go at TVOC’s orienteering event. Last week’s attempt at the light green course at Kings Wood near High Wycombe was pretty rubbish with me managing to take 1:44:47, a good 20 minutes longer than anyone else on the course, and still get disqualified for missing a point. The 10km Watlington XC Hill Race the day after had also been a bit pathetic with me managing to take 6 minutes longer than last year, good fun as ever though. Not to be put off I entered the slightly harder green for today – being as I know Shotover pretty well I expected to have a bit of an advantage.

Kings Wood Dec 2014

My somewhat convoluted attempt at Kings Wood the previous week

Both shoulder and neck have decided to ache the last few days after a long period of hardly any pain so I ate a couple of ibuprofen and cycled to the BMW plant car park for the start minus Jane who had got up late and, doing the orange course, wasn’t tied to a start time. She did turn up and had a good go at the orange.

I got my emit and jogged to the start in Brasenose Meadow with another chap – we lost sight of the white & red tape on the way and for a moment I thought I might have overshot and got us lost before we’d even begun but fortunately not.

Confident I was setting off the right direction for a change I ran the tarmac track then stumbled through the undergrowth to find the first control good and quick and the 2nd was pretty easy too. I couldn’t picture the little pond number 3 was marked next to but found it soon enough, 4 was a bit trickier as the map has just 5 tree stumps marked on it whereas reality revealed more like 25!

Joined The Ridings then up a very muddy path and a hunt round in the wooded valley on my left to find 5 then up to the field at the top for 6, I walked most of the climb which is odd really as if I’d have been just out for a run I’d have run up. 7 was a bit of a distance away so I took a track I knew easy to follow then diverted down and followed a muddy stream to find it. Wet feet! 8 wasn’t hard and again I took a slightly longer but easier to follow track right across to the BMX bumps by Blenhiem Drive then descended to find 9 almost at the edge of Horspath village.

10 shouldn’t have been hard – I followed my nose to the bridleway downhill then a short way down a right turn almost double back and then it should be in the open land on the left. It wasn’t obvious though and I couldn’t quite get the map to match the reality. A bit uphill in the bracken a few more orienteers could be seen so I headed up to the bracken patch they were trampling and found a control in a dip – even as I bipped it I knew it wasn’t mine, I was after 113 and this was 137.

I decided to follow back 50m or so and relocate at the path junction. A young lady came and asked which I was looking for and, politeness pushing intent aside, I said 113 and she pointed me to the edge of a brambly clump I was heading for anyway – I’d have found it there without her well meant intervention but wish I’d had the speed of wits to say ‘don’t tell me where it is!’.

So karma got me back on number 11 when I mistook my path for a parallel one and then didn’t trust my map skills enough to follow the path to get me back on course as it went briefly up when I wanted down. A stop and reassess sent me back up and down it and a chap clambering out of what I though to be the stream gave me a clue as to where they’d hidden it.

Shotover Green Dec 2014

My Shotover gps track looks a bit more purposeful than Kings Wood (the bit of scribbling at mile 3 was my hunt for point 9)

Local knowledge really helped me out for the last 2 controls – I was able to picture just where they should be and enjoy a generally downhill then muddy run to the finish. So number 9 had taken me over 12 minutes, number 11 over nine minutes then less than 7 minutes to get 12, 13 and 500 metres to the finish ๐Ÿ™‚

1:11:27 finishing 37th of 51 was good enough for me and a bit of a boost after last weekends flop!

 

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Headington 5, Oxford Half etc

Oh dear I don’t seem to have posted anything here for ages! I have managed a couple of races over the last few weeks and we’ve done a bit more orienteering.

The Headington 5 on 31st August was a full five miles this year and good fun, met up with Maria, Barbara from VRUK and her husband Marco from VC&AC. I managed 42:26 which counts as a fair effort at the moment. Last Sunday I ran the Oxford Half finishing in 1:55:56 2078th of 4461 which I was happy with. The new route, bands along the way and a send off from Sir Rodger Banister all made for a good day.

We returned to Wendover Woods for Saturday Series orienteering 13th September and I managed 8th of 16 56:56 so a lot better than my last event there. Felt I did ok but obviously out of my league at my first go at street orienteering in Didcot on 25th August, 50th of 55 starters and 51 finishers – good fun though ๐Ÿ™‚

Meanwhile I’ve pulled out all the stops to get this blooming frozen shoulder behind me. I’ve been having private treatment from a NAT specialist for a while now and have seen the first signs of improved range of movement. I’ve also been seeing an NHS physio (after a 7 week wait) who has been setting me some challenging stretch routines which are also helping. I’ve seen an occupational health doctor from work so they know I’m not exaggerating the condition. I have tried to made it clear to the boss that I don’t intend to crawl about on the floor, over-reach or twist myself into contortions as a regular part of my job any more. I’m beginning to hope I’ll be back to normal by early next year though every little twinge in my good shoulder has me worrying that one might be next!

Nik Windle Oxford Half

Oxford Half – photo by Barry Cornelius

Nik at Headington 5

Headington 5 – photo by Barry Cornelius

 

 

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Jericho & Thame 10ks

It’s been a bit of a job keeping the Vegan Runners UK blog up to date what with lots of activity and photos from facebook – it’s all very positive and inspiring but I’m less inclined to keep this blog up to date.Nik and Maria Abingdon parkrun

Anyway two recent races and my slowest ever parkrun for the record. Good fun at the Run Jericho 10k on 22nd June which was too hot to push even if I’d been able. I started right at the back – because I’d got the wrong start time in my head and was still pottering about when I should have been ready to go – worked my way up the field enjoying a cup of water over my head at the halfway point. Finished in 58:13 169/333.Nik Windle Run Jericho 10k 2014

Thame 10k 2014

Maria, Celine and me after the Thame 10k

The Thame 10k on 29th June was warm but not as hot as some years. Made a bit of an effort and managed 51:28 386/782, fastest 10k this year but still rubbish.

My shoulder is still as stuck and achy as it was at the start of the year and is not easy to live with, I think the recent heat and humidity aggravates it. So work is difficult and I’ve asked them to start making some allowances; repetitive stuff like hoeing upsets it so Jane is stuck with the allotment for the 2nd year; I’m not comfortable on the bike so max 10 miles and my running just gets slower as I can’t push myself much without upsetting it. I’ve been back to the doctor and will be having Xray, ultrasound and maybe a cortisone injection.

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Chalgrove Festival 10k 2014

An enjoyable run for me at this year’s Chalgrove Festival 10k on May Bank Holiday Monday. Jane wanted a look round the festival so we drove out making it an easy day what with the 12:00 start. I ran in Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club vest for a change as I hoped to meet new club member Geoff – in fact we somehow managed to miss each other but still two VCAC vests present is good. 52:16 223rd of 441 overall which was a good bit quicker than last year and a seasons best so happy with that.

Chalgrove 10k 2014Chalgrove10k 2014 Thanks to Barry Cornelius for the photos – oxonraces.com

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