In 1785 Robert Burns wrote To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough within which is the immortal verse:
But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Such have been my plans for the year leading up to my 60th birthday. My initial intense work schedule from January to June entailed a great deal of travelling. Although observations of the natural world were unaffected, the quality of my running suffered. My training kit travelled with me and I developed a routine of planned runs around cities and towns in order to see significant landmarks and generally see more than a hotel and a restaurant.
In Liverpool I ran the length of the waterfront, taking in the Liver Building, and also did a circuit via Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. A canal run in Manchester to Old Trafford. Bristol saw me skirt the harbour, past the Matthew and SS Great Britain, up the Avon Gorge and over the Clifton Bridge. Middlesbrough a run along the Tees to the Riverside Stadium; Carlisle around the rivers to Brunton Park; Cardiff around the Bay. Many more too – all from 6 to 8 miles, but no speed work. I could never find time for core training either. Thus I found I could run for a long way, but never as fast as I needed for my marathon.
By July I was very weary and decided to run 60km on my birthday instead. Thus I would only need to run at a single pace. Once more work intensified, Southern Rail added to my woes and I reached September on my knees. I’d developed a small cancer on my shoulder (not life threatening.) I developed a virus, drove 2000 miles on a visit to Scotland, wobbled and saw my monthly miles drop from 130+ to 30. The wheels fell off and nature made me stop.
The advantage of turning 60 is the rise of pragmatism. I’m in good shape and slowly shifting a stubborn virus. The ‘rodent ulcer’ on my shoulder will be excised and I can plan once more. The Reaper Man has made a little ground, but now I’m shifting ahead again. Burns got it right as he added:
Still thou are blest, compared wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
My Blog will now catch up with with the year so far as I fill in some gaps. Thank you for your patience.