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Out and about - John C. Kirk

Jul. 22nd, 2003

11:08 am - Out and about

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No climbing last Tuesday, but I'll be heading off to the walls again shortly, and taking my test so that hopefully I won't need to be supervised anymore. Instead, I met up with Mandy and Fiona (a couple of my old Durham friends) in the evening, and it was good to see them again.

On Friday, I went off to the theatre to see "The Complete Shakespeare" (by the Reduced Shakespeare Company), having previously seen their version of "The Bible". It occurred to me recently that after my good intentions earlier this year to expand my cultural horizons, I'd let it all tail off a bit (partly due to exams/expense). Anyway, as I'm a student, I was able to turn up half an hour before the play started, and get a ticket for 12.00 cash (as opposed to 32.50 full price), which was quite a bargain. I enjoyed the play, although I thought that "The Bible" was better. One odd thing was that there were a lot of Americans in the audience, and the actors did make a couple of comments like "This isn't Jerry Springer!"

I had another swimming lesson on Saturday morning. That went well, as we were doing backstroke, which I think is my best stroke. As I've mentioned before, the class gets divided up based on different levels of skill. At one point, the idea was to concentrate on the leg movements, without being distracted by the arm movements. In other words, we'd keep our arms still. So, some people had two floats (easiest), some people had one float (a bit harder), and some people had no float, just their arms by their sides (hardest). With the floats, you either had them at chest level, or down by your legs (i.e. with arms straight), where the latter is harder. And it's the teacher who decides what combination we do. I started out with one float, over my chest. That went well, so I then moved the float further down. After that, the teacher said to me "You can do it without a float now - that was very good", which made me inordinately happy. At the end of the class, we did more diving practice. Actually, although the course is spread out as 2 weeks on each of 3 strokes, with diving squashed in at the end, I'd quite like to have a whole lesson just on diving, to speed up the process a bit. Maybe I'll suggest that at the next class, and see if the others would be interested in that too.

Yesterday I went off on my first Nike training run, in Hyde Park. It was a 5km course (they also have an 8km route, which I'll try later), and I ran about half of it (alternating between running and walking). There's obviously room for improvement there, but it's more running than I've done in the last 2-3 years, so I'm happy with that. I'm actually quite impressed with Nike's generosity, in terms of sponsorship (bearing in mind that these training sessions are free of charge). They've hired several people to act as trainers, who run with us, and give tips, etc. They also have a trial scheme for shoes, where you can borrow a pair of their latest trainers, and do the run in them - the idea is that this gives you a better feel for what they're like than just trying them on in the shop. They aren't selling the trainers there (you need to go to a shop for that), so there's no hard sell involved; all they ask is that you fill in a survey form afterwards. So, I gave that a go. Unfortunately, I wound up with small blisters afterwards, so I'll stick with my current trainers until they wear out, but I still think it's a good idea. As with the swimming, I've found that I'm remembering as much as I'm learning, as the old reflexes come back to me.

One odd thing I noticed in the bath afterwards - I have a cut on my leg. I know I didn't get that during the run (since I was wearing tracksuit trousers), but I haven't noticed it before, so I'm not sure how that happened. This has happened a couple of times, with cuts/bruises that mysteriously appear. It does remind me of the old Spider-Man stories, when his alien costume (which was actually alive) took him out around the city at night while he was asleep, and he'd wake up aching. However, I suspect that there's a more prosaic explanation, probably involving the cat...

Meanwhile, the Nike website was completely overloaded yesterday (first day to register for the main run), but they've got it sorted out now, and I'm booked in, which is good. And my next training run is tomorrow (with another one on Friday).

Then last night I watched the first "new" episode of Firefly, i.e. one that has been shown in the UK (on the SciFi channel), but not in the USA, and therefore isn't floating around as a DivX file yet. That was fun - it's been a few months since I last saw an episode of that series, and I'd forgotten how good it was. Without spoilers, there were some funny scenes, and some good action moments. There were also quite a few twists that I didn't see coming, but which (in retrospect) made a lot of sense, and were true to the characters. My only quibble concerned something which seemed rather inefficient, but I can live with that.