Monday - running
Tuesday - climbing
Wednesday - running
Thursday - day off (pub!)
Friday - running
Saturday - swimming
Sunday - rollerblading
When I went running on Friday, it was down by Embankment, rather than Hyde Park. I don't like that route so much, as it's mostly concrete, and there are a lot of pedestrians around. Oddly, it felt like I did worse than before, since I had to stop running (after my initial burst) when I'd covered a shorter distance, and I seemed to be going slower all round. However, my overall time was just under 30 minutes. I wondered whether the route was shorter (after the confusion on Monday/Wednesday last week), but I asked two of the instructors there and they both said it was a full 5km route, so that's encouraging (if surprising). One of the instructors also said that I need to slow down, since I can't sustain my running speed for the whole route. I did notice that I took about the same time as a couple of other people there, and we kept overtaking each other - when I was running, I'd overtake them, but when I was walking they'd overtake me. The instructor referred to my speed as sprinting, which isn't quite accurate (I was breathing, so it was aerobic rather than anaerobic respiration), but it's along those lines. So, I'll try pacing myself a bit better when I'm back in Hyde Park tomorrow. On a side note, it looks like the whole "choose your coach" theme (as seen on posters around London) is just a gimmick - I've had a few text messages/emails from the automated system in the O'Keefe style, but I haven't seen the man himself. The three of them will probably turn up on the day for the 10km run itself.
Rollerblading (or inline skating, to use the official term) went ok yesterday. I bought my skates 5 years ago, but only used them once, and left them in the bottom of my wardrobe after that. This is because I wasn't very good at it, and figured that I should arrange some lessons, so it just wound up on my "to do" list. But then kukumavka mentioned that she was going off to Hyde Park, and invited me along. I'm still very much at the beginner stage, but I think my confidence did improve a bit, which is one reason I do things like this (along with trying to improve my balance/co-ordination).
One odd thing I noticed is that travelling at 10mph (at a guess) on skates is a lot scarier than going at 70mph on a motorbike. Similarly, going at 40mph on a motorbike (at least initially) was a lot more scary than going at 70mph in a car. I think it's partly a question of control, and partly a case of being more exposed. Someone suggested that I should try running around at 5mph wearing only a pair of socks, but I think I'll give that plan a miss for the time being :) The biggest challenge was when I approached a downhill slope. In fact, the (apparently flat) path before it was also on a slight slope, so when I realised that I was accelerating towards the top of the hill, I deliberately steered towards the grass verge. This was the only time I fell over, which was more or less intentional, and it didn't hurt (due to the padding I wore). It took me a while to get up the nerve to go down the slope - it was about 1.5m high, at a 30 degree angle, in objective terms, but it felt steeper! Anyway, after being prodded into it (which I do need sometimes), I waited for a decent gap at the bottom, then rolled down the hill. And I made it successfully, which is good. As with the dry-slope skiing I did a few years ago, I haven't quite got the hang of stopping properly on skates, so I just rely on coasting to a halt, or steering towards a handy fence/grass verge.
I skated around for about an hour or so, until my feet were aching too much for me to continue (probably just because the skates need to be broken in a bit). It is slightly weird to think "Ah, my boots. My soft, comfortable boots that feel like slippers by comparison!" All in all, I wouldn't exactly describe it as fun, but I'm glad I did it, and I think it's something that will become fun in the future. Much the same applies to the climbing that I've done - the first time I went, I had to force myself up the wall, but now it's something that I enjoy. In both cases (skating/climbing), they are things that I like the idea of being able to do, which provides the motivation in the initial falling over/off stage.
This morning I've been off shopping, mostly just for routine stuff. E.g. I've had my current towels since I went off to boarding school at 11, and after 18 years they're getting a bit threadbare, so I suppose it's about time I replaced them... I stopped off at HMV, as part of my continuing attempt to broaden my musical tastes. I picked up the "Smallville" soundtrack a couple of weeks ago, which is more rock/alternative than the music I normally listen to. Although so far it's only really the theme tune ("Save Me"), which I particularly like, probably because I've heard it so often, so maybe the others will grow on me. Anyway, today I went for a more classical theme, mainly motivated by hearing a bit of Mozart in "Last Action Hero" yesterday (a great film). So, I picked up "The Best of W.A. Mozart" and "Elgar: Cello Concerto; Enigma Variations". The Elgar one is because I liked the Nimrod piece I heard at the Classical Spectacular a few months ago. Mind you, I was surprised to see that he'd also composed "The Dream Of Gerontius" (which I sang in the school choir), so his stuff isn't quite as new to me as I'd expected. Anyway, I'll see how I get on with them. I was amused by "The Only Classical Album You'll Ever Need" - the track listing on the back literally says "the music from the Hovis advert", "as played in Chariots of Fire", etc. I think that's a very good way to market it - the only reason I didn't buy it is that I haven't seen most of the films etc. that they mention, so it's not really a selling point.
After that, onto Forbidden Planet, where J.G. Hertzler (who played General Martok in DS9) was signing his two Trek novels. There were only about a dozen people there, which surprised me - when a well known author turns up (like Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett), the queue stretches out of the shop. And actors generally get bigger queues than writers, e.g. at conventions. Anyway, I enjoyed meeting him - he looks a bit different out of make-up (white hair, and big moustache!), and he's an entertaining speaker. He randomly sang a verse from an Irish ballad while he was talking to someone else in the line. That was one good thing about the small queue actually, as he took a few minutes to chat to each person, which other people in the queue could overhear, rather than taking the assembly line approach. In my case, he asked whether I was from Ireland, and I said "No, just from England", which he didn't think was the right attitude to have ("that's like saying 'just from the Empire!'"), and so he wrote a personalised comment along those lines in one of the books he signed for me. Meanwhile, there was some music playing in the background, which was basically a Voyager single (3 tracks) on infinite loop. There was the standard opening sequence, followed by what seemed to be a disco version - slightly faster tempo, with added drums and electric guitar. Very bizzare. When it started playing again, J.G. Hertzler said "Ah, that's better, it's the DS9 theme tune this time", but I said "No, I think it's Voyager again", which the other people standing near me agreed with.
Him: "Are you sure?"
Us: "Yup, definitely. We're fans, we know this stuff."
There was a DS9 video playing on a TV nearby, although the sound was muted. I was only able to narrow it down to somewhere in the first 3 seasons (since Sisko had hair), but the guy standing next to me was able to name the episode ("Facets"), which was impressive.
Looking further ahead, I've planning to have an 80s extravaganza video marathon at some point, to watch films like "Adventures in Babysitting", "Project X", and "Labyrinth". So, give me a yell if you'd like to come, and/or have any votes for films that should be included.
However, speaking of films, when I did a search for "Beaches" at Blackstar, it was tagged as "Gay Zone". Hmmph! This isn't intended to sound homophobic, it's just the same feeling I get when I see other films I own (e.g. "While You Were Sleeping", which I really like) described as "chick flicks", given that I'm not female. Ah well, I guess it shows that I have eclectic tastes, or something.