I trust you’re all in mighty fine fettle. Another week in the city of madness, it’s been a bit of a confusing one!
Have I got the job or not???
On Monday I started the training for my new job. It was good to meet all the other teachers & the course itself was pretty interesting, but there was an all-pervading feeling of “Have we been accepted”
After a very intense interview, Psychometric Testing & a NASA style medical, I was waiting for an e-mail to say “Well done, you’re in!”
It didn’t come. So we all rolled up for the training course a bit unsure.
The bombshell on Wednesday was “If you’re successful & accepted…”
Blimey, it’s not nailed-on then!
Should find out by next Wednesday, will let you know!
Otherwise, please buy me a Yorkshire Post on Thursday :-/
“Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”
I do all my reading on the combis & since I got the Clunk, this has meant I have been taking them less & therefore getting less reading done. In addition to this, sometimes when one can’t get a seat & your face is in somebody’s armpit & your backside in the face of someone else, (this is quite hard to describe accurately, but if you imagine an 8-seater minibus with around 25 punters inside, it becomes a bit like a mobile game of Twister!) In other words, it’s not always possible to read.
I only brought as many books as my weight allowance permitted, so I’m halfway through my stockpile :-/
My latest book was one that I had heard of but knew very little about: Robert Pirsig’s “Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance“. I picked up a copy off fleabay for £1.50, money well spent!
Reviews were mixed between “the best book ever written” & “a complete waste of time” (& very little in between!) So I went into it with an open mind. I knew that it had little to do with maintaining a Clunk.
It left a big impression on me. Two thought provoking parallel stories over 400 pages & not light reading at that. I do have a bit of OCD, it came from sharing a house with a mate who used to check & re-check the door was locked & this does sometimes rear its ugly head inside of me, not so much compulsive checking, more over-thinking things at times.
Halfway through the book I started to worry that the Lima traffic would have a Phaedrus effect on me, so I lightened up a bit. (The traffic here could drive a sane man mad very quickly, it’s intense!)
I won’t tell you too much about it, but if you do read it, read the back-cover first, so at least you’ll have an idea what the author is referring to.
Not my usual kind of reading material, but HIGHLY recommended!
“Run Wild” by Boff Whalley
This is my next read & I cannot wait to get into it. I read a draft version & loved it. Boff is a running mate of mine, who I met via my running club; Pudsey & Bramley. A brilliant set of fellrunners & awesome people. Boff needs no introduction.
His book is both brilliant & different. “Stud marks on the Summits” by the late Bill Smith was the pioneering book, factual & when it went out of print, it became collector’s material (I have a copy & it’s not for sale!)
Richard Askwith’s “Feet in the Clouds” was the book that launched a hundred Bob Graham Round attempts, a good read. Boff’s book is very different & fascinating to read. 3 weeks to go before my hopeful crack at the Lima Marathon & the night after the London Marathon, it does make me think and wonder, just what is it that makes a big city marathon appealing? Lima is a place with a lot of concrete. All of my training has been pavement plodding. There are parks, but the Huachimen don’t like you running on the grass. It’s a big bad city, with crumbling pavements, bonkers traffic & a rush hour that stretches from 7am-9pm (longer on Av.Javier Prado).
There are however dusty, barren mountains enclosing the city & my eyes are drawn increasingly towards these.
I’m only (hopefully/optimistically) planning to get round the Lima course, the time I do is secondary. There is no way on this earth that I’ll come close to my previous best time, set 14yrs ago when I was young(er), fit(ter) & had an easy job that allowed me plenty of time to train.
Roadrunning is time based, people ask only one question, “What time did you do?”
Beyond the 16th May, I may be wandering off the tarmac…
Run Wild is an immensely entertaining book, check it out HERE.
3 weeks to go & a wee tumble…
Training had been going quite well, mileage of 40-50-65 miles for the last 3 weeks & despite the constantly aching ankles/knees & knackered feeling, I’ve been pretty psyched, until about 7:30am on Saturday morning…
Was out on a long run, early doors & heading over the mini-mountain pass of Raul Ferrero, a strange moonscape scenery with old-style radar masts, you do wonder where the road is taking you.
It’s not a big hill, but after 3 weeks of horizontal plodding, it was a big change. A sketchy pavement turned into a hard shoulder & just over the summit disappered into nothing but a blind bend & with a monster truck nipping at my heels, I saw a bit of rough scrubland at the side of the road, so I hopped on it. At that precise second, in the corner of my eye, I noticed a conspicuous looking taxista parked up, outside a pair of huge gates, which seemed to lead to nowhere but the dusty mountain behind.
I was too busy nebbing to notice a protruding rock, just big enough to bring my progress to a grinding halt.
Whilst running downhill, at a fair old lick (gravity/momentum, not fitness in my case) if you trip you either (a) manage to recover your footing & breathe a sigh of relief, or, (b) you spend the next 2 strides hoping that you will (a) recover your footing, but you don’t, so you go crashing down to the ground.
Knee first, then hip, then shoulder & finally, your head, & you lie there, winded & hoping that you haven’t broken something. Not the kind of fall that you jump up from & hope that nobody has seen you.
(I’ve never had much coordination; I was advised that football was not for me from an early age, I did try at Rugby League but fell short of the mark, racket sports were given up as a bad job, running doesn’t require any special skills, so that’s why I stick at it. A lifetime of being clumsy has led to appreciating the NHS immensely!)
I’d fallen heavily on my shoulder & knee, but I’d only been out for 45mins. It’ be a shame to cut it short!
I dropped down into the up-market district of La Molina & was conscious that I was covered in dust, mixed with sweat, so I looked like I’d been rolling around in the mud (which I had 5 mins earlier!)
When I first came to Lima 11 years ago, there were far less people running, whereas now it is positively booming & there is even a dedicated cycling/running lane in La Molina. With everyone dressed in the latest clobber (including compression gear, which is beyond expensive here), I looked a bit out of place, with my entire right side covered in dirt & blood oozing from my knee. I must have passed at least 100 people running (I think there must have been some kind of club run going on), but not one gave me a second glance, nor asked me what had happened. Maybe it’s a cultural thing? I was chatting to a friend afterwards & they said that some people don’t like to get involved because of the $ue-me culture. I did wonder what would have happened if I had banged my head on the rock 6” away from my head when I tumbled. Would I still be there now?!
Back home, showered & wounds cleaned up, most were superficial, but my left ankle had swollen up & was twice the size of my right. Like most runners (coming back from injury/injured/just about to be injured), I refused to rest & gave it a “try-out”. I can run on it, it hurts, but the pain is bearable & with time ticking against me, we’ll just have to see how the next 3 weeks go!
Mispronunciation of the week!
As I cannot pronounce/roll properly my “Rs” I struggle in a foreign tongue that seems to have the R in every word I have to use.
I can get away with this to a point but didn’t realize the implications of trying to say that “My phone was charging”. Without the vital R, I actually said that my mobile was taking a dump. Oops!
“Victor Meldrew says”
This week I would like to grumble about something that is completely needless & if it was eradicated (or even reduced), Lima would be a much more peaceful place!
“Stop honking your Horn (claxon)!”
I was in a taxi once, in the centre of Lima. The lights were on red, we were about 10 cars away from the lights, and the street we were entering was stood still, gridlocked. The Taxista had his hand on his horn until we moved, as did most other drivers. Why?
At most lights there is a countdown to green. When it gets to around 10 seconds to go (sounds like a Johnny Cash song), punters start honking their horns. On the Clunk, I normally weave my way to the front, out of trouble (almost), ready to flee the lights, but there is always, always an Amber Gambler running a red at the other lights.
I even saw an official with a Hi-viz vest (done up, PI check!) saying, “Don’t honk your horn – s/288 fine” (around £60), but I have yet to hear of anyone getting done. They’d clean up if they actually enforced it!
Don’t get me wrong, I use my claxon to let people know I’m there (i.e. When they’ve cut me up/just before they squash me), but why do people feel the need to use them all the time?
Victor says “Piense Varon!”
To end on a positive note, the Nipper picked up the phone this week & said “Hiya”. She has been talking a lot recently, but not in English, nor Spanish. Not sure where she’s picked it up either, but she’s now saying it to everyone
Have yourselves an awesome week.
Johnny, Lina & Valentina x