Thursday, August 03, 2006

New panels

They've reopened the gym and climbing wall after a month long outage when the place was rebuilt. Didn't think that they were going to do much to the wall, but they've reset every single route, thrown away - thank God - the useless EP featured panels and replaced them with plain ones, at least on the lead wall, and made the boulder wall 40cm higher. Now, had they only installed a kick panel on the boulder wall, and removed the top ropes it would have been an ace facility instead of merely a good one.

We've been focused on running lately. I love running, even if it doesn't come naturally to me - I lose running fitness quickly and take ages to build it up again. Add to that two recent leg breaks and two different orthopaedic surgeons saying that I'll never run again, I'm seriously addicted. The doctors are sort of right though - the first 500 metres of every run is agony, but after that my ankle starts limbering up a bit and the rest of the run usually goes without incident. The day after a run I struggle to walk on my left foot in the morning. In the forest here there's a 2.5k loop, but getting any sort of reasonable mileage out of that gets a bit repetitive, so we recently ferreted out a 10k run that although still encompasses one lap of the loop doesn't repeat itself (too much). We try to run about 10k every other day. A while back we got ourselves some Polar heart-rate monitors with a foot pod thingy to measure running speed, pace and distance. It's revolutionised the way I train and run. I've always found it difficult not to go balls to the wall when I run, and then only lasting about 5k before I'm spent. It's actually quite hard to judge when you're running say 75% and when you're running 90% of your max, but with the monitor I can see that if my heart rate falls between 160 and 170 I can keep up the run pretty much indefinitely. Sure, I won't beat any speed records, but for me running is about the distance. I did do the Bristol Half Marathon last year, foolishly undertrained, and although I completed it, every step was agony after about 8 miles. I'd like to get to a point where running 13 miles is not a once a year occurrence, but something one can do on a regular basis without being crippled for a week afterwards. The Lingontega run on Gräsö is a wonderful 10k run, too. Chris did that in an astonishing 42:50 this summer, nearly a full minute off my every kilometre. I don't aspire to run those sort of times, but being solid under 50 would be nice.

Of course, there's a natural extension to run to the ferry port and back, which would make that run, about 10 miles or so.

Sarah's now nearly half way through her level 4 Swedish course with Folkuniversitetet. They're working her hard, but the progress she's made is extraordinary. She's keeping up day to day regular conversations, and the amount of English we speak has dropped way down. I can't help but reflect on my school French, and the embarressingly modest return of investment those 6 years of study has given me. Sarah's two months of courses here has sent her so far beyond my French level that it is truly shameful on my behalf. It's also made me realise how much of my once solid Swedish formal grammar I've lost. Those of you who know Sarah know how she insists on understanding everything completely before moving on to the next issue, refusing to take anything as given. A natural academic streak.

"But why?" anyone?

But she's certainly learning fast.

On the culture front, me and my brother sat through the epic masterpiece "Ultraviolet" the other night, a sort of vampire-stroke-kung-fu tale with the easy on the eye Milla Jovovovovovich in the lead. Lots of guns and Matrix-style fighting. It's quite possibly the best film ever made.


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