My dear Katski, Soros, Sorioski, Soski, Snorbits, Sooooooorrrrrrrrrrros, I'm sorry today maybe wasn't what you expected. You know you've been ill, quite ill especially these last few weeks. I'm don't know if today was the right day to help you on your way, you have been such a brave, strong and resilient fur ball. You know how hard it has been getting for you to breathe and before it got difficult and frightening for you we thought it was time.... You enjoyed some car roof sunbathing yesterday and a feast of tuna last night and this morning..... We know these last few days in particular you've been wheezing again and you've been struggling to suck in air but I know your last moments were peaceful, your final breaths were easier as your body said goodbye to your spirit. We tried out best for your last days to be as good for you as could be.
I'm sorry for the few times I've sworn at you in the middle of the night as you decided my head or tummy looked like a good landing spot. They were not! But these were rare occasions of disquiet. I've rarely if ever come across a feline soul so intelligent, independent, quietly demanding (only on your terms) and affectionate when offered the possibility of duvet time (evidenced by extreme pogging, purring loud enough to warrant an asbo, and dribbling like you had no off switch on your saliva).
There are some occasions I want to capture here whilst I write.... I first met you when you lived in your first home, back in the days when you were a city boy; your humans at that time were Jackie and Ollie and you lived in the big smoke of London Town. I stayed up one night visiting them and hadn't seen much of you (as is your way), then went to sleep and suddenly you materialised as soon as I was under the duvet. Suddenly no longer this shy tabby but some sort of gleeful, pogging dribble monster.... As long as I didn't stroke you you were immersed in joy. Little did either of us know then that later you would move to the country and I would become your human. When Jackie and Ollie upped sticks in 2007 they dearly wanted to take you with them, but there was an issue dear Soros that you may have been some other animals dinner... So heartbreaking I know it was for them to say goodbye to you I offered to home you and you literally did Escape to the Country (inspired by your move the BBC later commissioned a whole series about people doing the same.... But I digress)...
Moving here wasn't easy for you... Not only had you had teeth taken out so felt crappy and were on antibiotics but you were moving AND into a house with another cat. All in all a stressful time for you wasn't it little one. It definitely took a while for you and Muffin to settle, Muffin being the big black jealous cat and you being the Towny. Over the course of the next months you both got used to your own spaces and places and began to tolerate each other and even I think like each other. Muffin having breakfast time with me and you having the pogtastical duvet time in the evening. You both shared your human well..... The time you found dear Muffin and let me know where he was I will never forget and I have never been able to thank you for enough (because you don't understand human language, but I've often mentioned it to others)... That was his last night, had you not ran to and from the bush meowing (which is a noise you rarely made) I would never have known Muffin was there and he may well have died a lonely nasty death. As it was you made sure I could find him, I know we couldn't save him but at least he was not so scared.
The time immediately post Muffin I know confused and disturbed you.... You came out of yourself a bit more which was nice to see.... And then I decided to get another kitten to keep us both company. To say it scared the living day lights out of you is an understatement! You looked at me with big fearful eyes and a WTF expression as you saw this little black mini furball for the first time. At first you ran away from it (which incidentally was a little pathetic), until you and I had a face to face chat. I even demonstrated how you were supposed to pin the kitten down and reprimand it should it be needed. After this chat you did change and realised you didn't need to be afraid but lead.... And that you did. Caribou was nothing more then a very frightened little thing and took to you like the older cat brother you were. I know at times you had found yourself a nice sunny patch and he came and lay next to you but I thank you for that tolerance. You showed him such things as the cat flap, how to sit patiently to be fed, but he has never got the hanging of opening doors towards himself the way you can/ could. You were a master of many little cat tricks, intelligent Katski that you are.
... And this is how you sit on the shed Caribou...
Pesky paparazzi! Who said you could take my moggy picture....
A year after Caribou arrived there was another disturbance to your routine, but this one was most welcome and I know has brought you both moments of quiet bliss together; yes when Alison moved in you had I think your human equivalent of sole mate in the household. Someone who is happily quiet sitting reading a book in your company who will just let you be (unlike me, I know I fuss too much). You have spent the last few years insisting on being able to sit on the toilet seat at both bath time and shower time.... Insisted on being in the bedroom at bedtime and being my Alison's feet or side. Insisted not in a loud way, but a persistent way. You've shared study time being on the windowsill mostly (occasionally on the mousemat) when she has been working, always present but never, or at least rarely, a bother.
I know we left you for 5.5 months nearly 2.5 years ago as we travelled and had some adventures. And whilst we worried if you'd be ok, you didn't seem to mind ... and had mostly a lovely time with house sitter Mike (and Shula) who soon realised your love for tuna and how being allowed on the duvet turned you from a quiet almost reclusive cat to this enthusiastic, pogtastical dribble monster. So I think you actually were more then fine and we worried for no reason.
You've had some moments little Soros and have rarely been a hunter. Allegedly you did come home once with bird in mouth when you lived in the big smoke, but I've never seen you hunt since being here, despite the opportunity.... Although there was that one time.... You know the time I'm talking about.... When you say on the windowsill watching the birds in the garden (number 3 all time favorite hobby after duvet time and car bonnet bathing)..... As you watched I remember being nearby when I heard a massive thump on the window. I've never seen you move so fast as you hastened your way from the window, sped down the stairs, through the kitchen and out the cat flap at breakneck speed. Closely followed by myself. I was a bit behind you as I had t get keys and unlock doors and found you almost beside yourself with amazement with a bird in your mouth. I will never forget Soros. You were so excited but didn't quite know what to do as the bird came too and started moving .... Despite flying into the window it hasn't been killed, just stunned ... So all your dreams came true in that moment, you looked so happy and cat proud and then unsure. I asked for the bird and you gave it to me and let me put it in a hanging basket to recover. I swear I've never seen you so happy in the moment (other then at duvet time of course).
You've even tolerated the arrival of another black cat, the stray Mawnan Smith who has been a challenge ..... But you've just got on with it in your easy going, quiet tabby way.
Whilst you've been eating well these last few years we have noticed you losing weight, last time we took you to the vet, about a year ago they checked you out and said you were light but ok (and compared to caribou who is now a big black furball you will also look skinny).... This winter we've been more worried about you as you didn't want to go out so much and finally we took the decision three weeks ago as you had been sneezing and coughing a bit to take you to another new vet. I know these few weeks you have gone through quite a bit for a cat that doesn't want to be touched too much.... But you've been stoic in your tolerance of vet visits and attempts my Alison or I to give you tablets. Whilst the tablets have helped you be more comfortable we knew your time was coming to an end.
It was really hard making this decision now and we will all miss you my furry kitten. I will miss your dribbles and especially the soft dark yellow fur behind your ears.
Janathon came and went and I made it half way.... *sigh*.... started stumbling just due to work pressures and then I got flu so that just ended it all really... two and a bit weeks of being pathetic, although to be fair for 3 days I (well we actually because we both went down with it) had high fever, aches, pains and general nastiness ..... so that really wiped me out frankly.
Which brings me to actually the main topic of conversation for the blog which is a race report (gasp! shock! horror!) for Wokingham half marathon... I say race in a loose version of the word. Whilst there were plenty of people chasing each other and PBs there were (in turns out from several coversations on course) quite a few of us just seeing what we could do and enjoying a little run on a wonderful winters day.
Background then: This time last year I had an entry to Wokingham Half and had sort of done some focused run training.... then it rained (and rained and rained and rained) and the race was cancelled because the roads were under a couple of metres of water. The race was cancelled quite at the last minute so my friends who had entered still came up and we had a bit of a social gathering and fun run anyway. The good folks of Wokingham Half though carried everyones' entry into this years race (I guess they had an insurance policy which paid out).... So one year later and coming off the back of having flu and little to no training the preceeding weeks it was here again.
Now I confess - I was actually thinking running the race wouldn't be a terribly good idea. I had made it to 10miles a couple of times in my training but not for some weeks. With the flu I did nothing for two weeks - so I gave myself a test run of 20mins 9 days beforehand - recovered ok from that. Then the week before I did a long run - 8miles which took 1hr30... so was pretty slow and the thought of another 5 miles was frankly a little ludicrous.... BUT then I saw my training plan...
My coach - who does know best - basically had scheduled the race and basically said relax don't worry about it and enjoy it.... WTF
My thoughts... " Really - "enjoy" it.... Really.... Hasn't he seen all the RED missed session in training peaks... does he not understand how long it took me to do 8 miles... Enjoy... ennnnnjoyyy PAH!.... sigh... but if he thinks I should that means he thinks I can so maybe I could ... OK THEN I'm BACK IN!!"
Friends arrived and my plan was to enjoy a day out. We were luckily blessed with stunning winter weather - cold but bright and glorious - if it had been dull, cold and raining I'm not sure the prospect of a 13 mile adventure would have been so enjoyable. My better half who was marshalling then text to say she would be at station 10 - which was a perfect place for a drop out at mile 10 if I needed. I wasn't feeling proud and given my state I did go into the run leaving myself options to bail out if I wasn't feeling it or if I felt unwell.
.. and so we gathered.. stripped off and put kits bags in tents - shivered and found a sunny spot in amongst the queue to get warm before the start! Jules was aiming for 1:30, Sue for under 2 and me for whatever it was - give my run the week before I was thinking 2;20-2:30 would be about right. My plan was to run at a comfortable HR, keeping it below or around 148 for the first half and then whatever... I had two gels which I planned to have around 7.5 and 15k. I had my Garmin on but the only view I was looking at was cadence and HR. Time and pace were not of any concern... and more then anything else... the aim was to ENJOY and do what I could.
Without a blow by blow account the following graphic kind of sums it up... Before the hill between mile 10-11 the only walking I did was vaguely just to have a sip of water....
Approaching the 10mile marker someone's phone went off announcing in a computersed female voice "10miles in 1hr 47mins" .... and I have to say it totally pysched me out... Not only was there a bloody great big hill (ok slope but that the time it looked like a mountain) ahead of me but I literally thought "shit - it's taken me that long and I thought I was going ok, so it will be at least another 30mins"... so frankly it demoralised me quite some. And despite the nun who ran past me I doubted a bit and lost faith.... I took on some water at the aid station ... walked a bit on the up over the motorway bridge... jogged on and then .. because other people were.. I walked on towards the top of the hill. Hurumph... The Nun and I ran near each other every now and again which was quite good fun as they were getting some good support... but eventually I pulled away (relatively speaking)... I was now counting down the kms to the end... I played cat and mouse with several runners the last 2-3k which helped just keeping the rythm going... arriving towards the home straight I had a good shout out from some supporters from my Tri Club and further down from Jules (who had come an agonizing 40s outside his sub 1:30)... I trundled towards the line with my arms aloft very happy to have finished... only for a little lady to come flying past... well I wasn't about to be beaten on the line so we ended up sprinting together I'm sure I got the photo finish ;).... we ended up with the same clock time and had a laugh and gave each other a hug as we crossed the finish mats... it was quite a funny end.
I then turned my watch off and was more then a little surprised to see my final time was 2:11:42 ... so whilst not close to a PB actually much better then I thought and expected. Once downloaded I saw to my 10k time was a surprising 59:57 and more surprising 1:38:27 for 10miles... You can see my pace slowed quite a bit in the second half which is not surprising and my HR going higher as I carried on (no surprise there)
Ulimately I was very happy to have got out and tried and was very surprised by the result. My form however must have gone to pot the last few miles - I battered two toes such that I have two blue nails (yuk) and I spent the next two days walking down the stairs backwards (it was the only way)... So the coach was right ... the weather was excellent.... and we all had lots of fun. Jules missed his time by seconds few and Sue ended up somewhere around 1:55 having taken it easy - excellent result.
It was a good race and not massively busy which was good. Also the atmosphere and camaraderie for the runners around me was really great - so I thank them for their support as well as all those supporters on the course.
Apparently my coach thinks I will be able to run 1hr 30 tomorrow.... he is hilarious.... but I have been walking forwards down stairs for a few days now so who knows - there is only one way to find out!
Very nearly forgot to blog as it was some time ago that I actually did something today other then staring at a spreadsheet!!!
Woke up with a swim in mind but a fear for new year swimmers. After the mayhem in the pool on Saturday afternoon (yes it was the adult only swim session), I feared for a repeat this morning..... The swim Gods however shined their light down on me... Apparently it had been manically busy but when I arrived I arrived in a lull!! Started off with just two (yes 2!!!) in the lane which hit a max of 5... All of which was fine.... Starts getting a bit awkward at 6 people and above that just silly (lack of lame discipline and etiquette) .... So I was very lucky indeed.
My swim set was made up mostly of sets differing in lengths and intensity... Plan was for 2600m and whilst I followed my plan (so I thought) when I got out of the pool and hit stop my watch told me I'd done 2500m.... I somehow managed to miss a small 100m easy set in the middle!!
Anyway... I did my swim, got changed and got a coffee on the way out to slurp on the way to work.... To commence yet another manic week at work... Not that I had much of a non working weekend mind.... But still the light is hopefully at the end of the planning cycle tunnel as the deadlines are now all approaching...fast!!! It's like a train of swimmers all getting to the end of the pool at the same time... ie it could get messy!!!
Janathon Day 12 Summary.... 2.5k swim
Jantastic weekly log: 1 swim of 1 committed... Tick