Friday, April 16, 2010

Let's go to work

This week I have been really suffering with a bad cold.

I had hoped to get out and do exercise during the week but that has not been on the cards at all.

It started off on Monday morning as a sore throat which wasn't too bad, I hoped it wouldn't come to much. Same thing on Tuesday but also with a cough and a bit of a drippy nose. By Tuesday night I was starting to feel pretty rotten. All day Wednesday and Thursday I was hot then cold, nose running like a tap, achey muscles and generally feeling pretty rank.

But I've still been going to work. I'm right in the middle of my busiest time of the year and can't afford to not be there. I have staff who would be able to do bits of my job but there are other bits that only I am up to speed on and I wouldn't want anyone else making a mess of.

If it had been almost any other week that I was ill I would take the time off but this week I just couldn't be away if it could be helped.

I don't mind though, I don't really like phoning in sick, my attendance record is pretty spotless. 3 days off in the 29 months I've been in the job which was when I sprained my ankle and couldn't walk.

I wish other people had the same attitude though. Too many people phone in sick at the drop of a hat and try and milk it for everything it's worth. And I'm sure a lot of it isn't as bad as is made out. Back pain, depression, stress, anxiety and other 'illnesses' are very hard to prove or disprove. Anyone can pipe up, "Ooh, I'm depressed, and I have a sore back, which is making me anxious". Not a lot we can do as long as their doctor buys their story and that's the last we see of them for a couple of months. Meanwhile the few left at work have to carry the can for the rest of them.

Once one person goes off sick it's like a domino effect, everyone feels they have the right to a few days off work, a few days extra holiday.

I'm not saying that anyone who is genuinely ill should struggle in to work, but a bit more responsibility would go a long way. The prevailing attitude that sick days are there to be used is a bit past it.

I'd rather go to work when I'm feeling ropey, it's rubbish at the best of times anyway. I'd rather save days off for when I'm feeling good and can go and do stuff.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hit the road

At last the snow and ice melted enough for me to get out for my first run of the year yesterday.

I could probably have got out a little before now but I really didn't fancy slipping and sliding, risking injury and freezing my nuts off so waited until I was sure that almost all the ice had melted. Also, I hate running when it is so cold that every time you breath in it freezes your airways and eventually can give you a right sore throat.

I had tried between Christmas and new year to get out for a run and I had turned back after about a mile as it was too dangerous and felt like I was giving myself a throat infection.

According to my training records this was my first decent run since I did 6 miles on December 15th. I had played a couple of hours of football since new year so I wasn't expecting to be totally out of shape but I hadn't exactly been watching what I was eating over the holidays and have put on a few pounds.

I decided on my route; a 7 mile loop that starts downhill for half a mile then is flat for the next 2 and a half. After that it climbs steadily for about a mile and a half before another gradual downhill section and a slight uphill section to finish.

Mel was going to come along and ride beside me on her bike, as she wouldn't be able to do the 7 mile route with her having hardly ran since doing the half marathon in October and her slowly expanding baby bump.

The plan was just to take it easy and see how it goes. If I could stick to 9 minute miles that would be a fine starting point to build from.

The first big race I am planning to do this year is at the end of May, running as part of a relay team in the Edinburgh Marathon. I'll be doing an 8 mile leg and want to try and do it in under an hour.

I started off nice and easy and was running pretty freely and feeling quite good. After a couple of miles I felt nicely into my stride and was concentrating on maintaining good form.

Since I had a few injuries a couple of years ago I developed a habit of sort of swinging my left leg round to the front rather than pulling it straight through. I didn't notice how much I did it until I saw a photo of me running and then spotted my reflection in a bus shelter one day. It wastes energy and it really doesn't look cool.

I had a new selection of sounds on the iPod which kept me plodding along quite nicely. And I was wearing the headband and gloves that Mel got me for Christmas so I had warm ears and hands but a nice cool head.

I was sticking roughly to the 9 minute miles and was feeling good except for the blister I could feel beginning. That's what happens when I don't get out often enough, my feet get soft and can't take it.

I picked the pace up a little for the last couple of miles but I didn't have a whole lot left in the tank. I ended up finishing in just over an hour, so was running 8 minute 45 second miles. Not too bad for the first decent run in a month.

I have four months to get that down to 7 and a half minutes per mile. Better get busy on a proper training schedule to increase my speed.

Slightly stiff legs today even though I had a good stretch after I finished and a bit tight across the shoulders, but that will pass soon enough. Think I'll try and get out again on Wednesday, build it up slowly.