Twice the Price?

2015-05-28 10.45.56As a keen Internet shopper this headline caught my eye whilst waiting my turn in the barber’s today. I wasn’t surprised by the implication that Americans paid less for their downloads but I was shocked that they apparently paid just half what we did. Then I looked at the figures in the table.

There are actually only two items in that list of 16 that either approximate to twice the price we pay or come anywhere near it – the Assassin’s Creed and Super Mario games. Four of the items listed are less than 25% more expensive in this country when compared with the USA and another seven of them are less than 50% more. In fact overall the items shown only showed an average of just over 50% increase.

I am not saying that’s a satisfactory state of affairs: We shouldn’t pay any more for our downloads that the Americans pay. What I am saying is that The Sun’s headline is totally misleading. I know that numeracy had taken a nosedive in the world since the invention of calculators (How I miss my slide rule and logarithm tables!) but have our newspapers really sunk so low that they now abuse that fact?

I think it was the comedian MIlton Jones when ask by Dara O’Briain on Mock the Week “If 5p is the answer, what is the Question?” he replied “Is it how much I’d have if I got £1 for every time I failed a maths exam?”

What price for a life?

You may remember that I blogged back in November last year about a jogger who was run over locally and killed by a van driver. Well that the driver appeared in court on Friday (22nd May) and this is the Surrey Police report about it. If I remember correctly, press reports at the time said that the 39-year-old victim had two children and, as I reported at the time, those children did not expect never to see their mother again when she left for her jog that morning.

I have no idea what the sentencing guidelines are for Death by Dangerous Driving: Maybe the judge’s hand were tied by this. I’m sure the driver got a discount for pleading guilty but 4 years for taking an innocent person’s life, turning a husband into a widower and depriving two children of their mother? Really?

Isn’t it about time that sentences for offences of this nature were brought into line with similar offences against the person? Murder (not that I’m suggesting this was murder) carries a mandatory life sentence. I’m fairly certain this man will be out in time for Christmas 2016 or if very soon after that.

The 86th Fulham Palace Parkrun – 23rd May 2015

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The sun shone on the 260 of us who turned out for the 86th Fulham Park Parkrun this week. As usual at the briefing, we applauded those who were participating in our 5k event of for the first time: I didn’t have time to count the hands that went up but I know now that there were 37 of them. We also heard that we had a ‘Parkrun Tourist’ who had come all the way from New South Wales.

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Some ran, some jogged and some walked from the briefing to the to the start. I faced my usual conundrum whilst waiting for the off: Do I start at the back and spend the first kilometre overtaking those slower than me or weave my way closer to the front and get demoralised being overtaken myself by those faster than me? In any event that question didn’t matter because whilst making my way passed a man with a barking dog the run started.

I really only have one aim in Fulham Palace Parkruns and that’s not to be lapped by the front runners as I complete my second lap. Thankfully I managed that this week as Richard Taylor (from Serpentine RC and running at Fulham for the 17th time) didn’t quite catch me although he finished in 16:46. Congratulations Richard.

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First female runner (17th overall) was Stephanie Tollemache (Fulham RC on her 19th appearance) finishing in 18:49. Congratulations Stephanie.

The rest of us finished over the next 17 minutes or so recording 54 personal bests. Full results can be found here.

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Alex Davidson earns a special mention as he broke the Age Grade course record scoring 88.49% by finishing 5th in 17:05. Well done Alex. Those of us who usually score in the 50%-70% have no idea how you do that!

For those interested in more statistics, the Fulham Palace Parkrun was first run on 19th October 2013. Since then it has recorded 3,590 different runners from 286 athletics clubs. The course record is held by Chris Olley who ran it in 15:27 on 25th October 2014.

Thank you to the volunteers who make Fulham Palace Parkrun such a friendly run and thank you to my son for the photographs.

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Coffee afterwards in the Palace

Running Before and After My Injury

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Fulham Palace Parkrun

Back in February this year I was diagnosed with an Inguinal Hernia (see my entry ‘Injuries and Gadgets’ dated 24th February where I moaned about it!) As a regular runner who didn’t want to stop running I immediately started to look on the Internet for articles that might inform me about how my injury would affect my running both up to my operation and beyond. I found plenty of relevant questions, posted on websites linked to running and fitness, where fellow runners had been kind enough to share their experiences and the coping mechanisms they had used when running with their hernia. However I found very little information from those who had started to run again after their operation. So this is my contribution in the hope that at least one person suffering from the same type of injury might find my pre-operation exercise advice and post-op recovery running plan useful if they happen upon this piece through their search engine of choice.

I think the first thing to stress is that every case is, of course, very different and whatever I go onto say in this entry should be tempered by any medical advice you get. I am a 59 year-old man, weighing about 77 kilos who, up until I was diagnosed anyway, was running approximately 45k (28 miles) at an average pace of 6 minute 30 second kilometres (some would say that’s jogging not running!) usually in 5-6 sessions per week. Prior to seeing my doctor I had been experiencing groin pain for at least two weeks but I had decided that I had a groin injury and hoped it would just go away!

Did I allow the hernia to stop me running?

No I didn’t.

My weekly distance almost halved to 23k as, despite medical advice (see below), I couldn’t help but think running wasn’t doing the injury any good. However I found I could run with the minimal of discomfort if I wore tight-fitting running shorts or leggings. I couldn’t run completely pain-free so I did stick to shorter runs rather than my traditional Sunday long run which I decided to postpone until I was better.

As allude to above, I did seek medical advice about pre-op running from both my GP and my consultant. Both were of the opinion that I wouldn‘t do myself any more harm by embarking on the occasional run but, as I said, it was always at the back of my mind that I just might be making things worse so I certainly took it very easy for the four weeks from diagnosis to my operation.

I didn’t allow the injury to reduce my number of sessions or the duration of my exercises though: I found that I could manage cycling and cross-training in the gym with little or no discomfort. In particular the exercise bikes where you sit down (see the photograph below) seemed to be the most comfortable.

How long after the operation was it before I could exercise?

Without wishing to repeat myself too much, I should say again here that everyone is different. I have no idea if my recovery rate was faster or slower than the average patient. Please, if you’re reading this after an operation, listen to your body and work on the basis, as I did, that if it hurts then you probably shouldn’t be doing it!

I had my keyhole operation at 8am one Saturday morning in mid-March. I was discharged from hospital early afternoon of the same day. Once at home I downloaded the leaflet ‘Get Well Soon – Helping you make a speedy recovery after groin hernia repair’ published by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS). Part of the advice it gave said “The secret to a quick recovery is to keep moving” and later on in the pamphlet “The important point to remember is that you cannot do any harm to your hernia repair by walking”. Based on this advice (I hope my consultant isn’t reading this!) I went for a walk that afternoon. I didn’t walk very far (2k at the most) and took it very steady but I felt I’d really achieved something once I got home.

The following day I increased the walk a little. By the Monday morning I had an important decision to make: Should I walk my 11 year-old son the 2k to school or ask my wife to take him? With the RCS advice still in mind I decided to take the plunge and walk to the school. I felt so good once I got there that I extended the walk back by dropping into the local Costa Coffee Shop. That same afternoon I walked back to the school to collect my son resulting in an overall tally of over 9k.
Later that week I managed to walk the 5k to my gym to have lunch there as well as doing the school runs both ends of the day. Over the entire week (Monday – Sunday) I walked a total of 106k (as measured by my Fitbit Charge HR) without any pain from the repair. The following week I just walked for the first three days then embarked, albeit rather gingerly, on my first run/jog on the Thursday. Since then I have been staging a ‘running comeback’ rising from 15-16k a week in early April until now (mid-May) when I’m back to averaging over 40k.

I have no idea if my recovery was quicker or slower than average. As you’ve probably worked out for yourself, I had no complications with the surgery and had an excellent surgeon (K Marcus Reddy if anyone needs a recommended one). I decided from the beginning that I wasn’t going to let this injury stop me running if I could possibly help it and I firmly believe that a positive attitude contributes towards these things.