Hello Reader,

it's been a while - sorry, it's been busy...

So the highlights for those who go TL/DR (too long, didn't read)... I've cycled a fair way, started to pick up the running again, walked my favourite 5km and managed to twist my knee a bit... Oh, and I've added some more letters to my name.

Last, first - The OU is weird, OK, I'm coming from a bricks and mortar Uni background - but the idea of giving a degree then allowing people to do a bit more and get an honours is a tad... Well... Odd to me.  So with another 80% I've passed my Renaissance Art History, which in OU terms is a 2:1 (another oddity, in brick uni world 70%+ is a first)... However, when I started my OU journey I said I was doing it for fun and interest, and my choice in modules would be driven by interest and my approach would be to have fun with the issues - rather than playing the game... On that basis I'm astounded by my scores, and impressed with my application.  In the last few years I have roamed the arts and humanities like a lost soul hunting solace - or in my case knowledge - from the destruction of World Heritage sites in Afghanistan, through the Braque/Picasso dialogues in pictorial form, onto how planning legislation can impact on multiculturalism and this year knowing I can write 4500 words on something most would not look twice at, but I fell in love with 20-odd years ago when I first saw it...

I'll add my own pic in a bit - linky to an official one....

So, next I wander off to language and culture - for fun, and interest, I'm useless at languages, as my German, Finnish, Swiss-American naturalised Canadian, married to a Norwegian friends, will testify having mangled their languages for many a year.  However, this is a course I just need to pass to convert from a BA to a BA (Hons), and I'm interested in seeing if there's anything that gives me a clue as to my inability to do languages.  So we will see, starting in September.

That's the brain cells, now the body.  The usual post-Marathon fatigue set in, tempered by a challenge set by a friend, who may just be madder than I am.  She knew I had a new bike, and was determined to get me to use it... So "suggested" that I should do the Liverpool-Chester bike ride... No worries, I thought I used to do that... "And back" she added... That's 52 miles, on a bike that folds in the middle... Good job I bought a decent bike that folds in the middle!

To the amusement, well they were smiling, of my friends at work, my discussions about running gear mutated into discussions about padded shorts, saddles, panniers... And I trained, well instead of long runs I did long rides... 30km, 50km, 75km and then 80km... The Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool bike ride is fun, for a re-learner like me a good starting point, though I wish I'd learnt my gears more.  The sheer terror of going down the tunnel, the grind of coming out... The madness of other riders (if you've got a light bike, you don't want to stop in front of me - indestructible bike mets carbon fibre, could be expensive - for you!).  The hills were interesting, but with Jimminy Cricket on my shoulder (she disliked that nickname in minutes;-)) shouting instructions at me, and yelling "pedal pedal pedal" I didn't stop on a hill, in fact - one pit stop at half way for the loo and a mini-stop to stretch my toes out were the only stops in 80km, on a hot day...

Liverpool - Chester & Back...

Since then I've bought more gear (it's me, what did you expect) - spd pedals (with flats on one side), and shoes, and practiced my gears.  Will I ever be a proper cyclist?  That's a bit like being a proper runner - I cycle therefore I am.  My plan always was to use the bike as a bit of a tourer... And doing 80km in under 5h is better than I'd planned to do - so the books have been ordered for my late summer couple of days in the saddle, and the training continues - 22 miles in an evening, along a Sustrans trail, that sort of thing:-)

Which is being combined with the running - I have a half in three weeks and an ultra in five.  A couple of runs have shown that I've not lost all of my fitness, but have added some poundage - so the plan is to build up to 10 miles before Dublin (my first international race), and to try and get some hills in for the ultra.  The latter is dependent on my knee settling down - no idea why it started aching after five miles along the Great Ridge yesterday, but it's painful to walk down stairs this morning - so ibuprofen gels, ice wherever I can get it and take it easy for a couple of days.

So, the Renaissance is both over in terms of studies (well for now) and starting (in terms of cycling).




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