A shaggy cow story



Well, Happy Valentine’s Day, if that’s your thing.

Last Sunday S and I had a good long walk, taking in the Park and the canal, The towpath is a mess at the moment, so we were glad we were walking and not trying to jog this particular section.

The Gnarly Beech along the canal.

The canal is a haven for wildlife but at this time of year, canal towpaths can look a little gloomy. They are at their best at the height of Summer when the water’s edge is fringed with reeds and other marginals, and the faint but welcome scent of Meadowsweet is everywhere. In amongst the scrabbling growth of grasses and vetches you can always find a few gems, such as orchids. But that all feels a good way off as we tramp around, back into Leixlip, at Cope Bridge.

During the week, I got in a few runs. Wednesday was another outing with Jarlath and a few of his regulars, and I reckon I did about 17 or 18 kms by the time we’d looped around through the village along by the Rye and up over Louisa Bridge and then along by the canal and back down into the Park, where we did a few trail runs in the woods. No wonder I was feeling a bit whacked after that.

Some Lesser Celandines flowering along the Black Avenue. Spring is on the way!

I have also stuck at the gym on Mondays and Fridays, and the Pilates on a Monday evening, which was a serious workout. Without doubt, the instructor is ramping it up! The Wednesday session in the gym has given way to the run for now. I also managed another three runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There was swim in there too, on Thursday, I recall.

Friday’s run was curtailed by a callout to the station, so it was case of unfinished business the next day, where I did about 7kms.

I had to stop on the way back to take a quick pic of this ‘coo’. If you’re Scottish, you will know these are Highland Cattle and you will also probably call them ‘cooz’ and not cows. Which I think only adds to their charm! I’ve included a picture of Holly as she seems to be getting very raggedy lately. She’s due for a trim, I reckon. We just like waiting ’til it’s not so cold.

On Sunday I went out for another similar run with a mate who’s just getting back into running. It was a nice easy pace and suited us both. And we rewarded ourselves with hot chocolate in the nearby coffee shop.

As for the crunchy knees… well, most of us (and especially those in my age bracket of late forties) who work out will notice that parts of their body will occasionally go on strike, sometimes in quite subtle ways; other times, with a spectacular “all out” bang.

If you throw ‘crunchy knees’ into Google, you are going to get quite a few sites that mention crepitus, which initially sounds rather depressing, and somewhat Gothic. Images of headstones and cobwebs come to mind. But it’s not really something to get too worried about. Indeed, if you have noisy joints but no accompanying pain, you are probably okay for a few more miles (just like my dear old car).

It’s when you get some pain or discomfort that you need to stop and take stock. I think in my case, the introduction of the gym workouts and Pilates all of a sudden was a bit of a shock to the system. Well, the knee department anyway. I have already dropped a few exercises from the gym routine (squats, leg extensions), so we’ll see how it goes.

Obviously, I don’t want to pick up an injury this far out from the big race in August; certainly not a potentially serious one like a knee injury. Generally-speaking, my knees have been good to me, so I plan on looking after them as much as possible (despite, obviously, the amount of work they will get over the next few months as we ramp up the miles on the road and bike).


So I’ll leave you with this…

This will be dessert tonight. Assuming neither of the kids have found it yet, which is always a possibility. They cannot hear you when you ask them to empty the dishwasher, but they have an uncanny ability to hear a crisp packet opening up downstairs, from within their bedrooms, despite having headphones on.


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