Saturday, 31 March 2012
Thursday, 29 March 2012
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Monday, 26 March 2012
Alzheimer's Research UK press release:
Government doubles dementia research funding
The Prime Minister has today announced a campaign of concerted action on dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK welcomes Mr Cameron’s announcement, in particular, the Government’s plan to double funding for dementia research.
An important victory in our mission to defeat dementia
Alongside our own pioneering studies, we have long campaigned for fairer Government funding of dementia research for the 820,000 people in the UK who live with dementia and countless more carers and families. The Prime Minister has made a commitment to people with dementia by investing in research, but from such a low starting point for funding, the doubling must only be the start. Alzheimer’s Research UK will work hard for people with dementia not only to ensure the new funding is invested as productively as possible, but to continue to push for even greater investment.
Thank you for backing us in our mission to bring about fairer public funding of research for all people with dementia. There is real momentum now, and Alzheimer’s Research UK is excited about where dementia research may lead next. With your continued support, we will defeat dementia.
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Saturday, 24 March 2012
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
West Coast National Park - Saturday 17 March 2012
Half Marathon along part of the lagoon
(Pic shows last kilometre of the race - shattered!)
We travelled across to the West Coast National Park on Friday so that we could register for the race that evening . It had been rather an overcast and rainy trip, but not cold. We checked into our chalet on the national park, then drove to Langebaan to pick up some food and register for the race.
Registering was very quick and easy, and I came away with my race number and a goodie bag (full of drinks and food!) within a few minutes. Back to the chalet for pasta and an early night – I had to be up at 5 o’clock the next morning.
Next morning duly came and I made a breakfast of lemon tea, porridge and hot cross bun! It was still dark when we left the chalet and drove through the national park to the race start at Langebaan. We saw the helpers putting up stalls and setting out drinks every few kilometres along the way. We got to Langebaan and parked very easily, then I went across and queued for the toilets! Better after that! The race was starting at 7am so not long to wait. It was quite chilly now and the sun was only just starting to think about popping its head above the mountains.
We were off on time and we ran back up the main road to the gravel path that runs alongside the lagoon. Very rocky, stony, pot-holey and sandy. Also not at all level. But beautiful! About a kilometre on, we ran through some small gates and the path continued for a bit further. At last we ran through the main gates on to the Park. We were on tarmac by now, which was a lot easier to run on. No good speeding up too much yet, though, as we had only run about 3 or 4 kms so far. Then, we turned right on to a cycle track, also very rocky, stony, pot-holey and sandy, but this one also had a lot of ups and downs too! More like trail running!
At about 10kms, we came out on to the ‘proper’ road again and turned right , slightly uphill, and ran to the turnaround point about 500 metres up the road. We saw all the runners running back on the other side of the road along this bit. Good when you can see all the runners behind you, but not good when you see all those in front!
Anyway, now that I had reached the turn-around point, there was some downhill running to be done, which felt really good as a change. I made the most of this and tried to gain some time here as my garmin showed me I was 3 minutes slower than I wanted to be. Of course, after a few minutes of this more enjoyable running, there was a hill – probably half a km or so long. Not too bad though – felt rather like running up a bit of Carruthers Hill near Pearly Beach, and I managed to run up it without struggling. Of course, the next ‘hill’ was a bit steeper, which involved running and walking alternately, but I was still gaining pace, and was only 2 minutes slower. This carried on until I got to about 17kms, when I finally managed to gain all my ‘time’ back, plus a few seconds more. If I could carry on like this, I knew I would get in well under 2:30hrs. The first marathon runners passed us now at about their 32km point. They flew past. I can’t run that speed at any time and they had already run 32kms! Well done them!
However, I knew that the worst hill was still to come! Very soon! Once out of the park gates, there it is – in all its glory. The Black Mamba! It slithers on upwards for what seems likes an eternity, and this is what prevents most from getting a good time! We ALL struggled up it – slowly, some walking slower than others, and we heard the music playing at the top: ‘keep on going, don’t fall to your knees...’ very apt!
Then, suddenly, we were round a bend and it was all DOWNHLL. Yay! Only a few more kilometres. BUT, I knew I had lost all that time I had gained over the last 6 or 7 kms so felt a bit disillusioned. Picked up speed for those last few kms but once the garmin turned over to 2:29 I knew I couldn't get in under 2:30 and my legs just decided it wasn’t worth trying any more and I stopped running for a bit, exhausted. I had noticed Steve in the distance (it was good to see him there) and he ran a hundred metres alongside me, shouting all sorts of nice encouraging things, then I turned and ran the next little bit, and over the finishing line, where there were all sorts of people recording times, handing out medals and drinks, and making various encouraging 'well done' noises.
The clock showed 2:31 something, but I didn’t notice the seconds. My eyes just kept seeing the ‘31’. A bit disappointed really, although I know I shouldn’t be. My time was much better than last year’s, at least 8 or 9 minutes quicker, so a PB for that course, but it wasn’t as hot as last year’s run either. Still got warm and in the 20's but bearable.
I still struggle to get my pacing right but think I went at about the right speed to start with. It is never going to be a course for anyone for a really good PB – too much trail type running over the first half and very hilly the second half. It’s very hard running entirely on your own too, especially over the harder bits. I was quite envious of some of the runners who were able to run with others, and didn’t focus on the ‘pain’ of it.
My garmin told me my time was 2:31:05. And I got my medal! That's the main thing.
I worked hard, and it was enjoyable. Beautiful scenery and lovely setting. The marshalls were all very good and the water and coke tables well organised, at least from my point of view and what I saw of them. I think it all worked much better than last year’s race (when temperatures soared and the marathon runners didn’t get taken to their start on time).
I even managed to stay in one piece, which is even more important. I need to remember that I was running it as a training run, NOT an end in itself, and that the London Marathon is the main race.
Mind you, I will just HAVE to run Cape Point again and beat my time there of 2:29!!!
Position in my age category: (women over 50) - 30/56
Position overall: (everybody) - 586/839
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Monday, 12 March 2012
Saturday, 10 March 2012
Eating Berries Benefits the Brain
ScienceDaily (Mar. 7, 2012) — Strong scientific evidence exists that eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berry fruits has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes, scientists report. Their new article on the value of eating berry fruits appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
In the article, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Ph.D., and Marshall G. Miller point out that longer lifespans are raising concerns about the human toll and health care costs of treating Alzheimer's disease and other forms of mental decline. They explain that recent research increasingly shows that eating berry fruits can benefit the aging brain. To analyze the strength of the evidence about berry fruits, they extensively reviewed cellular, animal and human studies on the topic.
Their review concluded that berry fruits help the brain stay healthy in several ways. Berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. The two also report that berry fruits change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signalling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage and improve both motor control and cognition. They suggest that further research will show whether these benefits are a result of individual compounds shared between berry fruits or whether the unique combinations of chemicals in each berry fruit simply have similar effects.
Friday, 9 March 2012
As we are expecting guests in this weekend, I had planned that I would run it earlier than my normal Sunday long run day, so that Steve could come with me and I would be able to help him with the guests later. I didn't want to run it next Monday as that meant that there weren't many days in between my long run and the half marathon at the West Coast next Saturday. So I brought it forward to Friday as we had no guests booked in...
Late yesterday afternoon, 4 Germans turned up looking for 2 rooms for the night. Well, what can we do other than offer them the rooms. Can't turn that sort of money down just so that I could have somebody accompany me on my long run! So, I decided that I could do it on my own, by myself, without Steve, I didn't need company, just my ipod and MarathonTalk. Two and a half MarathonTalks as it turned out!
There I was, staggering out of bed in the dark this morning at five o'clock as Steve's alarm went off. I had to wait until just after 6 o'clock to get out though as there was a lot of cloud cover, which made it appear darker than it actually was. I got out as soon as I could see where the roads were! No street lights here to help, and you don't know what's running, crawling, slithering or flying around, so I wasn't going out until I could see!
It was wonderful out there at 6 o'clock. It was only just getting light, there was no wind, the sea was calm and there was the smell of the early morning in the air. I didn't actually see anyone at all for the first hour!
I stayed in the village for most of the run, and ended up doing 3 full circuits of it plus a bit more up to the R43. Two 'comfort' breaks were included in that, and I am glad there are ablution blocks at several points around the village - open! Didn't fancy trying out the bush!
One of the MarathonTalks included an interview with Jeff Galloway, who is known for his run-walk-run programs, so I had a go at that while I was out too. I am desperately trying to stay in one piece so that I at least get to the start line of the London Marathon relatively uninjured, and doing the run 4.5 minutes, walk 30 seconds, really did seem to make a difference. Mind you, once you have covered about 29kms, walking always does seem to be a good option!
Anyway, I got back about 4 hours later to find that Steve had prepared breakfast for the 4 Germans, washed up and cleared away, said 'Goodbye' to them, put the bedding and towels they used on the line and cleaned the rooms. He had also made our bed and cleaned all the windows (because they don't stay clean for more than a day or two here, being so close to the sea) and now he has gone out to do the shopping to feed the next lot of guests later today.
I'm well impressed!
I wonder who really has had the better deal?!
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Sunday, 4 March 2012
I had a 12km 'comfortable' run to do, so decided to run around and out of the village. I knew it wouldn't be very fast anyway with that wind! There were a lot of sensible people around when I went out this morning - they weren't out in the wind.
Anyway, I struggled around the village and then ran up the main road out of the village with 3km to do. So that meant 1.5km up and 1.5km back. The road is actually 2km long so I knew I shouldn't reach the end of it. However, I did reach the end of it! Stupid Garmin! I turned around to come back and the Garmin seemed to 'catch up' then and I ended up finishing about half a km short of the turn-off I was expecting to reach! So, I ran a bit more...
1004 kms run in 2011
370kms run this year to-date.
Only 7 weeks until the London Marathon.
Saturday, 3 March 2012
I did 5km around the village at a slow, gentle pace. It was rather windy but very warm. There were a couple of joggers out running in the opposite direction, but not a lot else happening out there. Just glad I felt ok this morning to get out!
Another run in the bank!
Thursday, 1 March 2012
Steve kept me company, which was good because I didn't have an enormous amount of energy this morning. I don't know whether it was because my legs were tired (it is a recovery week this week) or because I didn't sleep too well last night.
It was supposed to be a 'comfortable' run, although I am not sure it did actually feel 'comfortable'! But I was within the right pace band, so I did still manage it.
Then a shower and washed my hair before off to the hairdresser, where it got washed again. Didn't mind that though because they always give a wonderful head massage whilst conditioning the hair. Mmm...