Jogging Big Year: Is cycling good for running?

Yesterday’s bike ride, what I call “training for next year’s Big Year,” was speedier than the earlier ones, courtesy of Pam setting a cracking pace. My quads pulled up sore but this morning, heading off on one of my tougher jogging routes, I found myself storming the Yarra paths. Wow: a final pace of 6:02 mins/km, a good 6 seconds faster than my previous best. Can I understand why my legs just seemed swifter? Not really, but I like to think the bike ride made all the difference.

2017 Rock Music Big Year: Old people struggle to change habits

Next year I’m meant to listen to an album each and every day. When I say listen, I mean really listen, take heed, absorb, LISTEN. I’m practising right now and it’s a right disaster. Last week my holiday packing incorporated headphones and three albums on my iPhone, and being holidays, practising the art of listening proved straightforward, right? Not at all – I failed miserably. The days were busy and for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to concentrate in an antisocial manner.

Why? When I was young, listening to music was like breathing fresh air. Easy as easy could be. Having fallen out of the habit over the last decade (two decades?), it feels alien to listen deeply, absorbedly. I see the same phenomenon with 60s-aged friends who say they can’t read books, so they don’t ever do so, not at all. Put them in a book group, however, force them to read a book a month, and after a year or so, bingo, they become committed readers.

The lesson for me? Practise now and get over this reluctance!

(Photo via Visual Hunt)

Keeping the birding flame alive

Six days of birding in Tasmania. As Jonathan Franzen wrote (his first riveting New Yorker article back in 2005, “My bird problem“), “They made me happy like nothing outdoors ever had.” The current Big Years leave little room for ambitious birding (that’s the point, to prioritise) but a Birding Big Year awaits . . .