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Just leaving a marker here — another day with scintillating scotoma. Will look back and add previous dates.
Here we go: 5 June and 24 February, the last two. On a previous occasion, I told Ed Turnham ‘I experienced two of these as an undergraduate — the first while I was up late reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I ascribed to exhaustion and the intensity of the novel; and the second while I was driving at full speed on the motorway between Maine and Pennsylvania, at which time I narrowly avoided a catastrophic collision. Since there was no internet back then, I had no convenient explanation for the latter incident. I put it down to residual trauma from the assault I had experienced in secondary school, which included my face (and especially my left eye) having been clubbed. After those, I have no recollection of any specific recurrence until recently.’

Yup, Plateau

This morning I pushed my did-not-stop till a few steps beyond the corner of Magdalen and Hurst, and I felt about as good as ever, and my final time was around 10:48 (maybe a little less, maybe more — I had trouble hitting the correct button to stop the timer). Still better than regressing, and I still hate running.

Catching Up (At the Same Pace)

We’ve had some downtime here at Hermeneutics and Wheezing Central — possibly connected with a nasty bout of comment spam (‘Comment spam’? What is this, 2006?) — but things seem to be stabilising. Thanks again to Christopher for the hosting.

So, the last I remember posting a time, I was running a 10:46. I thought that was still slower than I had worked up to toward the beginning of the year, but no! I was hovering around 11:00 when I stopped due to the Health Scare, and now I’ve pared almost 15 seconds off that mark. I have hit a real plateau there — a 10:47, 10:46, and yesterday 10:48. That’s fine; I obviously can’t expect to improve by five or more seconds every go. The good news is that last Wednesday I pushed my not-break-stride mark all the way to the intersection of Magdalen Road and Hurst, well more than halfway. Now, yesterday I didn’t do nearly so well, falling into a walk somewhere around Magdalen and Iffley, maybe as early as Stanley. My lungs were the culprits, I think; my legs felt relatively limber. But I still lost only a couple of seconds from my current normal pace.

Anyway, I’m at a plateau for pace, but it’s a reasonable plateau given my history of motionlessness; and I’m improving my steadiness by fits and starts. Someday I will go the whole route without walking, and that will be a Great Thing.


Sunday I was very, very reluctant to get out of bed, and a good deal more reluctant to run my morning mile. I decided to compromise with myself: I would do a mile, but not press. I came in at 11:46 — a humbling rate, but at least I didn’t bail out altogether.

This morning I woke up feeling all right, loosened up with some rope-skipping and stretches, and successfully pushed my not-break-stride point to the point where Stanley Street joins Magdalen Road, and I had Hurst in my sights. A significant part of the distance I had a physical understanding of how it would feel to run, limber and adequately aerated, the whole way. Nothing revolutionary as a result, but I did come in at 10:48, a full minute faster than Sunday’s semi-effort.


This morning I reluctantly slithered out of bed, tied on my trainers, and ran my mile. I pushed my non-break mark back up to the Missing Bean on Magdalen Road, which is good, and my time down to 11:035 (I give the extra decimal because it means that even though I round it up to 11:04, I actually ran faster than I have since I re-started after my lapse). The funny thing this morning was that for the first time ever, the physical sensation that stood out as I was plodding along was how leaden my bum felt — presumably some sort of unfamiliar stiffness in those muscles. Onward and… more onward.


Wednesday, 11:18. I stretched my not-break-stride to Magdalen Road.

Today, 11:04. My left knee and hamstring protested a bit before I started, but I didn’t feel any problems while I was going. I pushed not-break-stride back to partway ( a little way) up Magdalen Road, but on the whole it was a very average sort of run.


11:13 today, as my knees complain and I note with frustration how many seconds slip by while I’m trying to hit the ‘Stop’ button on my timer. But I pushed my ‘not-break-stride’ mark back to Stanley Street.


I forgot to blog this on Wednesday, but that morning I did my run in 11:04 — surprisingly fleet, after the long layoff and two results at about 11:30. I almost ran yesterday morning, but I had 8:00 Mass and didn’t want to impose on the latter any consequences of the former.

Reboot, or Re: Trainers

Just a note before I dash off to work on my translation project to observe that several months ago I had a Health Scare, which put me off ‘running’ for a while. As a result, I only just resumed my biweekly exercise last Wednesday, when I ran for 11:41 (much better than I feared, after a long layoff). Yesterday morning my time was 11:36, so we can regard that as a baseline pro tem.

I was cleared, by the way, from the concern mentioned above, at least until further testing. I remain now as I have been most all along, for better or worse.

Tract 85: Lectures on the Scripture Proofs of the Doctrines of the Church

In my on-going fascination with the rationale for practices of biblical interpretation (particularly in England, particularly among catholic-minded scholars), I was perusing John Henry Newman’s Tract 85, and it occurred to me that it, too, might be worth transcribing for study purposes.

Newman on Scripture Proof of Church Doctrine, Tract 85

This link leads to a single-page A5 layout PDF of the booklet. It may work best for tablets, for instance.

This link leads to a side-by-side A4 layout PDF, which should scroll nicely along a larger landscape-oriented computer screen.

And maybe someday I’ll run them through Calibre to make ebook format versions.

As is often the case with Newman, I am about two-thirds sympathetic. He could solve a lot of the problems with which he’s wrestling if he gave up on the conceptual metaphor that texts contain meaning, but then I would say that.


I will be suspending my running campaign for a bit, for health-related reasons. Much as I hate running, I am even more nettled to risk losing ground in this way; my ideal is to spend as little time as possible running, by building myself up to the point of being able to run my bi-weekly mile relatively quickly and smoothly. For now, though, the health of the whole body takes precedence over the legs and lungs. (By the way, my lungs were scanned last week and were found ‘pristine’, so at least they look okay relative to my father’s pulmonary fibrosis.)

For the Record, From Twitter

Margaret and I were tickled by a tweet from Breakfast Haver, in which he answers his 3-year-old son’s questions with responses that sound as if they belong to a sport presenter. ‘That’s absolutely right.’ ‘The facts don’t lie.’ ‘One hundred percent.’

So now when we’re conversing at home, any question that calls for an affirmative answer now evokes on of these responses. “Are you turning the heat up?’ ‘The facts don’t lie, do they?’

It’s the small things, after almost 36 years of marriage.