OK. The main good news is that on Monday I ran for 18 minutes. I was extremely proud of myself for not wimping out around the 14-minute mark.
The bad news? In doing so I managed to give myself a really huge blister. There is a definite "hotspot" on each of my feet, on the inside arch, which tends to rub in the later stages of a run. I thought the new trainers had cracked this problem - and to some extent they have, for shorter runs. I didn't really feel the pain until I had stopped.
I was fully intending to run on Wednesday, blister or no blister - it had stopped hurting by then. However, I woke up that morning with my customary lack of enthusiasm and rubbed my nose. Next thing I knew, large drops of blood were splashing on to my bare foot.
It was the alarming kind of nosebleed which makes you wonder if it's ever going to stop. I got dressed as best I could, one-handed, while holding a wad of toilet paper to my nose, and got myself downstairs feeling increasingly ill. Unfortunately blood takes me that way. My family rallied round with tissues and sympathy, but it was about half an hour before it completely stopped.
I haven't had a severe nosebleed for years and was not prepared for the way it made me feel all morning: mildly sick, headachey and generally weak and wobbly.
Because of how my day works, I have to eat lunch before going to the gym, so it's usually pretty light: cottage cheese and fruit, or similar. But that day my system was saying, loud and clear, that it wanted something warm and carbohydratey and a hot drink. I was in no state to resist so I went and had a toasted ciabatta with mozzarella and roasted peppers, and a latte. I would not normally pick that as a pre-gym meal - indeed, I'm well aware that it's not going to feature on any low-GI eating plans. But it made me feel enormously better. So much so that I could easily face the gym. I'd decided not to run in case it started the nose going again, but I did 25 minutes on the stationary bike and the usual weights. Oddly, I found it easier going than usual - must have been something to do with raised blood sugar levels and caffeine. And I felt fine for the rest of the day, and since.
I can't normally listen to what my body's telling me, as in no way does it have the same agenda as my brain. But I think it paid off that day.
Other stuff: I've been noticing for a while that my abdominal muscles have toned up quite a bit. At choir yesterday - the first rehearsal in a few weeks - I found that I've got a greater degree of control over my breathing and support than I did before. If any non-singers are reading this, support is when you regulate the air coming out of your lungs to ensure you don't run out of breath before the end of a long note or phrase of music. You kind of squeeze from the bottom as though your lungs were a tube of toothpaste. I hadn't anticipated this improvement - in fact, I'd worried that I wouldn't be able to breathe so deeply if my abs were tighter. Which doesn't seem to be true. Concert on Saturday!