It’s been one of those miserable, wet weekends.
When I woke this morning there was heavy drizzle, grey bleakness and the wind buffeted, almost leafless trees, were struggling to stay upright.
“Looks a bit too wet and windy to go running” I ventured. My legs retained the memory of yesterday’s muddy hills and I was already persuading myself I was coming down with a heavy cold.
“It’s not too bad, just a bit of drizzle” responded my other half who had just returned from walking the dog round the garden. No mention of the wind but then he was sheltered by the hedge rows. My second attempt for sympathy and confirmation that going for a run would be a bad idea,”I think I’ve got a cold”, was even more of a failure with the retort “You always say that”.
My running mates might not realise the weather was terrible and still want to run. If they did, then I knew I would go: image to maintain! So I sent the usual Sunday morning texts: “You running today?” Two were injured and one was away for the weekend. “Yes!” A long lie in stretched ahead.
I lay in bed reading “Cruel Britannia a secret history of torture” by Ian Cobain, hoping by each turn of the page that the good guys, with a sense of what I thought were British values, would ride in to rescue the reputation of the country – but of course at only half way through the book, not likely.
At the back of my mind I knew I would get up and go for a run. The weather wasn’t so bad and my other half mentioned a few times it was “brightening up”. I was already starting to feel guilty. I needed a better excuse or it would only get worse.
“You not going for a run today” from my daughter who I usually drop off at work on my way to meeting my running mates. Clearly she hadn’t noticed the weather either.
I kept reading … “whereas pain inflicted on a person from the outside may actually focus or intensify his will to resist, his resistance is likely to be sapped by pain which he seems to inflict upon himself”.
Contrary to the views of many of my colleagues running isn’t torture (they should read Cobain’s book if they think it is), but it can be painful and it is self inflicted pain. The statement seemed to make sense and fit with why so few runners with the potential actually make it to the top. Even the lure of Olympic gold can’t entice them to inflict the pain of training hard enough on themselves. These days it is only stubbornness that that stops me giving up at the mere hint of pain and I always ease off … recently, even in races!
I managed to lie in bed reading for another forty minutes before I gave in. I was faced with two causes of pain: the discomfort of running in the bad weather or the guilt of not. It was easier to face the the weather for an hour than suffer under the guilt of a fabricated excuse. Both self inflicted!
I pulled on my new Skins compression tights, a long sleeve top, tied my laces and went out to face the weather. The rain had stopped and the sun was peeping through. The problems now were the bright, low sunlight reflecting sharply from the slightly flooded roads and the blustery wind. I set off down hill. The road at the bottom was likely to be flooded. I accepted the inevitable wet feet, but there was an almost dry way through. As I reached the top of the first hill I was blown sideways by a sudden gust and an elderly lady walking on the other side called over “It’s dry, at least it’s dry”. She was right. Look on the bright side.
The next two miles were down hill and then flat along the canal. As a compromise I had agreed to meet my other half at the end of the canal stretch after 6 miles rather than finish with another two miles of up hill.
I reached the meeting point. He wasn’t there. I was nearly five minutes faster than expected and I felt great. It must have been the new Skins that did it.