I wonder how many more hits I’ll get as a result of this title. Shame on you!
It’s been a while since I last posted so I thought I’d pop on and waffle about my recent exploits, which last week saw me enjoy my dampest run ever. I’d finished work and decided on a long slow plod around a slightly different route, just for a change of scenery. The last few weeks have seen me try to base my runs on heart rate, following a loose program where I alternate between easy and hard training sessions. John L Parker Jr, author of the excellent “Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat (sic) Idiot” refers to this as The Generally Accepted Principle That Everyone Agrees With, But Nobody Follows. It’s a bit of a mouthful, so I prefer to use the snappy mnemonic TGAPTEAWBNF (or to put it phonetically “T’Gap-Tea-Wubnuff”). Heart Rate training is great, because it gives me an excuse to use fantastic phrases like Recovery Ceiling, Threshold floor and Anaerobic Conservatory.
I might have made one of those up a bit.
Anyway, today was a hard day, which meant a long slow run (technically still a hard day because although the pace is slow, the distance nibbles away at the body’s glycogen stores, which will then need to be replenished by an easy recovery session the following day). I parked up near to Stanwick Lakes, but this time headed off in the opposite direction to the lakes themselves, instead venturing to the other side of the A6 where I’d never gone before. There was a definite sense of otherworldliness (real word*) as I made my way through this strange new frontier; it felt a bit Mad Max, and I half-expected to be ambushed by bloodthirsty feral baddies in spiky shoulder-pads**. The sky was the colour of angry slate, and my finely honed Ray-Mears-style wilderness instincts told me that this meant I was likely to get pissed on in the very near future. Not afraid of a little bit of inclement weather, I plodded on, aiming to do 6 or so miles before turning back for the return journey. But three miles in, and I found myself struggling to enjoy the run. The slight drizzle was combining with the monotonous slow pace, and between them they were dampening my spirits, to the point where I decided to turn back and chalk it up as one of those inevitable (but thankfully rare) bad runs.
And then the rain came.
I know I said it was drizzling before, but the hefty Chicken-McNugget-sized globules of water that were now suddenly launching themselves earthward showed it up for the pathetic semi-spray that it was. This was rain with a score to settle. If they ever made a movie about my life, this rain would be played by Steven Segal.
So, y’know… I think the point I’m getting at is that it was raining quite heavily.
As I jogged back the way I’d come, something happened. Well, two things really. Firstly, I got wet. Secondly, as my feet squelched along the increasingly waterlogged trail, I noticed that a huuuge grin had stretched from ear to ear and I was now smiling like the world’s dampest lunatic. Somehow, being pelted by what can only be described as a bloody-minded deluge injected a whole new world of vitality to my run. Five minutes ago this had been a slightly-cold, slightly wet shuffle through a few fields; Now it was something else entirely. Now it was one man battling against the elements, pitting himself against whatever mother nature felt like throwing at him**** and laughing in her stupid wet face. The torrential rain was disorientating though, and I found myself taking a different route on my return journey, unintentionally straying from the beaten track. I’m sure many runners will agree that there’s something hugely invigorating about running in the rain. I’m not sure if it’s the refreshing kiss of icy water against a hot sweaty brow, or simply the smug satisfaction that we’re out there doing stuff while most of the world would prefer to be locked away indoors, warm and dry. Whatever the reason, I fought my way through the downpour with a smile, battered by soggy branches, my eyebrows becoming so waterlogged that they almost pulled me off-balance a couple of times. The heavy-footed plodding from before was now long gone, replaced by a fleet-footedness born out of necessity as I tried to outrun the rain while avoiding the (now calf-deep) puddles. As is often the case during my runs, I started to forget where I was and drifted off into a happy daydream, feeling instead like I was crashing my way through a Hollywood action movie. The stirring techno of “Generic Chase Theme #81” thudded in my head as I hurtled through the undergrowth, knowing that the surly prison warden played by Tommy-Lee Jones was hot on my heels, along with dozens of deputies, some sniffer dogs and possibly a giant robot or two*****. Sooner or later this was going to end up in a tense standoff in a forest clearing, Tommy and I both oblivious to the rain hammering down on us as I tried to explain that I’d been framed all along by the corrupt federal agent who would stop at nothing to prevent me from handing over the microfilm to the district attorney.
Or something. I’m not entirely sure, because at that moment I found myself bounding back towards my starting point, the sight of my trusty blue (and more importantly warm and dry) Ford Focus bringing me back to reality with a bump.
Painfully aware that this is supposed to be a running blog, I thought I’d finish by sharing an invention that occurred to me while running through the rain. I call it the Run-Brella, and because I like you I’ve decided that you can have it. I won’t even take it on Dragon’s Den or anything.
Actually, now that I come to think about it, it’s not a particularly streamlined aerodynamic design. So, I’ve cunningly added an improvement to make it much faster. I give you… Run-Brella MkII…
Reading back through this post reminds me of the wise words of my friend Maclary earlier today… “Y’know, a lot of the people who read your blog seem to see you as this tortured genius. But really you’re just a f***wit”
I promise that the next post will be more about running. Honest.