Fracking is coming to my part of the world, but that’s not the cause of the seismic activity that may have been detected earlier this week. No, that was the resumption of my running career. A quarter of a stone heavier and two months older than last time, I pulled on the muddy running shoes and boldly went.
The allotments were still snuggling under their white duvets, laid neatly end to end as if in some giant dormitory. The lane was part mud, part compacted snow and part ice-rink. The fields and paddocks were pristine white. The gates to the big house were open, presumably to guard against snowdrifts.
Down the track to the picturesque neighbouring village I pounded, imagining the jellies in the houses of the elderly wobbling like something out of Jurassic Park as the seismic event unfolded outside.
Into the churchyard, scattering a flock of pigeons and rooks behind the ancient yew tree. Down to the still-frozen millpond, the boathouse looking lovely under its snowy roof. I wondered how the resident great-crested grebe had fared in the cold snap, but I didn’t stop to look for it.
Last time I ran this route I set a Personal Worst time (in my defence I was probably already in the early stages of the Deadly Virus). I would beat that today, surely? I couldn’t possibly run even more slowly, could I? Could I???
My original plan was to lose all the excess weight before resuming running, to save my long-suffering knees from possible further damage. In the end it became clear no significant weight loss was likely to occur UNLESS I started running.
Here are the horrid stats:
- One month of illness and Christmas eating resulted in an extra quarter of a stone being piled on to an already well-nourished frame.
- One month of vegetable stir fries and walking resulted in a single pound being scraped back off again.
- Two months of non-running sent my resting heart rate from the low 50s to the low 60s.
Not that I was completely idle in my two month lay-off. There was a lot of walking, some cross-country skiing, one episode of Scout’s Pace, and a bit of jolking (a combination of jogging and walking, moving your arms like you’re running when you’re actually still walking). Other people may call this Power Walking but I prefer to think of it as Jolking. As in: “Did you say you were going out running?” “No I was only Jolking.”
I jog on.
Then the moment, the moment you hope for in running where everything suddenly comes together. I’m running uphill, heading home, and the next song on the playlist is Coldplay’s The Scientist (which includes the special jogger’s line “running in circles”). The rhythm fits perfectly with mine, and suddenly it’s as if the whole universe has clicked into place. It’s like picking up a comfortable old friendship with someone you haven’t seen in years: it feels as if you’ve never been away.
Running and rhythm, music and mood, scenery and senses. It’s all perfect.
And to add to the perfection: Dog count 0, People count 0, Temperature +2C.
And the time? Ah yes, the time. Well some negatively-inclined people might see 34 minutes and 55 seconds to run approx 2.5 miles as a new Personal Worst. Technically it could be viewed in this harsh way.
But given the ice, the snow, the two-month lay-off and the extra quarter of a stone, I’m not having that. No, I’ve invented a new category so that this return to running can count as the triumph it deserves to be. It’s a new Personal Best – Considering Current Circumstances (PB-CCC). I plan to beat it next time.