The last two mornings I got up, put on my running gear, had the obligatory pre-run cup of tea and chocolate Hobnob and… well, that was it really. I stayed indoors. It was raining, and despite a good 49% of my brain telling me to just get on with it, the other 51% just wouldn’t listen.
To be fair, it wasn’t just wet rain, it was cold wet rain, but I did feel a failure. My running is off schedule at the moment and with a few days’ slippage here and there, before you know it you’re way off the pace and struggling with routes that used to be easier.
So today, for the third day, I got up, put on my running gear again, had the traditional tea and chocolate Hobnob – and to misquote the late great Charlton Heston, I did it, I actually did it.
Waiting those two days meant that instead of gritting my teeth, ruining my hair (!) and ploughing through the rain and wind, I was running in glorious spring sunshine. It felt so good that at the outer reach of my normal loop I just kept going, tracking along the side of the giant millpond, past the boathouse and up across the wide open meadow.
Halfway across the meadow, Gary Numan and the Tubeway Army fell silent, and I was just stretching out a hand to restart the music loop when I heard the skylarks. Their twitterering wittering song of sheer joy as they rose into the clear blue sky was enough to take my breath away, if I hadn’t already been gasping. The morning sun was on my face and the grass still wet from the overnight storms. But this was sheer joy: running in sunshine to the sound of skylarks ascending.
In all, I added a couple of extra miles to the circuit (OK so a teensy weensy bit of trespassing was involved but I know a really good prayer to cover that one… ) I ran for nearly an hour –nearly double my normal route – and returned home with soggy feet and a great feeling of achievement.
So a big thank you to the wise friend who answered my Facebook confession of two days of failed running with a top tip: Stay on the sofa with a cup of tea and enjoy what the rain is doing for the garden and the allotment.
The point is that sometimes waiting is better than ploughing on. There are of course times to train in all weathers: there’s a glorious freedom in getting soaked, and a glorious quality to the cup of tea afterwards. I remember once setting out in freezing conditions and lashing rain and passing the local GP coming the other way, already back from his long circuit – we joyfully exchanged the look of crazy runners, who know the benefits of wet-weather running. But runners I think can be quite driven, obsessive people, who sometimes need to learn to wait as well as to plough on.
So this has been a great lesson for me: Sometimes it’s better to wait out a couple of days of gloom and on the third day something glorious might happen. In Easter week of all weeks, it’s a lesson I’ll try to remember.