Cold Runnings

About this last time last year if I’d have seen someone jogging on a rain swept, freezing cold February evening I’d have thought something along the lines of: “Would you look at this idiot?”

But today I was the idiot.

Today was a running day, though I almost forgot this. I’d worked last night and slept until about twoish and then wasted time reading and playing Angry Birds before realising with a jolt at about half fourish that this was a running day. I looked out the window. It looked grim.

The wind was falling fairly heavily and I knew that it was a cold day. But a running day is a running day, and at least now I have a pair of joggers. I threw on my trackies, a hoodie and my trainers and headed out.

God it was rough, it was probably one of my roughest runs so far. This was mainly down to the weather. My hoodie absorbs water like a sponge and lets it all through meaning that before I was even 10 minutes in I was soaked and it was weighing me down a bit. At least my legs were warm.

But the rain covering my glasses was the main problem, I couldn’t see anything in any detail and wiping them didn’t help as within seconds they’d be waterlogged again and smudgy as well.

Coupled with the rain covering everything I was totally off my game.

I run along this back alley where the ground is uneven, fine during the day or the dry, but with the light fading and puddles forming I kept hitting potholes causing me to stumble, messing up my already graceless running style.

I was paranoid that I was going to slip, fall or twist an ankle. I realised that this meant I was running slower and that today wasn’t going to be the day to set a new PB. No, my goal for today was merely to finish my 35 minute session.

That might sound overly dramatic, but I seriously considered jacking it in after the fourth or fifth stumble. I was cold, wet and constantly on edge, wouldn’t it make more sense to just head home and try again in the morning.

But if I quit now then I’d have set a precedent. If you give up once then its incredibly easy to give up again, and I was damned if I was going to start sliding back. So I decided that barring serious injury I would not stop a run.

I kept going and the goddess of iPod shuffle smiled on me by providing me with Hulk Hogan’s entrance music “Real American” which got the adrenalin pumping and helped me power through. I think I even hulked up a little.

Don't worry, I didn't rip my shirt off

The waterlogged path meant I had to change my route which was annoying. I usually run the same route every time, running for a bit before I reach a section that I do laps of, I’ve worked out that a lap takes me around 7 minutes, meaning I have to do about 4 to complete the 35 minutes.

But without the laps I lost track of time. My new, shorter route meant I didn’t know how long I’d been running for. I was over half way after my disastrous first lap and the start of the second. When I did check the time I was closing in on the 28 minute mark, which was pretty good going.

I switched again and did something I don’t like doing. I ran along the main road. I hate doing this as it means more people see me, but with it being dark I decided it was safer to run this part because it was lit up and with the rain I doubted that many people would be taking the air this evening.

As I started along the main road my iPod helped again by throwing on Placebo’s “Running Up That Hill” which I’ve long thought is a quality running track on the basis that (a) it includes the word “running” in the title and (b) it allows me to imagine I’m the brooding detective in a gritty crime drama.

This effect was increased by the driving rain and in my head I became a tough guy cope. A Daniel Craig sorta type. Look I know this sounds mental, and that’s because it is, but this is how my head works.

I pounded along and on recieving my 4 minute warning I realised that, aside from my soaked hoodie, I was feeling good. I wasn’t tired and so as I entered the last minute I sped up, originally only to overtake some dog walkers, but I kept going and flew along for the last four minutes.

The only problem with this was the numpties of my surrounding area, who despite seeing a massive bloke heading right at them still seem incapable of choosing a side of the pavement to walk on. The first idiot only picked a side at the last minute, leading me to have to do that stupid “which way are you going?” dance which annoyed me and caused me to growl “Pick a f***ing side, idiot” as I passed.

The second bloke actually chose to go left early on, but I think this was because I’d picked my course and due to my scowl from dealing with the first idiot probably realised I wasn’t going to adjust my course. Seriously, it was the closest I’ve come to achieving my long held Juggernaut fantasy of just steamrolling over an obstacle.

When I finished I’d covered 4.66km, 120 metres less than my previous run. But as I’d been expecting to only manage 4.5 I was quite chuffed and also happy that I’d pushed through the whole thing and not wimped out because of the weather.

My dad has a quote that he often repeats with regards to the weather, its something he heard when I was a kid watching Thomas the Tank Engine, and I was reminded of it today when my housemate told me I was crazy for going for a run:

“What’s a little rain to an engine of determination.”

Any questions? You know what to do. TTFN


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