So, last night, a friend suggested a Christmas Eve run, and whilst it’s probably a misrepresentation to say I was chomping at the bit to get out there, the opportunity to test out not only my new trail shoes, but my TomTom gadgetry too, definitely helped sway me to a ‘go on then’. When I woke up this morning, the motivation of a new toy helped me into my running gear, but I have to admit my enthusiasm began to wane in direct correlation to the noise of rain beating down on my attic windows. It was an apocalyptic downpour first thing. Sticking my arm out of the window suggested it wasn’t too cold, but it was most definitely too wet for my enthusiasm to hang on in there.
I sent a sheepish text ‘really, are we actually going to do this?’ My phone immediately rang, cheetah buddy acknowledged the inclement weather was a real deterrent, but then again we’d made a commitment to head out with others, there would be coffee and cake afterwards, and, for me the clincher, she’d pick me up en route so I could at least leave a warm fleece in the car for post run utilisation. Even so, it took super human strength to head out the door. Still, first success for TomTom in providing external motivation, I did want to experiment with the technology and had to concede this would inevitably involve leaving the flat… It was that novelty value that got me stepping over the threshold into the great wild outdoors.
We headed to the rendezvous point at the corner of Endcliffe Park and met up with three other runners. The first of whom was bravely wearing short leggings, bearing her calves which seemed extremely rash in the rain fest that engulfed us. We moved away from a rather large puddle to avoid further soakings from passing traffic, and then another two runners came to join us. At this point, we witnessed what can only be described as a Christmas miracle! The rain, it stoppethed! Hurray, we set off up the valley, my cheetah friend fortuitously reminding me to set my gadgetry going, and the yomp commenced.
Fortunately it was a social run, so even by my standards it was slow enough to chat and run and put the world to rights. I don’t know that we altogether accomplished the latter, the world seems anything but to rights just at present, but we did our best. I was a bit worried I do a face plant in my new running shoes, but they did OK. Mud-splattered, and all too soon entirely filled with freezing water from the torrent that washed down hill towards us, but they didn’t rub, and although not exactly a perfect fit, fit for purpose nevertheless. I guess I’m going to have to be brave and keep on wearing them till they become more familiar.
The brook up the valley was really high, and the stepping stones that you can usually hop across to get into Whitely woods were completely submerged. Not too many others out and about, but we did meet one little chocolate Labrador puppy which sat in an agony of obedience as its owner made it wait for us to pass. As soon as we had, and it was given permission to get up again it bounded up to us, leaping up with enthusiastic licking and pawing. It was rather cute, and it seemed a shame to have to resist such a rampant display of affection. There is little enough joyful adoration in the world, it would have been nice to embrace this canine fan which was instead wrenched away all too soon.
We weren’t out for long, and stayed dry throughout. Finishing off at a coffee shop for welcome caffeine fix, and in my case chocolate cake. Others were more abstemious – the awful possibility that this could provide some insight into why they are all light of weight and fleet of foot passed through my consciousness, barely acknowledged. I quickly dismissed the notion and chomped on my cake. Very nice it was too, thank you for asking. There is always next year for weight loss goals.
Run over, I checked out my totals. Mysteriously, my route came up about 2.5 km short of my running buddy’s Garmin. I’m not too worried, because it is the first time I’ve used it, and surely if it’s recorded some of the run it will be user error not technological failure. Once home, I was really pleased that it uploaded fine on Strava, and looking at the route, I think I must have just accidentally turned it off partway home somehow. I have tiny wrists, and wonder if the watch just moved around too much as I was running. If I could only work out a way to fast forward it instead, my running prowess could see meteoric development, there has to be a way…
Meantime, here is my half-route, which means I can only improve, not a bad baseline for progress! So this might not be an especially amusing blog entry, but it is quite a smug one. Ho ho ho.
Oh, and it rained on the way home by the way, so we really were lucky. I thanked my buddy for persuading me out. This led to a discussion about whether or not you ever regret going on a run. The conventional wisdom is that you never do, but I would add a qualification that whilst this is mostly true, that isn’t to say I haven’t cried with frustration at my own ineptitude on getting home from some. I just never get any better. Learn to enjoy doing it badly is always going to be the way to go with me. Still, I was heartened by reading someone else’s running year summary blog post a couple of days ago. They categorised runs into three types of fun, i.e.:
- Type 1 Fun: Fun for the duration of the activity.
- Type 2 Fun: Gruelling at the time but retrospectively enjoyable.
- Type 3 Fun: Happy to come out alive and never to be repeated….
So let’s be realistic, relationships with running are complicated, even more experienced and committed runners have less than joyful days. It might be true that I no longer regard a ‘fun run’ as the ultimate oxymoron, but I do have some way to go before I can honestly say every run is unmitigated and unrelenting joy! Meantime though, the Tribesports image for today is apt. Lace up and log that run! My TomTom will help make it so. Yay! Onwards and upwards…