2017 and four runs completed. One on the 1st January, one on Tuesday, one Friday and one this morning!
The runs this week have been steady. Running on the first day of 2017, with a new year, hovering above, over a waiting world; slate grey skies and the heavy cloud-portents of times to come. A slow and gentle 5K, over familiar fields and tracks, just me, in the emptiness and silence of the morning. Thoughts whirling around my head, as they always do at this, for me, strange time of the year. Tuesday and another grey and somewhat damp run… no sign of any sunshine as I headed out into the morning… I usually feel a little bit flat after Christmas and New Year, but the past events of the last few months have added a spring to my step and a smile to my lips. Time spent with our newest family member bring sunshine to the dullest day.
I ran, on the lanes on this morning… the fields were too muddy and the tracks too slippery. The wet leaves under the huge trees by Rookery wood made the going tricky… I am overly wary at the moment of falling, after the rib incident, and slowed down almost to walking pace. The light rain, made looking around, difficult… and I shortened my run, to get back to the welcome warmth of home. Two runs, gentle, no pressure of time or distance, just getting back into the swing of things; checking that the ribs are fully healed and concentrating on the way I run.
Friday’s run was different. Clear skies, but no frost or ice, slate grey again, and no hint of sunshine, but a run day. I set out, a little later for me, after the school rush. No-one around as I left the Close and skirted the Crescent, a brisk warm up and then a lovely relaxed pace. This morning, I took an old friend with me, along with my many friends who accompany me on most runs. Laura came on Friday and she brought Stamina with her! Since breaking my ribs and using my cross trainer more, the improved strength in my legs is noticeable… I have got my breathing sorted too… and I set out at a fair pace. I was not sure if I was keeping pace with Laura, but I was finding the strides long and easy. As I headed down the hill, I could see the traffic backed up at the closed railway crossing. Knowing that it would be difficult to get across when the barrier opened, I sprinted down and across the road! ( davelinks , you would have been proud of me).The air was icy, as I breathed it in through my nose… (Buff forgotten this particular morning)… I thought it was mild! Over the road and up to the barrier as it opened, keeping a cracking pace, as only runners do, when they know someone is watching... tummy tight, shoulders relaxed, arms pumping and around the corner to the lane and up… I am not sure how I kept going, I was not really listening to the changes of pace and just felt like I was floating... breathing in and then out... until at the top of the hill I stopped. 3K in 18 minutes! Gosh...Leaning on the gate at the edge of the field I was sucking the cold, cold air in and steadying my breathing. I felt so alive.
The rest of the run was slower, much slower I was pleased with my burst of speed… but aware that I am an old snail and need to be careful! So, just into the next village and a return trip over the fields and home .
This morning… another run! Gear laid out, (including my Buff Ullyrunner ), or rather placed on the radiator last night and a slightly longer run planned. I was taking some chums again today… a week into this year. Chums who are having a bit of a tough time right now, and need our support and friendship; they were tucked tightly next to my heart. I also took a new chum ,who is just about to start this wonderful journey... I promised I would take her with me, and she could just enjoy the ride. She is going to love it, when she gets on the way…
Not a stunningly beautiful morning, as my photograph shows, and maybe not much of a view… but the running, well that makes up for it.
I set out early; it was only just light, with angry black clouds bullying their way across a sullen sky. No hint of blue as I made my way down to the village. A light mist dropping and clinging now, not fog, but mist at this time. The last Christmas decorations have disappeared from the houses in the Crescent, but in the gardens, new growth and brave green shoots are appearing. Folk have been busy already; winter pansies, in neat rows and glistening red berries on the shrubs in gardens, dug over before the frost of the last two days. A few For Sale signs have gone up, un-curtained windows stare blankly as I run past, empty rooms and silence; a new dream waiting for someone to wake it and bring it to life. I ran down the hill, and into the village, there are no trains on Sunday.
How many Sunday runs have I had like this? With no-one around, just me and a sleeping world, it is quite surreal. Up the hill and past the schools, gates locked, and play yards deserted. Up the hill at an easy pace; concentrating on landing lightly and breathing steadily. Lifting my feet in a rounded motion whilst keeping hands and face relaxed. Trying to do all the things that Laura teaches us, when we take those first faltering steps. Along the pathway past the Primary School, yellow galleon still sailing across the yard; manned by countless small sailors in the week, but at anchor, in the corner harbour at the weekends. The picnic tables beneath the trees are empty and damp, twig shelters lie half constructed in the rough ground play area, Ray Mears, watch out!
Through the small estate and up onto the Old Lane. Always mysterious but the mist was thickening here and I could not see the end of the lane; I did have a weird experience here once, as if I was being watched, but, keeping my pace going, (maybe a Tad quicker) and concentrating on the road, I was soon at the turn, A variation now, back down the hill, past the cottages and onto the field. My majestic tree, leafless still, huge branched arms stretched against the mist, the track muddy and treacherous, as I headed to the far field. The undergrowth dank and limp beneath the hedges, and although there is an absence of colour, the first small shoots which are those harbingers of a Spring to follow, are already bravely showing themselves. Over the steam railway line and up into the big field. I stopped and looked around. I could see very little in the near distance, but took a photograph for Swiss Lady. Complete silence, as I stood there, shoes clogged with mud, and the sensation of wet socks…the Kale in the field, still growing but only small shoots; no voices ,no little train, no dogs barking, any sound deadened by the thickening fog.
I ran up to the big gate, past the copse of trees, a glorious blaze of colour last autumn, but sadly greyish-brown in the eerie half-light. Lost in my own thoughts, a loud crash made me jump; the Steam Railway, clearly in Steam today, the early risers, volunteers starting the chores. Over the big gate and another pause as I retraced my tracks, and back down into the centre of the village. I passed only one other person. A young lad, who delivers the morning papers, he sees me often and always gives me a wave. I am fascinated by him, he moves so slowly, at a totally easy relaxed pace, and he covers a huge delivery area; I do not think he will ever suffer from stress
Running still steadily, nearly an hour now, and time to head home for breakfast. There was a time I always walked up the hill, but I can run up it now! The pleasure I get from this simple fact makes me smile.
So Swisslady , after a long ramble, (which my friends on here are, thankfully, used to), this run was for you; it is all out there waiting…wet days, dry days, cold or warm, dull or bright… we run, and the sunshine is inside us…and it is simply amazing