There’s a sprinkling of frost on the grass in front of Kenwood House, and on my 5-minute warm up walk I’m being careful where I put my feet to avoid slipping on the frozen puddles.
Any thoughts of Speed, Stamina, or any of those other ‘S’ words so beloved by , are banished. Today is about taking good care. What’s the point of trying to improve your speed if it means you fall over and are out of action for weeks?
So, being uncharacteristically sensible, I put my Blackberry on shuffle and set off . The path across the West Meadow that I think of as the Yellow Brick Road looks more like a silver stream today – even at nearly noon the frost hasn’t melted.
Up until now I’ve been very picky about what I listen to but shuffle is wonderfully liberating. Sinatra sings a song I don’t ever remember hearing before - something about no one warning you about what love can do, then it’s Elvis, I think, with a strange disco beat followed by that nice old grandfatherly man who teaches Italian (and French, and Spanish and German). I find myself repeating Andiamo! – Let’s go! – which seems appropriate somehow.
I keep having to slow down to avoid ice – I know I could get some Yak Trax or whatever, but half the appeal of running for me is the lack of equipment it requires.
For now I’m happy to run for 30 minutes or so three times a week without worrying about speed or distance. There’s plenty of time for that when the leaves are on the trees again.
At the pond the machines that agitate the water to stop it freezing over have been turned on, much to the puzzlement of the heron sitting on one of the life rings.
In the changing room there are five or six other women aged from twenties to seventies all in various stages of undress, having just been, or just about ot go for a dip. Every time I arrive here wondering if I can do it this time, their presence inspires me.
Marching back to the car afterwards I feel elated, warm as toast and smug as all get out.