Best foot forward

So having been cleared to run, you’re probably wondering why it took over a week for me to actually run. A stinky cold is the short answer. Having been cleared on Thursday to run, the plan was to head out Sunday and actually do it. However I’d had a cold brewing for a while and Saturday morning last week it lined up its final assault – which left me in no fit state to run on Sunday. Ho hum. What with that and a couple of all day meetings that sort of wiped the week out.

Yesterday, however, I was feeling much better. Even after a lovely lie in I woke to a world that had been dusted with glitter in the night; a very clear sky had resulted in a beautiful heavy frost. And what better weather to run in? I know – it’s one of the things that always makes me laugh about running – most people see a frosty morning and think it’s great to look at, or else needs 67 layers and a woolly hat before venturing out. I set out yesterday morning wearing 2 layers – although I did put a pair of gloves and a woolly hat on. And it was such a nice day for a run. Clear and still; it was nothing like as cold as the negative temperatures reported might sound.

Seeing it’s been over a month since I last ran, I stepped back a few time intervals. Having been at 10 minutes run to 1 minute walk when the ankle played up, I stepped that back to 3 minutes run to 1 minute walk. And I think that was about right. Managed the 3 minutes without too much trouble each time and used the 1 minute walk to cough, hack, spit and generally denude my respiratory passages of gunk. There really is nothing quite like a run for clearing the tail end of a cold. Snot-tastic. Should there be any high winds forecast, I can assure you that the shire will be in no danger – it is stuck to the map. Lovely!

It wasn’t terribly far, and it wasn’t terribly fast, but it felt just so lovely to be out. No worried at all in the ankle department, so that’s a relief. I took it quite carefully, as it was surprisingly slippery underfoot, with the frost causing a certain amount of slip sliding, especially on the smoother tarmac. But it places it was also making that crunchy noise as I ran over it. It was a fabulous day for a run, and I’m so glad that I was able to get out and enjoy it.

I will report that I was also a very good girl and did my stretches before and after the run, in order to warm up the calves and try to avoid a repetition of the pain. Just need to be diligent and do them every day… that might be a bit more difficult!

And the bells were ringing out for Christmas day

Allow me a little poetic licence – I know it’s only Christmas Eve, but there were bells ringing. And I suspect that the family would be considerably less understanding of me setting out for a long run tomorrow…

The husband was ringing at the next village, so when he set off there, I dressed and set out to run. Adjusted the usual route a bit, so that I’d run past the church while they were ringing. The tower is just over the ridge from most of the run, and the wind was in the wrong direction to carry the sound towards me, but they were going along nicely for the 30 minutes or so that I was within earshot. Nothing nicer than hearing the sound of bells drifting across the countryside.

I’ve had a cold this week, which has receded as the week’s progressed, but I’m still clearing the tail of it at the moment. And I must have cleared half a hundredweight of snot and gunge from the nose & throat on today’s run. Yes, I know it’s not at all ladylike, but better out and in the verge than siting in my throat. I don’t half feel better for having cleared it!

It was obvious from the paths that it’s rained a fair bit recently. The local clay has turned into a lovely sticky, slippy mud that’s trying to grab your shoes off you one minute and remove your legs from under you the next. Makes for a great core workout, just trying to stay vaguely upright. Then, having got wet, muddy shoes from near the lake, I headed up the ridge onto the finer soil – which decided to stick to the shes further. You know how those keen on aerobics sometimes progress to wearing ankle weights in a class? I have an alternative – try running  across a field. Achieves the same effect, but it’s the shoes increasing in size and weight with added mud!

I encountered a few people while out today, including a lady who asked me the strangest question I think I’ve had so far. “Help, where is my car?” hmm. She was obviously not local – I’m thinking southern European, and she was with a small boy, about 5, that I’m assuming was the grandson. I asked a few questions, and the little lad remembered they’d parked near a bridge with ducks. I decided that they’d probably parked by the sailing club – it is the obvious place to park to walk round the lakes, and sent them back in that direction. I have no idea if they got there, but I do hope so.

Finished the run by heading into the Co-op for a Telegraph. I love the big general knowledge crossword they have in the last Saturday edition before Christmas, so treated myself. I’d come prepared, had my bank card in my pocket, so nipped to the cash machine then into the shop. I did get a few odd looks… Me, wearing a short sleeved shirt, mud splattered to the thigh, and half a field on my shoes maybe wasn’t dressed like your usual Christmas eve shopper, I admit. Last half mile home with the paper in a bag was really very strange, completely knocked my rhythm!

Facts & Figures:
Distance – 12.0 (excluding walking round the co-op!)
Time – 2:34:24
Pace – 12:51

That’s about 5 seconds a mile slower than the bottom end of Long run pace, but I’ll take it for today. I did stop a few times and I’m clearly not 100% over the cold. But it’s done and dusted and next week will be better.

Nothing left now but to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas.