Monday, September 01, 2008
The Problem was Mainly One of Timing
I wrote earlier that my runs tend to be temperate. Although they can be a bit better or a bit worse the variation from the mean is not that great. Yesterday however was horrible. So unpleasant that I started to wonder what on earth I was doing.
As is the as in all such stories It all started so well. The plan was for a longish run and I set out at an easy pace feeling relaxed, Although the sky was grey and damp the air was still and the temperature was pleasant. It was perfect weather for running and I started to think about the differences between good running weather and the general definition of good weather: cool is good as running in the heat is sapping; still is excellent as I hate battling the wind; damp is OK, as soft rain or drizzle can be quite refreshing.
Most of the run was unremarkable. I passed a number of fishermen and wondered what was good weather for fishing. In season they are always out. Even if it is raining hard they will continue to sit patiently by the banks, bundled up, under an umbrella. Nothing will stop a keen fisherman but when is it most enjoyable? This is another area of life of which I know nothing.
I reached my turn round point and it started to rain more heavily but not unpleasantly. The sky though was very, very dark. About 4 miles from home everything changed – a sheet of lightening, a rumble of thunder and an enormous downpour of heavy rain i.e. big droplets that stung when they hit you. I sheltered under a bridge hoping it would pass over but as I got colder and a bit shivery the rain showed no signs of stopping so I set off again.
This was not at all pleasant. Not only was I a bit stiff, I couldn't get a rhythm because I was dodging puddles, trying to find places to land my feet and all the time the rain was getting harder. The towpath eventually became completely covered with water and it was increasingly difficult to run. I had the bright idea thatt the road might be a better surface but this was a mistake. I had no idea how completely the drainage system had been overwhelmed. The roads and pavements were a mixture of fast flowing rivers and lakes with water up to or over the level of the kerbs. The manhole covers had popped up and were gushing water and every time a car passed it sent up an almighty whoosh of spray.
It was impossible to get any wetter - my clothes were stuck to my body and my trainers slurped every time they moved. After struggling along for a couple of miles I suddenly admitted to myself that I was not enjoying this at all and I lost all heart. I had no desire to go on and stopped running. All that was left was a long trudge home. The sky was still gunmetal grey, the rain was still hard, there was still thunder and lightening. My limbs felt heavy and my spirits felt even heavier.