My last three runs have been in the rain. This is a new thing for me. I have played sport in all types of weather. I once played football on a pitch that was both waterlogged and frozen. I skidded through a large puddle near the corner flag, broke the ice on top of it and cut my leg badly enough for a trip to A&E. It’s fair to say that the nurses saw me coming: my sport/weather record is not a good one. My wife will not let me out to run in the ice and snow as I cannot even walk on the bloody stuff. I am the man that always falls over on the High Street leaving all onlookers severely torn between concern and laughter. Laughter normally triumphs. It’s not a new thing to me. I cannot even blame advancing years. I have never been able to remain upright on anything even remotely slippery – and that most definitely includes wet leaves. I have been badly sun-burned playing cricket, I have been blown off my bike by the wind whilst still in the village and I decided in May last year, when I started this running malarkey that I would not run in precipitation of any kind. Instead I ran through the kind of early summer that my parents used to reminisce about. I didn’t actually try to fry an egg on the car bonnet, because I’ve always been sceptical about the veracity of the claim that it is possible quite frankly, but if it was ever possible, I ran through the kind of heat that made it so. …And this week I ran in the rain.
I have discovered a number of things during the course of this wet week. Firstly, I have discovered how much I sweat when it is not raining. I know this because my running kit is in exactly the same state when I get home, regardless of the weather. I always thought that as I got fitter – and I am fitter now than I was a year ago – I would sweat less, but it is not the case. Even the exertion of getting into my kit makes me perspire. I discovered that being fit for one thing (or in my case nothing) does not necessarily mean being fit for anything else. I did half an hour with weights last night as we are covered in a blanket of snow as I write. (Although almost certainly not as I publish – such things are very transient in the country.) Today I feel as if I have been run over. I stopped doing sit ups as both my hips were ‘popping’ loud enough to alarm the cat – and we don’t even have one. According to the internet, this is perfectly normal and not a problem as long as there is no pain. When do they mean? There was no pain yesterday, during the exercise. Today I can find only one muscle that is not giving me gyp, and that’s in my ear. Tonight I shall board the exercise bike, which I have just moved into the garage. It is cold in there, but not wet. I watch music videos as I pedal, and the world is good. Unfortunately, the garage is also where I keep the beer – and it eats into my brain as I strain through the last few virtual kilometres. It is waiting for me as I finish. And I am waiting for it.
So, all in all, running in the wet is definitely safer than the alternatives. Being locked down does, at least, mean that I do not have to run in the dark. 5k in the cold, wet and dark is a very daunting prospect. Just thinking about it brings me out in a cold sweat…
The next instalment of my running diary, ‘The Running Man and the Hip’, is here.
The last instalment of my running diary, ‘The Running Man and Beats per Minute’ is here.
The whole sorry saga started in Lockdown#1 with ‘Couch to 5k’ here.