I went for a run yesterday morning; 5 miles, flat, no great scenery, a gloomy day with gentle drizzle, nine and a half minutes a mile. It was great.
They say that Ron Hill has run every day for 50 years or so; I don't know how he does it. I had been getting out regularly but the niggles that come with years and miles were getting at me. Nothing show-stopping, just an ache here, a pain there, a bit of stiffness, the first trip downstairs in the morning getting harder. Come on, you're just being a wimp, get on with it. Then three Sundays ago I was out for 20 miles on one of my local trails on a day of continuous rain following several days of continuous rain, you remember how it was then for most of the country. I finished with mud up to the knees, every square centimeter of clothing soaked, hurting all over. I had to sit and shiver in the car for ten minutes to warm up before driving the the five miles home. I oozed out and into a hot bath for a soak and a think. I can't do this, I need a rest.
I decided to have two weeks off, something I haven't done for over two years. The relief at not having to go out again in the rain was wonderful. But it's amazing how the memory fades, after a week I was itching to get running. No, I told myself, two weeks was the deal, stick to it. It wasn't too difficult in the second week, I had to have a tooth out, a couple of days later the first Christmas Lunch of the season with a bunch of old work colleagues, plenty of wine and banter, none of this condusive to running. Then yesterday I had to have the car serviced, 120,000 miles in just four years, where does it all go? So I drove down to the garage and ran back, a mile and a half on suburban roads, three and a half on canal towpath, not a route I would normally choose.
It was fine. Enthusiasm has returned. But rather gently back to more miles I think, I'll go with Keith the Aussie's words - "I'd rather turn up under-trained than over-injured."