23 January 2010

Uncorrected Personality Traits

Is this what Andy Davis meant by the description "Tupperware day"? He was talking about the first Glastonbury Festival, which was, season-wise, at the other end of the spectrum from today - but it's s wonderful, evocative expression which I am delighted to be able to borrow ... safe in the knowledge that it won't qualify as a literary work so Andy can't have any copyright in it, and anyway if he claimed it he'd have problems with a certain trade mark owner. Come to think of it, if the trade mark owner is of an absolutist disposition I could have problems myself.

Well, Tupperware or not, there's a dull, grey sky hanging over OX11, but nothing falling from it. What has fallen from it in recent weeks is still lying around, in liquid form (I saw one small residual patch of snow this morning). Puddles stretch across the track in many places at Chilton level, but up on the Ridgeway the water drains quickly through the chalk and the going is good.

The worst of it is that stretch along which the refuse trucks ply on their way to and from the landfill site. I had settled into a very satisfying groove, following a pause to stretch my Achilles tendons which might have been on the verge of complaining, perhaps about the new trail running shoes: I was trying to empty my mind, which should not be too difficult given that there is rarely much in it ... and was trying to concentrate on my breathing - two paces in, two out. It seemed to be working very nicely. Then I was over the old railway bridge, there were two refuse trucks at the entrance to the landfill site (or "waste transfer station", though the only transferring that goes on there appears to be from the trucks that bring it to the hole in the ground that was once a railway cutting) along with a digger, and all that vehicular coming and going had created a mudbath that hippos would probably die for. So much for the pristine blue trail shoes - but, as Nancy said the other day, one of the great things about trail shoes is that your road shoes stay nice and clean.

I didn't manage to empty my mind again, although I got close to it once or twice. Perhaps there is some metaphor here that I should be exploring - emptying my mind at the waste transfer sation - but it might be getting a little complicated, and perhap it's better not to go there. I'll find another route for the next few weeks, until the ground gets a little drier: there are plenty of alternatives to this track.

With my mind refilling, I found my running going slightly haywire - a couple of times I found I had stopped focussing on the running while some other matter occupied my mind, and had forgotten to keep placing one foot in front of the other. It's a simple enough action to repeat, but all my running career I have found that I am quite capable of letting what I am doing slip my mind - and finding myself walking, quite by accident. The climb to the Ridgeway was hard work, and the underpass was tough, but once I was on it the Ridgeway was perfect running. I passed several dogwalkers and a group of bird-watchers, with binoculars and cameras - I asked if they had got a good shot of me - all wrapped in heavy-duty outdoor clothing, gloves, woolly hats. One remarked that I was "brave" in tee-shirt and shorts. Foolish, I wondered: but no, on reflection, just being a Warrior. Seven miles this morning brings the total since Thursday morning to about 26 miles.

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