10 February 2010

Baby it's Cold Outside

Only 2.4 miles, to get home after taking the car to the garage for a health check (it's going to have to work hard on Friday, unless there's snow in Barnard Castle), so a small contribution to the weekly target. At least my calf is OK, helped by wearing compression socks - a fantastic invention, second only to Salbutamol in the impact it has had on my life.

I planned to take it easy anyway, so wore more than I usually would - but down at the field there was a covering of ice on the troughs, so I wrapped up well for the run and was rather pleased to find this extraordinary video to link to the post.

Salbutamol was first marketed in 1968, but hadn't penetrated as far as County Durham when I needed it. At school, the first half of the spring term (a misnomer if ever there was one) was devoted to cross-country running, frequently in near-arctic conditions. Because my lungs closed up as soon as I ran a couple of paces, an effect made much, much worse in cold air, I never got going enough to warm up or overcome the asthma. In addition, the school day was organised to take advantage of the daylight, so for boarders and day-boys (or "zunts", a word coined by deleting the first syllable "pe-" from a term that was, well, at least mildly derogatory, although I don't think we boarders had much reason to feel superior) the running started straight after lunch. Actually, the day-boys had their lunch half-an-hour earlier than us, so they had at least a short interlude to allow their mince curry or steak-and-kidney pudding, not to mention the dessert of semolina or something equally runner-unfriendly, to settle. If my memory serves, which it does increasingly rarely, my efforts at running consisted largely of walking, freezing and wheezing, with a stitch brought on by the rubbish in my stomach.

Now, with the annual cross-country competition on Friday and an old boys' team (including me) set to take part, I am informed that health and safety considerations might require the event to be cancelled if there is snow. In my day, it seemed to us that the more snow there was the greater the pleasure derived by certain members of staff from sending us out in it. but the world has changed: and so have I, otherwise I would hardly be contemplating a return to my alma mater (what, I wonder, is the oposite of "alma"? I think it might be more appropriate) to do the Barney Run again.

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