19 May 2010

Saucerful of Secrets

A long and busy day yesterday, which is why I have had so long to consider what can be said about Monday - which for several small reasons was one of the best days of my life. Well, making due allowance for a deteriorating memory.
Seeing three friends, two of them for the first time in over two, maybe even nearly three, years, is a good start. Considering how careless I have been with them in the past (illustrated by that two or three year interval) friends really are very important to me. Perhaps I realise that more as I get older.
Being asked unexpectedly for a little life guidance, by a friend 13 years older than myself, also contributes to the unique day. He's done more than he can imagine for my self-confidence.
Lunch with my newly-minted Marathoner friend, whose achievement has almost moved her onto a different plane of existence. I was there a year ago, after the Capital City Marathon, and now she's inspired me to look forward to getting back there in October, after the Kielder Marathon.
An evening run with another friend, and we haven't run together for three years - back then she was a regular running buddy. We meet at the hotel where I am staying the night (in readiness for a day of presenting courses) and head for Regent's Park, then Primrose Hill where we do a little hill-work - it's permissible to stop for a rest after running up a hill when the view is that good. Back towards Regent's Park but we take to the canal towpath west until it's too boring to go on, then back to the park, a long route back towards our starting point, a diversion when we think that perhaps we haven't run far enough and the map indicates a drinking fountain, which turns out to be dry when we reach it: so, back to the hotel, discussions about a drink, realisation that we are not in good condition to go into a pub so instead we buy a couple of bottles of beer in Sainsbury's and sit on the grass in Bloomsbury Square drinking them until the park-keeper throws us out, then we sit on a low wall to finish them off. I feel about 35 years younger, and only part of that is down to the running: the following morning the effects of a nine-mile evening run make themselves evident ...
So, a recipe for almost-instant rejuvenation: a long run followed by a slow beer in a pleasant park on a warm evening with a friend you haven't seen for a while. Young and blonde, though not essential, certainly helps.

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