07 November 2010

Lucky man

A perfect autumn running day, though whatever the weather I was determined to go out. Ini fact, the worse the better - it would bring out the Warrior in me.

It seemed cold enough to need a long sleeved top, and at first my hands were cold. I felt comfortable using pose technique, landing on my midfoot and allowing my heel to drop to the ground, but as the end of the first mile came up I realised I had settled into a brisk pace which was not going to work for nearly seven miles. I turned the speed down a couple of clicks and tried to concentrate on my running - to listen to what my body was telling me.

As I reached the end of the track to climb up by the A34 the sun broke route the clouds and the first beads of perspiration appeared on my brow. Whatever the temperature, I've never not broken sweat out running.

I don't want to overdo it at the moment, after such an extended period of injury, and I don't have the cardiovascular fitness to do this hill the way I'd like to. Nor can I manage the sort of scramble up from the tunnel under the A34 that I usually relish, but that will come back with time. As it is, I got up on my toes and made a respectable effort, although I was pleased to stop to admire the view at the top.

The panorama from this part of the Ridgeway is not the most beautiful sight in the world, but it is spectacular. But the spectacle is a result of human intervention, including - hard to miss - the village synchrotron. A little further along, two cyclists pass me and as they approach I hear them discussing it. "It's big, isn't it?" said one. The other said something about how it's used for testing atoms, and I hear him mention something about France - no doubt a reference to our synchrotron's larger cousin.

Along the Ridgeway I was pleased to see my shadow stretching out in front of me, a rare sight this year. Beyond the Harwell site, Didcot Power Station was shrouded in cloud, perhaps of its own creation, so the biggest blot on this landscape was missing. On a clear day, I might be able to see past it to Oxford in the distance, although having left my glasses at home today that might be a bit optimistic. It would be nice to do so.

The run was a great head-clearer too - I didn't manage to concetrate entirely on my running, as my thoughts drifted towards a challenging client problem I am trying to deal with, and happily I came up with an idea on that. My thoughts also drifted further along the Ridgeway, as I have just finished reading Eliza Graham's "Jubilee" - set in Kingston Lisle and Uffington, ten miles or so west from here, to where I entertain thoughts of extending one of my runs. It will be good practice for when I essay the Ridgeway Challenge - and now is the time for laying plans for runs next year ...

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