25 September 2011

Run run run

A mile or so into my run this morning, I was mentally planning a language course. Although I am a poor linguist, I am rather addicted to language courses. My problem is always that the subject-matter isn't sufficiently interesting. How about teaching languages using running vocabulary? Courir, correr, laufen ... je suis blessé - mes genoux, mes pieds, mon (ma?) plantar fascia.

Thoroughly distracted from the matter in hand, I suddenly realised that I was heading down a slight hill, heel-striking with my arms flapping loosely by my sides. Better leave the language courses to those better qualified to create them, and keep my mind on running. Or find a language course and use it as a model, adopting running vocabulary - and running situations: you can still do all those directions, food, relationships, etc., stuff in a running context, can't you?

I was pleased with myself to be running for the second successive day, following yesterday's Parkrun in Abingdon. Not a great time: 11 seconds slower than the last one I did, partly because of congestion along the single-file riverside path, partly because I was there merely to get round without worrying about my time. Not worrying about my time? What rubbish. What runner has ever done a timed event without worrying about how long it would take? Still, after my chaotic year of running and injury it was pretty satisfying.  I was even predicting to friends that this time next year I'd be in sight of 20 minutes. I had my tongue in my cheek - but who knows?

Then yesterday evening Chris McDougall, author of Born to Run, my second favourite running book (no-one can come close to Murakami, I'm afraid) posted You don’t stop running because you get old. You get old because… .  I'd heard (recently: therefore too late) of John J Kelley, but never heard of the Dipsea Demon, Jack Kirk - who ran the Dipsea Race 67 consecutive times, from 1930 to 2002 (the missing years accounted for by war and depression - economic, not mental). A man to admire, I think: one should avoid having heroes (which for some reason that I have never understood is the first noun the Penguin Russian Course throws at you: but I digress, although it might be useful to remember for the Runner's Russian course), and anyway they often prove disappointing - pace Bob Dylan, who seems to take a cavalier attitude to others' images when producing his own paintings (but that's a  matter for another blog). I'm trying to come up with a similar handle for myself to the Dipsea Demon, which will have to be Ridgeway R... Any suggestions? Or too presumptuous? Yeah, probably.

So, inspired by a 96-year-old trail runner, and the NYT story linked from CMcD's blog (Marathoners in their late 30's - mere striplings), I dragged myself out for a trot round my regular loop this morning. Just as well I got it done, because this evening the news is that Radcliffe and Gebrselassie, about whom the NYT was talking, both missed out on winning in Berlin. But I know I am not in their league - hardly even on the same planet. I am just so happy to find that I can still run. I wore my NYC Marathon 1998 vest for the Parkrun yesterday, to remind myself that I could once run, then proved it this morning, even if Mr Garmin ran out of juice at about 3 miles so there is no record of most of the run. Let me tell you (not that you're interested, really, are you?) that I kept up a good clip along the Ridgeway and burnt up the road down to the village school, then blasted across the A34 footbridge which is the second steepest (but shortest) hill on the route. No idea about pace or total time, though.

And returned home very satisfied, with more left in the tank, and feeling like a runner again. Oh, and the pains in my left heel and my right Achilles tendon are responding very well to running therapy: they have almost gone. For now.

No Parkrun next week, unless there's one in Moscow.

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