19 December 2013

Walking with a mountain

I have not rushed back into running since the Abingdon Marathon. All things in moderation - that's the motto of the long-distance runner. 5K on a dreadmill on the 'minus first' floor at the Aquamarine Hotel when I was in Moscow the week after Abingdon, when I tried to keep up 6 minute pace for a mile and failed, so it isn't likely to happen over 3.1 miles very soon. A couple of runs between Paddington and the office, all on the streets (so, under 2 miles). Then on Tuesday a club run in Abingdon, my last with the club as I am going to join one nearer home - two, perhaps - when I get myself organised. 4.64 miles (oddly precise), time unknown as I am so out of the running mindset that I clean forgot to start the Watch. My legs, even today, are much stiffer than they should have been.

It has been a difficult period, as on 2 December we lost our springer spaniel, Hugo, only six years old and a member of the Groves household for less than two of those. A few days before he died, shortly after a chest x-ray had revealed that he was suffering something much more sinister than a kennel cough, his lungs a mass of tumours, he and I drove round by Land's End (the less famous one, on the Berkshire Downs near West Ilsley) and I realised just how little running he and I had done together. But he was a veteran of many Parkruns, including the pilot Newbury one, the 100th running of which took place just last weekend. Without me, and of course without Hugo.

Hugo had character in huge quantities, and he has left a huge gap which could never be filled completely, but we have now given a foster home to another springer, Lucy, who has made herself very much at home but without appropriating any beds or settees. Throw a ball for her and she exhibits an impressive turn of speed, and she'll go on bringing it back for a long time before she gets tired or just fed up. I hope she'll be a good long-distance runner.

It has also been a manically busy period for work, some of which has even paid. It does however feel like an uphill struggle, and the intellectual property book I so confidently expected to get up-to-date and published is still some way from being finished - I have half of trade marks and all of patents to revise. Then only another three books to complete - or is it more? When can you say you are working on a book? How long can it be since last you did something with it, like adding a couple of words or even dotting an i or crossing a t? Is it enough just to think about it?