23 January 2017

Black night

My streak faltered yesterday. Every day of the year, until 22 January (so not really much of a streak), then Achilles said, quite insistently, that's enough for now, take the day off. I had run about ten yards, and on the basis that I was wearing running shoes (and all the other stuff you need to run in sub-zero temperatures such as have been experienced in Oxfordshire for a few days now, the frost not even going from the roads during the days) perhaps I should count it as a run anyway.

A day's rest and Achilles seems happy again. Perhaps a couple of hours sitting in the car, driving to Nottingham, was the cure he needed. Whether listening to Act 2 of Die Walkure on the way helped, who knows? It can't  have gone amiss, I suppose, and as I explained to my colleague Philippa over coffee this afternoon (an important business meeting to discuss the intellectual property module - she takes half the seminars) the working-my-way-through-the-Ring-Cycle thing is a major part of the all-round experience of my teaching at Nottingham Law School.

So too is the evening run, in the dark, to the park-and-ride to collect the car and bring it to the car park opposite my hotel. Park-and-run probably wasn't what the planners had in mind, but park-and-ride-and-run-back seems reasonable. When I explained what I was up to in conversation with a random cyclist (and runner) who didn't pass me but rode along with me for half a mile or so chatting, he approved, and we agreed about the excellent running track provided alongside the tramlines.

This was after I had called the police to alert them to a trio of youths who seemed to find it amusing to shine a laser pointer into the faces of passing cyclists and - I feared - tram drivers. I suspect it's a growing problem, as laser pointers become more common. Not in the same league as dazzling pilots, but bad enough I think. However, it was an episode later in my run that I particularly wanted to comment on - showing my tendency, which I found myself explaining to a new group of students this afternoon, to digress. (Does this sound familiar to any former students out there?)

Near the end of my route, I caught and passed a couple of ladies out for a run. They were well wrapped-up against the cold - hats and jackets. I was in tee-shirt and running tights, having left my hat and gloves in the car - but that's not the point. One of them remarked as I passed them that I was putting them to shame. I assured her I wasn't, but the better response only came to me after I was out of earshot. (What's the street-running equivelant of "esprit de l'escalier", or staircase wit? "L'esprit de trottoir" perhaps.) Afer I'd reached the end of my run I retraced my steps, hoping to be able to tell them that no runner would ever put them to shame. Everyone encounters runners who are faster them them: they don't put slower runners to shame, they can't. If they try they are not fit to be called runners. I wanted to say to them, if you're running, nothing can shame you, no matter how slow you may be, how short your run. But I couldn't find them again, so this will have to do. Perhaps they will read it. Perhaps someone else will, and will take something from it.

I try to live up to my reputation for decency ...



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