“I miss janathon. Can I invent febathon, so you have to keep blogging?” – Abradysis
My training has been going well. Really, really well. I’ve missed very few sessions, my base pace has been gradually speeding up and my endurance is coming back nicely.
I’m also about to get into long run season, so I’m making the most of now and getting in as much parkrun tourism as I can. So when I found out that there was a Cowell Club run at South Oxhey parkrun, I decided that it made perfect sense to drive to Watford, run 5km, inhale a hot chocolate and then hot foot it down to Croydon for a cross country race.
South Oxhey parkrun is three grassy laps and starts and finishes by a pub. The park backs onto a large area of woodland, full of runnable trails (I’m told), but unfortunately they’re a little too weather dependent to make a safe parkrun course, so the route sticks firmly to the grass. Each lap features a slow drag up the far side and then a nice, runnable down towards the finish, and there’s a short section of tarmac as you get back to the pub to allow you to go for a sprint finish*. One swift hot chocolate later, I said my farewells and headed south to Coulsdon.
The traffic gods were smiling on me and I made it with time to spare. I chatted to my club mates, wandered over to the Ranelagh flag to say “Hi” to some parkrun tourists, wandered over to the 26.2 flag to remember myself to a Centurion Grand Slammer and then got down to the serious business of racing. 5.5 miles of muddy, grassy, tussocky, hilly, slippery, stony terrain later, I cruised over the line (in a respectable 50 minutes), bumped into three more familiar parkrun faces and then set about the onerous task of cake snaffling. I grabbed millionaires’ shortbread from the Windmilers (my club), snuck some gluten free cookies from Ranelagh, and then struck lucky at 26.2 with Mars Bar Rice Crispy Cake and a cup of hot tea. It’s a real chore, is club running.
On Sunday, I had a 16 mile run to do and they always go faster with company, so I headed off to join my running club’s long run group. 1.5 miles later, I was sat on a low wall by a bus station crying with frustration because I’d managed to go over on my ankle while running on some of the smoothest pavement on earth. 8 miles of grassy muddy trail, and I’m fine. Stick me on tarmac and I can fall off my own feet. I assured the club coach that I had the means to get home, sent him on his way and then hobbled to the bus stop, mentally cancelling every race in my diary**.
How? How, when things were going so well could I do something so blooming*** daft. In an attempt to take my mind off the pain and to bolster my resolve not to involve Dr Google, I settled down on the sofa to tackle my To Do list. One completed OU Assignment, one completed driving licence application and several other small tasks later, it struck me. The blooming daft thing I’d done was not going over on my ankle on pancake flat tarmac. It was forgetting that the gods, in general, are a jealous bunch. The Gods of OU Study and the Gods of Dull Administrative Tasks were simply trying to tell me that I was late with some of my sacrifices.
It seems that my day of penance has been well received by the gods. The pain has largely gone, the swelling has gone down considerably, and all I’m left with is a teeny tiny bit of bruising.
I’ll be back running in no time.****
* I didn’t. I was far too busy chatting to Barrington Mudd, one of a handful of Cowell Club members that I hadn’t put a face to before.
** I tend to jump to worst-case scenarios very, very quickly.
*** Yes. This is exactly the language I used. Honestly, Abradyma.