I ran 3.2 miles at 10:28 pace.

  • Monday, April 22, 2013
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What a difference 24 hours makes.
I spent the weekend crisping in the long absent UK sun, imbibing beer, wine, icecream and chocolate. Truthfully, I felt slothful and fatter when I got up this morning.
But I ran today, changing into shorts and my Vibrams after work and setting off into the woods adjacent to school. It was hard work, my lungs diminished by the long lay off but it felt glorious.  I often talk about the fluidity of running and that was certainly absent, my running was more coagulant and choppy. I was scared of my knee. All the other elements were there though, the exultation, the awareness of nature, the hot sweaty spot just below my tailbone, the feelings of peace and well being.
Most importantly, my knee seemed to be OK - I ran 3.2 miles at 10:28 pace. The other benefit was that I felt like an athlete again rather than a sloth. It's been getting easier to eat and drink junk the longer I've been off running.
Hopefully today was a turning point for me.

Freedom is what it is all about

  • Wednesday, April 17, 2013
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We are not afraid,
We are not afraid,
We are not afraid, TODAY

Oh, deep in my heart,

We shall overcome,
We shall overcome,
We shall overcome, some day. 
(Joan Baez)

By now there have been a whole raft of words written about what happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon 2013.
People have written with great emotion, clarity and feeling. I wasn't sure whether to add to the voices but ultimately felt that I should, as a father and as a runner.
It is important and there is something cathartic about expressing how we feel especially in times of trauma and grief, be it in words or actions.
I don't feel articulate enough to write directly about my feelings. I happened to turn on the news in the immediate aftermath and it was numbing.
After giving it a few days thought, I've come down to this: I feel sick at the tragedy. Lives have been devastated forever and the scars will run deep. Society as a whole will rise above this, the human spirit is resilient and strong. Sport is a great vehicle for healing and redemption and I expect the Boston Marathon of 2014 will be incredibly emotional and have great meaning. Finally, and this is hard, We need to forgive. This doesn't mean forgoing justice or forgetting but it does free us. It frees us from bitterness and hate. It takes away any twisted victory these people may have gained or thought they gained. It means that we don't have to endure long, black nights of the soul.
And freedom is what it is all about.
Finally, my deepest condolences, prayers and good wishes to the people who lost loved ones or suffered injury. May peace be upon you all.

It is the poetry of life

  • Tuesday, April 09, 2013
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Now I've been happy lately, 
thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, 
something good has begun

Cause out on the edge of darkness, 
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, 
come take me home again
(Cat Stevens) 
I was standing on top of a tall dune edging a Cornish beach. Out to sea in front of me was a fiery sunset. I don't know what made me look behind but at that moment a local runner leapt over the skyline, soared past my shoulder and made like a tumbleweed down the dune in a feckless expression of freedom and joy.
I had to try it.
I know I have a bad knee and I'm supposed to be nursing it back to full strength. I knew I was putting it at risk but standing there in that moment watching him freefall/ fly to the beach in great flailing arcs and explosions of sand I decided that I could not make the long drive back to London without a Cornish beach run. I thought to hell with the knee, lets run.
So the next day I did.
Barefoot, in shorts and an old baselayer I did the falling thing down the dune face before running along the beach. I last ran on January 27, 2013 and my lungs let me know it! As a distance run it was nothing, 1.4 miles, but for me it had enormous significance. One, the knee held. Two, I was running. Three, I was barefoot, a chance for a purist run! I don't run to be fit or keep slim or any other reasons of vanity. I long ago got past any need to express my machismo. For me running is a joy, it is the poetry of life where I practise the rhythm's of solitude and friendship. It's in my gene code.
Running through the cold, clean surf reaffirmed these things and reignited my motivation to get past this crappy knee.
As Walt Whitman put it:
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric
YAWP over the roofs of the world.