• Tuesday, December 31, 2013
  • 0

It's annual review time.
My report card simply states: MUST TRY HARDER!
What a non year for me running wise. It took months to get over the knee injury and when I did my motivation seemed to have vanished as well. Later in the year my emotions paralysed me as I spiralled downwards into the black pit of depression.
We had the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing and we said goodbye to Mr Mandela.
There have been highlights, not many but some excellent ones. I ran in Delft, Holland, around a beautiful lake. There was a great night run along the Darent valley which included the badly named Chinook lager at halfway. It was grim. Then there was the pilgrimage run at Stoke Mandeville in the searing heat. I cooked my bare feet on the hot track but catapulted myself into joy. My children and I created an indoor run along the long corridors at Lincolnshire and we made a film of it. I flailed down a steep sand dune and ran barefoot along a Cornish beach. Freedom. Come to think of it, three of my highlights feature no shoes. Freedom. 
Through my job I met some fascinating people including Steve Brown the England Murderball captain, Edward Timpson (Under Secretary of State for Children and Families) and Heather Knight, the England women's test cricketer. I carelessly lost a paediatric nurse but inspired young people with disabilities by creating a sport we call predator rugby.
I ran with some wonderful people and I missed running with others I know well. I promise I'll find you in 2014.
It's the people that count for me in the end. I love the running but the people around me give me a real buzz. So thank you, whether you have run with me, given me friendship or support or if you have read my blog. I appreciate every single one of you.
Happy trails and have a splendid 2014.

You learn a lot when you pick up a cat by it's tail.

You learn a lot when you pick up a cat by it's tail.
These were final wise words uttered by Jerry at the end of todays run. Actually Jerry muttered a lot of words today both while running and at my house afterwards. The bugger can talk. Today he was in wise mode and I felt like I was in the company of some sort of Forrest Gump or Gandalf guru. A beardless one to be sure but a guru nonetheless.
I've been wrestling with the big decision of whether to do a degree or not and I asked Jerry for his take. This provoked a stream of wisdom from the great man. I had the appeal to my machismo (grow some balls and do it fast) pop psychology (How do you eat an elephant? A: one bite at a time) and searing insight (you can easily do this, you just lack self belief)
All this while we churned and slithered our way along a muddy trail. One of the many great things about Jerry is his unpredictability and thus we deviated off my usual set piece route into an area I have run with him before but am not familiar with. On this occasion we spotted a muddy slash of a path passing through a gap in the tree line -and taking it spat us out into an unsuspected and hitherto unknown vista. Before us lay endless rolling green fields, a frolicking horse, the sun bursting through the cloud and a celestial choir singing!
OK, I'm making up the bit about the choir but the rest is true.
It was all a bit to much for Forrest Gandalf Jerry, he leaned in, his leathery skin glowing in the golden sun, his eyes youthful and bright with the millennia of wisdom, "You see Dunc", murmured the sage, "if we hadn't gone through the gap and beyond the tree line we would not have made this discovery, sometimes you have to leave the comfort zone and go beyond what you know"
And so, as our two heroes run East, away from the setting sun I leave this, one of my favourite quotes:
"Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover"