On The Drowning Of Rats And Nakedness In Toilets

Went for a run this morning with Paul. It was pissing it down when we set off just after nine. I love running in the rain; it keeps you cool when you’re working hard. We weren’t working all that hard today. It wasn’t that sort of run. We were trotting along through the wind and the rain, ticking off six minute kilometres. The wind made things a little more difficult than they ought to have been.

There is a particular combination of wind and rain which can make running a complete misery. We were lucky today in that the wind and rain kept just missing that particular combination. It was a damn near run thing at a couple of points. There was a moment as we were running back along the top of a ridge just the wrong side of a hedge line for about half a mile. The wind blew the rain across us and just for a few seconds straight through us in a denial of the laws of physics and common decency. it was easier for us to keep going in one another’s company. I don’t think I would have gone out on my own in those conditions.

I had an equipment failure too. The zip on my rain jacket kept sliding down without me noticing. It’s not a great piece of kit, if I’m honest. It’s barely showerproof so today’s conditions were always going to test it. I’d be running along and glance down and the zip would be almost completely undone. I have an ongoing problem with zips. I’ve turned into one of those men whose flies are continuously undone because I forget to do them up in the morning when I pull my trousers on. I don’t notice until I head for the loo. No matter how many times I say “Oh fuck” to myself when I discover that, I never remember to check before I have my coffee.

My foot began to hurt again after about four miles so we cut our run short. It’s frustrating. I can run more quickly uphills than down them just now. The braking forces through my right foot cause me to slow down. too much. I don’t trust it enough to run hard downhill and going slowly causes even more pain. We looked like drowned rats when we arrived back at the stable block. It’s a funny phrase that. I’ve never seen a drowned rat. I’ve seldom seen a dry one either. I know they’re around, like paedophiles or UKIP councillors but we have little to offer one another so we seldom encounter one another. Paul said he would take a photograph to mark the moment but he set off to do a little more running while I headed to the loo to get changed.

I found myself naked in a public toilet (not for the first time but I’m not ever going to be drunk enough to tell that story.) I had a change of clothing in my bag. I headed for the sole cubicle in the gents and began pulling layer after sopping layer off before I started to chill and shiver. I was quickly naked in the loo, rummaging through my bag looking for a pair of boxers. Happily there were two pairs in there, alongside two pairs of socks, my jeans, a t-shirt and a jersey. There wasn’t a shirt but that wasn’t a problem. There wasn’t a belt for my jeans and that was more problematic. I will happily contemplate spending ninety quid on running shoes or two hundred or more on a new Garmin but baulk at the thought of blowing £20 on a pair of jeans from Tesco. As a result, all my trousers are too large for me now I’ve lost weight. It’s been three years and I don’t think I’m going to put that weight back on now. Even so, I’m not all that keen on throwing the baggy trousers out and buying more. I have only one belt which is small enough to hold them up now too and that was on my bedroom floor and not in my bag.

Paul and I had our sausage rolls and hot drinks in the restaurant when he returned from his extended trot. My foot stopped hurting quite quickly which was a relief. It’s sore now, as I write. When I flex my toes up, there is a tightness across the top of my foot. I need to get rid of that before I run again. I’m due to race next weekend in the Fenland 10 in preparation for the St Neots Half Marathon next month. I don’t think that’s going to happen now. I’ll probably rest my foot now for two weeks and cycle instead to keep my fitness up while my foot heals itself again.

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