My long run over the weekend highlighted to me the different feelings you can have in one single run.
I knew before I started the run was going to be tough, having been up till 6am watching the boxing and having indulged in a few drinks to celebrate Watford promotion and being short on sleep, are not the ideal company for a good run,
But, I went out the sun was trying to break through and the trails were in decent condition, a little wet from the rain the night before but solid enough. The first long uphill seemed ok, and as ever the view from the top was great across the valley.
In fact, the whole of the first hour and a bit weren’t bad, the sun came out, the hills were steep and generally I was surviving better than anticipated.
The turning point, both literal and metaphorically came as I crossed the path near the Prime Minsters house at Chequers. I looked left and saw a very ominous looking sky, it looks like it might rain i said to a couple of walkers as we passed each other, who knew I was a prophet, let alone a prophet of doom!
It started to rain a bit, I stopped put on my rain jacket and carried on, 30 seconds later I turned to cross an uphill very exposed field and then it happened. The skies opened and down came torrential rain, the wind was howling and just when I thought this is sweet, the thunder and lightning started.
Crossing the field was basically a trial of strength, the rain lashing into my face the wind pushing me backwards and the thunder and lightning crashing and flashing all around. I started to wonder if the world was going to end, and if I am honest had it of done I think I would have been grateful as at least my soaking would have stopped. I got across the field and headed for what I thought was the sanctuary of the woods.
Now, I know that the woods aren’t always ideal when there is lightning around, but it was sheet lightning and I guessed the odds on me being struck were pretty minimal! The one aspect I had failed to factor in, is that when you get torrential rain and you then go into the woods which are on a hill, the water has to run somewhere. Simple physics says what goes up must come down, and so on entering the woods and heading up the hill, I met all the water coming the other way. It is not pushing the point too far to say the trail was flooding as fast as I could go up it.
This delightful weather carried on for the best part of the next hour, I was soaked through, nothing was dry, my rain jacket, a light one for summer use, did a reasonable job of keeping me warm in the wind, or more accurately keeping some of the wind from cutting me in two.
Once the rain stopped, the sun again made an appearance, I kept my jacket one for a while until the sun decided it was out to stay and I started to get a bit warm. Once the jacket was back in the bag I noticed that there was steam rising off me as I ran, something that for some reason amused me for a while.
The run back home got tougher, the cold wind and rain had sapped some energy and my legs started to feel heavy and tired, but this was a near 3 hour run in conditions that went from one extreme to the other.
The strange think about this was, that when the weather turned horrid and the going got really tough, I loved it, I found myself running thinking, “this is trail running”. I know I got some strange looks from people sat in their cars as I ran through a car park by the woods, all I thought was, get out of your cars, the scenery is still good and once you are wet you are wet. They probably thought, idiot.
I know runs like that, the tough ones where it’s hard to go out and really they aren’t pretty are the ones where you bank the most, but in a funny way on reflection they can also be the most enjoyable ones.