Imbolc to Spring

Now introductions are done I can start the blog proper. Over the months I shall describe my training and mention anything of note that drifts my way. I shall also explain my beginnings, my fall into being a blimp, and my simple system of regaining health and fitness. For this you only need three things: honesty; hard work; and a desire to live.

2016 has meant an adjustment in jobs and a lot of travel. Most weeks I am in a different city, or town and the impact on my training seemed fatal. Last year I ran 1300 miles. This year I aim to run further – I have to condition my body to endurance running. The trouble was I tend to be programmed to run my familiar routes, so lacked discipline to run away from my base. Honesty – I was self conscious of running from large hotels. Desire to live – feck it, let them laugh (no one does). Hard work – I now run whilst away. The best trick is to do a little research and take in the sights. I carry a map and forget the watch. In Plymouth I ran around Mount Wise and looked across Drake Island, then along the Tamar to the Torpoint Ferry. In Cardiff a long run around Cardiff Bay. Swansea 6 miles in the drizzle to Mumbles and back. Eccles – 7 miles through the new Media City, around Old Trafford and back. The next week a 5 taking in Bangor Pier – wonderful standing in the centre of the Menai Straights! Last week, on an extended stay in Liverpool, I did two runs. The first a loop along Penny Lane to Strawberry Field which gave me acute nostalgia, so I ordered The Magical Mystery Tour album and dreamed of T-bar sandals and hot summers. The next day a run along the waterfront – 8 miles dodging turnstones and dirty fidos. Thus my midweek mileage is up and my geographic knowledge growing.

Imbolc is an old festival between the winter solstice and Spring Equinox. The evenings draw out and running in the dark can be rewarding. Running through the quiet village of Chidham a few evenings ago, my headlamp beam picked up the marching form of a determined male toad. I stopped and picked him up. Roads and toads do not mix well. He struggled, the strength of him a surprise, but such is the desire to find a large female somewhere close. Into the grass he went. He briefly gazed at me, shuffled round and set off due north through the grass. A dozen paces later, another, and the same ritual. Next day, in the light, there were no signs of flat toads, so I felt good. Spring moves quicker than the Reaper Man, so my pace will increase and he’ll slip further behind once more.