Public apology: It has been pointed out to me that the reason for Nick slowing down prior to the final hill last week was not, as I had guessed, to gather his energy, but rather for my benefit, ungrateful sod that I am.
Oh, and to make sure that his heart hadn’t exploded… more of which later.
Meantime, please bear in mind that one of the things that I really love about running is getting out into the fresh air and allowing my mind some space to think. In my work I occasionally help teams to be creative and one of the easiest ways to facilitate this is by getting people to leave the office, with its myriad distractions, to go for a walk around the block or into a park.
This morning was overcast but relatively warm and whilst it threatened to rain, it actually held off until we were back. We took a different route out and having warmed up gentle-like, bowled along at a quite reasonable pace. Behind the Royal Oak there’s a most beautiful and ancient church and this morning we ran past this way, up the driveway and across the main road into the back of Wivelsfield. From here we followed my Sunday route for a while and it was on this uphill through the wood that I first realised something was amiss.
I was undoubtedly on good form, probably due to my shorter-and-faster-than-normal Sunday run, whilst I suspect that the Bok had spent most of his weekend ambibing incohol and being deprived of sleeping it off by two inquisitive sons. As we pushed heartily up through Hundred Acre Wood, my inner peace was disturbed irrevocably by a recurrent beeping. The Bok looked sheepish, which was a sight in itself, confessing that his nuclear-powered externally mounted satellite global heart position monitor was warning of impending disaster, with threat to life and limb.
I think I preferred it sans power… it was more peaceful.
At the top of the wood the Bok started to gallop again, only to refuse at a small brook. If there had been a rider on his back, they would definitely have got wet. If I had’ve been behind him at the time, then he’d have found out how deep the brook was, head first.
Ho hum. Next time!
We eventually worked our way, beeping and gasping, across to Ditchling Common and it was when we were crossing the next road that I first realised there was a second, more subtly irritating noise. This clacking disappeared once we were back on the muddy stuff, only to reappear at the bottom of the hill as we ran along towards Wellhouse Lane. The unmistakable sound of a Zimmer frame dragged my mind back, kicking and screaming, from whatever peaceful haven it had found.
We slowed for the Bok to regain his composure whereupon he amazed me utterly by sprinting forward 100 feet, leaving meto carry the Zimmer. And good job that I did, because he promptly collapsed back onto it when I caught up with him.
My prognosis of alcohol abuse linked to sleep deprivation was confirmed a couple of minutes later when he saw me take a swig of beer from a can of Grolsch: I actually took a swig of pop from a bright blue bottle as I passed a discarded beer-can laying in the grass… I can only rest my case!
And back again we were at the gentle uphill and the fast rise past the Station, me being admonished for misrepresentation to the beeping soundtrack of his exploding heart.
I was determined to finish gently, but he dumped the Zimmer outside Daren’s place and started to motor down the hill, me tagging along in the wake of his testosterone. As with last week I tagged along behind down the last 400m, but this week he increased the pace to try to shake me. As with last week I gently closed the gap and out-sprinted him to the finish.
The run was done and the results were in: and they were not pretty! We had covered 6.8 miles in 1 hour and 50 seconds… a mere 6.69mph compared to last week’s tantalising 6.99mph and my triumphant, if damp and windy Sunday 7.07mph. But still better than the race-off-as-quick-as-you-can-and-then-collapse-in-a-heap 6.63mph on Wednesday 21st.
I’m sure the Bok will back at fighting weight next week and ready to mete out some much deserved punishment, but in the meantime I shall have a well deserved bask in the warm glow of his discomfort.