Of wise men

One of the benefits of running on the machine is the amount of thinking that I do.  Towards the end of my run I started thinking about what made the archetypal ‘wise man’ wise?

On a Strawbs album when I was growing up there was a quote from the Buddha:

As a man of discernment, standing on a rocky eminence, boholdeth those who are below and in distress; so doth the sage, who by his wakefulness hath put to flight his ignorance, look down upon suffering mankind from the heights of wisdom that he hath attained.

It’s from memory, so it might not be strictly accurate, but the question remains: how did the sage put to flight his ignorance?

The curiosity to observe what was going on around him and the humility to do it without judgement?  The perception to see behind the obvious and the flexibility of thinking to embrace this new information.  The courage to challenge dogma and the resilience to keep going when this got hard work?

These are all relevant sterling qualities, but is there also some reason they often seemed to favour living in the wilderness… even if it was only for 40 days and 40 nights?

I think the reason has to do with the way that blue sky thinking comes to us.  To my mind the sky is on the inside, held as one of the millions of life-inputs captured within our subconscious.  It is within this entity that ideas happen and all that is required to access them is a quiet conscious mind.

You’ll have to forgive this slightly kookie subject… it’s the kind of thing that happens when I stare at a white wall for half an hour. Along with myriad ideas for how to easily suspend an iPad in front of the running machine to give me something to think about while I’m running.

I ran 5 miles in 42.40, an average of 7mph and I’d like to leave you with something else that has been running around in my mind… if you have time to watch it?

Cloud Atlas

I thought Sunday was cold, but it was positively balmy compared to what greeted me as I opened the car door at Jack & Jill on Thursday morning.

Testament to the temperature was Daren’s somewhat uncharacteristic first question to me… ‘shall we go & get a cup of tea?’

The idea rolled around in our collective mind for a few minutes, but ultimately our good sense was overridden and we went for a run anyway.

It was twelve degrees warmer than my run in Sweden last month, but felt WAY more chilly and my nose physically hurt from the icy tentacles of the sharp easterly wind.

The normal route was undertaken which is largely sheltered from an east wind so normal hilarity soon returned to the dynamic duo.


As per normal we ran through all manner of discussion subjects… to give you an example, I likened our recurrent run to the novel (and now film) Cloud Atlas, with us repeating our journey again and again, facing different challenges each time but with the same key characters.  In terms of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, our ebullience appears to make each circuit greater fun than the last, albeit with the occasional exception.  Life is like that.

Unlike normal, the obligatory mud at the bottom of Wolstonbury was not appealing to take head on.  We attempted to skirt around the issue, on account of the icy water in the deep puddles… and both failed.


On a day when even the tank tracks could not quell our enthusiasm, it was a small price to pay for such an enjoyable outing.

We finished the supremely hilly 6.25 miles (10km) in a characteristically sedate time of 1:15… although 5mph is actually pretty good bearing in mind our shared paucity of runs over the last month.


Warm up

After eighteen days away working in warmer climes (we won’t dwell on the international news stories about the attendant cyclone and the flooding it generated in the local area!), the UK was a COLD place to return to.

The hot and humid weather on the other side of the world was not conducive to any exercise other than the occasional evening dip in the swimming pool so I have no running to report during that period.

As a result of these two factors, exacerbated by jet-lag, my run last Sunday was in the warm embrace of the running machine and at a gentle 6mph warm up pace.

I have nothing much more to report, other than my memory remains as fickle as ever… even five days after the event, I’m struggling to remember the myriad thoughts I had.

I’m not even certain about the time & distance, but I’ve decided the most likely combination is 5 miles in 49.5 minutes.