There have been days when I have gotten back from running completely frozen at the extremities and this was the expectation I had of today. Looking at the photo below you can probably see why.
As much as anything it is amazing how the colour temperature changed between these photos and the ones last week, even though there was little difference in air temperature, both being in the low plus numbers.
From the comfort of a warm chair, reading, I thought I would go for a quick blast around through the woods and come back before my feet dropped off from cold, but it was so delightful running on the crunchy snow that, having crossed the Common, I headed for Ditchling.
Ten minutes into the run my foot went through thin ice into an ice cold puddle, up to my ankle… that certainly woke me up! Although inadvertent, it was an excellent test of my trusty Thurlo woollen socks and remarkably, the socks warmed back up really quickly and I felt no ill-effect bar the initial shock.
Ten minutes later my path coincided with another runner, also heading towards Ditchling and those of you who have read my musings for a while will know how much I value these fortuitous encounters. As on previous occasions, the runner, whose name turned out to be Adrian, was happy for me to tag along.
One of the reasons that I love running is that it’s a solitary pass-time which gives the brain time to ruminate whilst you focus on the relatively simple task of putting one foot in front of the other. Another reason that I love it is for chance meetings such as this.
Experience has shown that other solitary people are generally pretty fascinating to chat to. Running also provides a great low pressure framework within which to chat, allowing anything from an occasional word or observation right through to a continuous discussion.
This was towards the latter end and so immersed was I in the conversation that the run seemed effortless and I certainly didn’t notice the temperature.
We ran through the farms to Ditchling, down East End Lane and up past Sporting Cars to Underhill Lane. Here the pull to run up the Beacon was strong for me, but I was enjoying the company so much that I gladly turned right along the lane instead.
We passed the Ditchling Beacon road, which was closed to traffic for obvious reasons and continued on, turning right to run into Keymer.
At the junction we turned right and then left onto the footpath and across the fields to Lodge Hill, and thence up to Oldlands Mill.
From there it was a lovely run down to Ockley Lane and back along Folders Lane towards where Adrian lives.
From where we parted it was an easy run back through the houses to home.
10.95 miles took me 1.52, 5.85mph and I returned feeling invigorated and with surprisingly warm fingers and toes, such that I stood outside for a while to stretch.
My thanks to Adrian for making the run so much more interesting… I hope that we get to run together again in the future.