I got up this morning, looked outside at the pouring rain, the heavy, grey clouds, the torrent of water sluicing down the middle of the lane turning it into a small river, the standing pools of water that had collected in the garden overnight and my first thought was: excellent, the cold feeling has gone, I can go out for a run!
There is nothing like an upcoming competition only five and a half weeks away to focus the mind. I did a steady three miles this morning, as a nod to the recent cold bug, and it went well. No complaints from lungs, no heavy, tired limbs, quite happy in fact splashing through puddles and sliding across soggy fields with two wet and muddy dogs. It rained the whole way round but at ten degrees it was quite warm and perfectly fine t-shirt weather. I can't stand feeling too warm when I'm running and any discomfort experienced in the first five minutes soon goes once you've warmed up. It's worth putting up with a little unpleasantness at the start to be the right temperature for the bulk of the training.
I kept both dogs on leads once we got into the fields because Pop has rolled in FP twice this week already (yesterday I put my finger in it, thinking she'd got a blob of mud on her collar- absolutely disgusting) and I couldn't face another stinky dog day. Ted is definitely more of a fair weather runner and hung back slightly to make the point he wasn't wholly chuffed at being out running in a storm, but Pop runs gamely on whatever conditions you throw at her. We sunk into some sandy mud at one point. Bearing in mind her little legs are only a few inches long this had much more of an immediate impact on her than either me or Ted, and yet she just shook herself vigorously afterwards and carried on regardless. Pop's attitude to life is a real tonic.
Once we got back out onto the lanes I smiled at a car who kindly stopped beside an enormous lake of water that had gathered right across the tarmac, clearly worried about not splashing us. By that point though we were wet through and my legs looked like I'd been through a bog so there seemed little point in being ladylike about it- we ran through the middle of the lake (added bonus of washing my trail shoes clean) causing the man in the car to stare at me with what I translated in my head as admiration but was probably horror. A little later on I glared at a woman in a very expensive-looking sleek sports car who nearly ran us over, so intent was she on not scratching her paintwork by pulling over nearer the hedge to give us room not to be squashed.
By the time we got home half an hour later we were all cheerfully muddy and dripping with rain. After I'd refilled the bird feeders (startling the male Great Spotted Woody who was nibbling peanuts and is allergic to anyone even glancing at him), and stretched out in the garden (watched from indoors by two solemn-looking doggies), I decided to give both the dogs a warm shampoo in the bath. Ted submitted with a sigh while Pop (who went second) legged it when she saw me coming and dived under the table. I retrieved her (much to her annoyance) and she stood in the bath shivering and throwing reproachful glances at me from under dripping eyebrows as the water ran brown with silt and mud. Drying Poppy with a towel after a bath is like rubbing down a recalcitrant, slippery child. I managed about four seconds before she slipped out of my grasp and took off down the stairs at break-neck speed. She took the final four steps in one great impossible flying leap, skidded to a halt at the bottom, and then, knowing I couldn't reach her, shook herself all over the walls. Sigh. I had a nice warm shower. There is nothing like a hot shower after a cold, wet run (even if the dogs don't appreciate it).
I do have an ache on the inside of my left knee when I run at the moment, which is a nuisance, but I'm on it, having some treatment and working on strengthening the muscles in that area and my balance, which my sports therapist tells me often impacts on knees. I sometimes get headaches after I've run too, I think from neck and shoulder muscles tightening, so next week I'll get some treatment for that too. You just have to be sensible about maintenance with these things. I want to run so I do all the necessary looking after to enable that.
It's All Good Stuff.
Hope you're all having a Good Day, wherever you are and whatever you're doing.
Happy Days, eh?!