73. A rainjacket by any other name …

… could make a welcome Christmas gift. But the arrival through the post at last on Saturday, of a consolation London Marathon rainjacket provides the unwelcome confirmation that I don’t have a ballot place in next year’s event.

That, and the yellow writing plastered all over the magazine packed inside. Just in case I was in any doubt.

ifield-west-sussex-plough-inn-and-church.jpg

No matter that I didn’t run a step in November, through injury. No matter than I’m absolutely not fit enough to run a spring marathon. If I’d got a place, maybe I’d have tried to run it anyway, and suffered. But now I haven’t, it just doesn’t look wise to seek a charity place at this stage.

Yet it’s still a disappointment, that knowledge that I won’t be running down The Mall in April.

Still, there’s some good news to go with that rainjacket. I finally laced up my running shoes on Wednesday, for the first time in over six weeks. Three gentle, very cautious miles around the industrial estate at lunchtime. Even in the gloom, it looked fantastic to me. Another slow run, across muddy fields to The Plough at Ifield on Friday. The pub was warm and welcoming on a winter’s day, and that pint of Sussex Ale tasted even better for the four miles under my feet. Five miles today, gingerly along much the same route to Ifield church and back, struggling with tired legs towards the end.

It’s not entirely like starting right from the beginning again, since there must be some vestigial scraps of fitness still there. But it’s hard work. It’ll take patience to start back slowly and gradually, to avoid re-injury. And patience I’ll just have to find.

The startling discovery is that it’s a completely different season since last I ran. That was October, with warmer, brighter air, and breezes rustling the leaves. Today’s run was accompanied by nothing more than dank silence amidst the starkly stripped trees of a December afternoon. Even at lunchtime, it was as though the day couldn’t be bothered to get properly light.

But I’ll tell you now – it was marvellous to be out.

Related articles:
76. A year of running, rainily
70. Livin’ on milk and alcohol
77. The most miserable day of the year
51. London Calling
79. In sickness and in health
116. London is Olympic – The London Marathon

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