Sunday, 11 November 2007

Recovery Runs

Last Thursday, in Nottinghamshire, I went for an extraordinary run. It was a little short of ten miles, late afternoon, into a cold north wind. I was running with my friend Sean (who has appeared often in the pixels of this blog). We followed a canal for some miles, then turned into farmlands. As we followed the hedges it grew so dark that we could barely see where we were placing our feet, especially with the cold wind drawing tears from our eyes. What was extraordinary was the fact that we were doing it. A few hours earlier Sean had delivered the eulogy at his mum's funeral.

Running demands that you observe patterns in the crazy demands of everyday work. It also gives you a space to make, acknowledge, and filter through the blood, the singular moments that change you. Being able to live through these things, to trust instinct on where to place one's feet in the unsure-footing of the dark, by steadily and surely pacing through fields, is a consolation and a potent resource. The run, anything but a training run, made me reflect on what privilege is found not only in friendship but in being able to run.

(Note: in training parlance, a recovery run is a short run at a very easy pace usually performed the day after a hard training session. The theory is that the run will speed recovery to muscle tissue by stimulating circulation, clean out accumulated waste products and accelerate the realignment of fibres, or at least diminish soreness. Recovery runs should not be ten miles long.)