Monday, 11 January 2010

The day came by my window dressed in snow

A brief hiatus in the marathoning tips, to write about an actual run ...

This is the weather to run in. I'm not running much at the moment, just two or three times a week, not even thirty miles, which is no distance for someone planning to run the London marathon in April, but this is the weather to do it in, especially facing day in the barrenness of the winter fens.

I've moved house, a few miles away from Cambridge. The Cam is now five miles north of here, and sometimes I run there and back, between the farms and the cold storage warehouses. Cambridge was flat, but here it is really flat, the slightest elevation being a source of wonder. Here is the view from the road that heads north from my new house, towards Reach. The rise is the size of a nipple, and breaks the horizontal tedium like a bird's cry.

I went for a run one morning last week, through the snow and ice. It was slow, but the slowness of the snow, and the careful footing you have to take, concealed the appalling weakness of the body. While at the same time footprints in the unbroken snow cannot lie about your decreasing stride length.

I crossed a nameless lode and entered White Fen.

I passed humming pylons, scarcely witnessed by man. I passed frozen craters that might have been from Tarkovsky's Stalker, footprints of a greater civilisation, purposelessly left for us humans to wonder at. Or perhaps some fennish landscaping conceived and designed in Peterborough, just big ice-shallows in the scrub.

I arrived at nowhere, turned around, and came back again.

When you see a white-snow road like this, winding away from you, whispering of the miles ahead, it's hard not to feel that it's yours, that you have something in your empty, double-gloved hands no one else does. Runners know about this, but it's easy to forget when you're accepting injury as a reason to stay at home.



  1. Goodness, what extraordinary pictures - the bleakness of that white road stretching miles before you is a little disquieting. Good to hear you're considering London in April. Is your place confirmed?

  2. Great to see you running again, Joad. Lovely piece and great photos.

  3. I am certainly no marathoner - maybe one day - but I love your blog.

    There really is nothing more satisfying than going for a run on a frosty / snowy morning.

    Lovely pictures.