and then when that thing changes, you immediately start complaining about the new status-quo. That describes the British and the weather. In fairness, we aren’t naturally blessed. April and May provided a grey and gloomy canvas, and then things flipped like a switch over the recent bank holiday. This, of course, was welcomed with righteous aplomb and the shops were left abandoned for parks and pubs and beaches – and why not?
A few days later the good weather boiled in the pan and the air turned to steam. This is the way of things. As I write, thankfully, things have switched again and the air has cooled and dried, and it no longer feels as if we live in a swamp.
If I attempt to be grateful though, I can say that the swamp weather made for a memorable run.
Those few days of warmth dried out my local trails and cross country paths which had been surprisingly dank throughout the last month, so I hit one of my favourite local routes: a hilly wood which can be looped in number ways as you rack up miles, and elevation gain. I just wanted to take it easy, but as soon as I weaved my way beneath the canopy of the wood the air told me that it was not going to be so simple. The foliage was long and drooping, overgrown and under-trodden. Sweat arrived quickly, before even my breath grew hard. Then, the sound of the wood: the chirp of birds, the flicker of insects, the bark of muntjacs, and then the oppression-by-tree of all external sounds. It felt positively jungle-like.
It was what I had been waiting for. It was summer running. It was wet, all encompassing, tough. It didn’t necessarily feel good, and it definitely wasn’t as easy as I would have wanted it to be, but maybe that’s the magic of those training grounds, in that weather – you don’t need to run fast to get some serious training benefit.
Not that it’s about the training benefit, really. Running the woods is never about anything more than a desire to get out there, be alone, beneath that canopy, amongst that sound. So I won’t complain. I’ll try not to complain. The consistency of the inconsistency of our weather changes the dynamic of our training grounds on a daily basis and yes, I do wish it would be hot but dry, perhaps with a cool, wandering breeze, but as some guy some time once said: “you can’t always get what you want.”
Sometimes the wood will be the wood that I want it to be, sometimes it will be a slip and slide, sometimes it will be a steaming jungle. The only thing that prevents me from enjoying all those modes is me. If I choose to appreciate that dynamism, it can all be good.
What else did that guy say?
“If you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”
There are a thousand-and-one things to complain about in this world.
Perhaps the weather shouldn’t be one of them because when it comes right down to it, how good the weather is, how bad the weather is, is only a matter of perspective.