Monday, 27 December 2010

A cold run in the English countryside

112 days until the Boston Marathon.


The day after Christmas, a holiday called "Boxing Day" in Britain, dawned bitterly cold.

I didn't particularly want to get out of bed and go for a run, but we were staying at wife's parents' house in southern England, and I wanted to fit in my runs when they'd be least disruptive.

I donned my hat, two long-sleeve shirts, two pairs of lightweight gloves, boxers, running trousers, wool sox, and my running shoes. I put them on the radiator a bit before putting them on, so they were warm.

Outside, the air was dry and cold. There was still about six inches of snow on the ground from a snow-fall earlier in the week. The thermometer on the shed read -14 degrees Celcius (6.8 degrees Fareheit).

My wife's parents' house is at the end of a small village, near farms and pastures. I trotted down the road, and turned onto a public footpath that lead through the fields.

The snow underfoot was somewhat packed by previous walkers, and the path led through a corridor of trees between two fields. I saw a white-tail deer ahead on the trail, and it ambled off as I drew closer. I could see that it had been the remains of apples from a nearby tree.

The path then led along the edge of a field. The sun was rising slowly, but it didn't give off any warmth.

The path led to a small village. I emerged onto a road, and across it was a former schoolhouse, with a stone that read "Primitive Methodist School 1854". There were a few gravestones in the yard, and the former schoolhouse now seemed to be someone's home.

I headed down the road. My finger tips were getting numb, so I tucked my hands into my underarms.

The road descended a bit, and after a traffic-free mile or so through the countryside, I turned and headed back.

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