mundane adventures in running
The hot weather’s lasted well and it’s still warm now. Cold and fret in the mornings to humid heat and turbulent days, for october at least. September saw a share of heavy pregnant skies and feverishly hot nights. London’s victorian streets had the damp mouldy tropical feeling of festering british buildings in former colonies. Indian summer on some figurative level, whatever the phrase is supposed to mean.
It’s still warm, but not for much longer. Horse chestnuts are distinctly unglossy and unspectacular as a mushy carpet in every park. The evenings are getting dark. The mornings are foggy. All these things which indicate the necessary advance of winter every year. These things we treat every year like a novelty or surprise, as though winter can be fended off. King Canute sits on the 68 bus commanding the seasons to retreat.
I’m more than resigned to Winter. I promised myself I’d never let my emotions be swayed too much by the weather, that i’d never become someone who fruitlessly complained about the time of year or what the wind was doing; that I’d never swear about the rain, the sun or the seasons. By my logic the corollary of not complaining is not being excited. But now in Autumn I can feel wet and wild weather just round the corner, I’m finding it hard to curb my enthusiasm.
Summer, good weather, temperate weather make for halcyon running days in London. Even at its hottest, with a pair of sunglasses, a cap, a singlet and a cold shower at the end running in London is fine. So fine, there’s something wrong with it. It’s humdrum, dainty and dilettante. The weather in the UK barely ever presents a challenge, it barely ever feels like it’s there. A nice day is nice, but it’s an absence of sensation, not a thing in its own right.
A lot of the joy of running is about being outside, and feeling part of the world. it’s too easy to ignore temperate weather. Weather being ok doesn’t become part of the experience, just the context to an experience.
Now, nasty weather. Nasty weather makes for better running. Pissing down rain, howling wind, freezing sleet. Weather that you can feel makes a run mean more. Heroes don’t look for nice weather. Temperate was never an adversary. Quests and adventures are about storms and snow, not blue skies and light breezes. Running becomes wilder, more adventurous, more exciting in black evenings or driving rain. Even in London, bad weather can transform the most civilised and tame runs into terrifying exhilarating, nail biting ordeals. I’m looking for wild, and I’m hoping that Winter will bring it.