After a week or stagnation, frustation and lethargy we finally managed to brave the snow and get out and run.  All fears of broken ankles and careering cars began to vanish as we left town and headed out onto the trails.  The slush and brown ice disappeared and were replaced with fresh powder, where even 4x4's feared to tread and it was great.  The Medway valley can be a beautiful place at times and with the hills covered in snow and nobody in sight it was amazing.  The running was hard work with rolling hills and snow realing pounding our calves but it was well worth the pain.  We will definately be out in the snow again, if they will only give me a day off work!

Video Blog part 2 - The Great British Obsession with the Weather

A Little pictoral illustration of why our training hasn't gone too well this week!

Team Reading

New Years eve was the latest meeting of the inaugral team reading ruuning team for this years Reading half marathon.  Unfortunately for us it was not a hard training run or tactical discussions on nutrition and the most aerodynamic clothing.  No our team meetings involve copious amounts of alcohol (mulled wine in this case), meat and trying to cram 11 people onto a two bed house.  If you haven't guessed it yet, you're probably not too sharp, but this was our new years eve party and a great one at that.

All but one of our prospective team showed up and were it not for the late hour, we might have enticed the globetrotting Pinolona (of the Pinolona Blog) who may have had some more eloquent and philosophical posting for the page!

A great time was had by all (I hope) and if team spirit is the most important thing then we are doing just fine.  However given training is slightly important we will be having a proper run in january, with the possibility of  live tweetup, watch this space.

Why do I run?

I was out for a long run on Sunday in the freezing cold here and my mind began to wander a little and meandered onto the thought of why I run.  At first though this seems like a very simple question with a multitude of simple answers.  Sure there are plenty of obvious candidates to lose weight, look better, feel fitter, compete with myself, but none of these rang true.  Shallow reasons of self interest could not explain why I was trudging through the mud and the ice with the temperature below zero, I just don't have the vanity or the body to make it worth my while.  It had to be something else, something deeper that drove me.  Was it the same thing that once drove me to play basketball for two hours a day in an extremely ropey Manchester neighbourhood and brave the cold mud and pain to play rugby in the UK?

Then it came to me, it was absolute nothingness.  Four miles in with aching legs and wet toes my mind went blank, no thoughts of pleasure or pain, just calm.  The serenity of being absolutely comfortable in what you are doing, feeling like you could go for miles without a care in the world.  In a way it’s like euphoria without the awareness that you are happy. This inner peace is what I had been chasing all these years and you could almost not notice it was there.

You could call this all sorts of names, the classic runners high, meditation, a trance or all sorts of things, but if you've been there or done endurance sports you must know what I mean.  Is it just me or is this the core of what all of us get out there and sweat for? Now my task is not to name it or put it into a box, but to go out and find it again, I can't wait for my long run .............