I went out for another long run, being new years day:
I found that I was being followed by a fellow runner about 2 or 3km in, who had probably the same idea as me. I found that he (it could have been a she) was able to keep in sight of me for most of the run. It was quite rewarding every so often to turn around and still see him there. In fact, it was this that made this run particularly enjoyable.
I was quite intrigued as I climbed up the hill and then turning to see the runner's yellow high visibility clothing following me still. He seemed to always be there, slowly closing in.
I often turned back to see where he was, inevitably he was about perhaps 1 or 2 minutes behind me, maybe longer.
Would I be caught up?
How long will this continue?
Have I met my match?
I don't often have company on long runs, let alone the persistent kind. After a while, it became a routine of mine to wait until I'd been running in a relatively straight line for a while so that I could turn briefly and see how far off he was.
When I turned back and could not see him, I'd almost worry that he wasn't there but he'd just come into view as the bend straighten, and so the process would continue.
It wasn't until I got into Gerrard's Cross, that his figure seemed to fade away and the yellow figure that I'd been hoping for slowly became smaller and smaller. In a way, it was disappointing but similarly, it was inspiring - I had held him off, I'd succeeded in staying ahead!
After a while, I paid more attention to what was in front of me. He was long gone now, and would not feature in my run anymore.
Only the passing scenery, as the road revealed itself to me, was new. As mentioned before, I'd had decided a while back to continue running straight instead of making any turns, and this had to lead me to new running into surroundings.
I was impressed by the flowing wide-open farmlands of green that had appeared in my peripheral vision, and the winter chequered leaves that covered the floor as I ran. Usefully, I was not feeling tired.
I ran the first 9.7km until there was no more path to follow as it turned into the main highway of the A7 to Oxford, which had been flanking me the whole way. I found it fairly amusing that I was short 300 meters - something I'd need to make up elsewhere.
The run back was similar, only without any company save a few runners that ran past me, all of which seemed to be struggling a bit. In fact, there were quite a few actually.
Seeing as today was new years' day, I suspected they might be the victims of new years' resolutions - something I've never found myself too eager in having.
I find that many aspirations, possibly ones made in the spur of the moment, or ones that require a dedicated mark in time to be born, to be very difficult to achieve personally, and only those that I've started slowly in realizing - ever amount to anything.
It's difficult to know what had attributed to their current anguished expressions, or if my thoughts even applied to them.
As I found my way back into familiar looking territory, I noticed that I had gathered a good pace and had a good rhythm now. I crossed over the duel-carriageway and past the fire station with much vigor.
However, this did not last and as I made it down the hill (where I had first glimpsed the yellow runner) - fatigue had started to set in. I found that my legs had become heavy and my pace had dropped significantly and it became quite tiresome. Despite this, I pressed on.
The last 2-3 km were particularly grueling and it was more of a fight to keep the stain in my thighs at bay.
I passed through the park near my flat and my legs were starting to give way. I had only 1 kilometer to go, so I decided to continue onto wards the next field and around it.
I made it out the field and up and over the canal before returning back the same way I'd come (as I had passed my flat on the way). After reaching the high street, I struggled along past the Tesco which appeared to be open, which in passing I thought strange.
I reached the end of my journey after an hour and forty-two minutes. I went upstairs and took a shower.
I wonder how long it will be until I cannot do that anymore and when I can't, what will I do instead? Perhaps I'll just take longer or maybe my legs will become tired earlier, and force me to turn around sooner?
I don't know for sure, but when that day comes, doing the best I can, where I am, with what I have - will still probably be enough.