I ran thrice this week; I’m not sure this constitutes a taper, as though I scored fewer miles, they were all tough runs.
On Wednesday it was a Striders run, though our numbers were depleted — something to do with celebrations of a 3rd century martyr, or of the day of which Chaucer said, 'Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make’ — so off I went with a faster group, in wind and driving rain. I couldn’t keep up with them, but managed 4.13 miles.
On Saturday, to Preston Park in Brighton, whose parkrun had been chosen by my running club as the first event in the 2018 club Grand Prix. It’s a fast flat parkrun, like those I usually frequent, and busy: this event had 568 participants, in contrast to last week’s Bevendean Down, where I was 21st out of 22. I had no particular goal in mind, and followed the 28 minute pacer for a while, but lost him early on. I kept going, and judge of my surprise when, at the finish, I found myself behind him again, and I managed a time of 28:20.
Finally, on Sunday, I did something as unlike the half-marathon as is possible, the muddy, hilly Heathfield Park cross-country event. The course included mud, streams to ford or jump, ground with masonry in it (I overheard one runner complaining to a marshal about this, which I thought not quite the cross-country spirit) and fallen trees to climb over. It was sunny, and quite warm: I stripped off my base layer after the first lap and ran in nothing but a vest for the first time this year. On the second lap a shoe lace began to give me trouble, and, after a couple of retying, I saw through the caked mud that it had become so frayed as to be untieable. I finished the race with it flapping, acknowledging, I hope politely, the cries of various runners and spectators who helpfully drew my attention to it.