time: several weeks ago, about 7.30pm. i forgot about this incident til tonight.
place: at the top of a hill near my flat. i'm out with my running club.
earlier in the day, i went for lunch with a friend to an all-you-can-eat chinese buffet. i took full advantage, reasoning that i would be running it all off later. but i realised just after we started our run that that may all be very well, but if the food is still sitting in your stomach like a lead weight five hours later, you may possibly have eaten too much.
i manage three reps of the evil hill, two of them by walking half way up. the guy leading the beginners session is patient, but adamant. the third rep he runs with me, bans me from talking and takes my water bottle off me so i can just concentrate on the slow trek to the top. i manage it without stopping, but by the time i reach the top i'm gasping for air, feeling like i'm going to throw up. it probably serves me right.
'that's it folks. i only live down there', gesturing to the bottom of the hill. 'i feel awful, i just want to go home.'
the leader gestures to a nearby bench, suggests i sit there while the group sets off to do another rep of the hill. a vet who has come along with the beginners sits with me to keep me company as i try and find my breath.
suddenly he gestures over to our left. 'you can see the sea over there!' he says.
i look. he's right. i've been up this hill a few times before, and i've never noticed.
it's a rare beautiful evening. the sun is warm. the sky is perfect. the sea, dark blue in the distance.
the group finishes the rep, recovers, starts out for another one. i really do go home this time, reassuring them that i'll be fine. i keep a steady pace all the way home, but by the time i reach my front door, i really am fit to drop.
it was worth the pain and discomfort of running on a still-full stomach, though, for that moment of perfection on the hilltop.
(this post is brought to you courtesy of insomnia brought on by my really, really hard run tonight... only 4 miles at a very slow pace, and i went out too late in the evening so although i'm very tired i'm not at all sleepy. i've lost a lot of fitness with being ill the other week, and the Great North Run is only four and a half weeks away. i'm down to do the tynedale 10m jelly race in 10 days, and i honestly don't know whether i should do it or if it'll just make me feel even worse. oh well, i don't suppose i have to decide quite yet.
this is only the second time i've been out since i've been ill. maybe i'm just being hard on myself. anyway, time to click publish and have another go at sleep.)
oh, and also? one of the reasons i don't post more is that i am seemingly incapable of writing short posts. i thought this one was going to be two or three lines at the most. gawd knows how.