The only way to get out in weather like this is a system of rewards. If I do the punishment exercise I will get treat x, y or z. I had an easy day – an estimate over the other side of town. It was a 2 glove cycle; I mean 2 on both hands. Surprisingly Wintry. In fact I can't remember the Winter being this Wintry. So cold the snow flurries were whistling along the ground and blowing up in your eyes like sand.
Mary had had a longer harder day involving work and a cycle. So I was pleased when she suggested a substantial run. She had in mind a 10 miler round the Seat but I suggested we do something more full on, with head-torches which would distract from the ugly business of running in the baltic conditions. We settled on that Friday night special of Rad Road Reps. On the condition that while M had a nap I build dinner so that it would be waiting if we survived.
It occurred to me recently that we have, over the years, refined “dinner” into a meal, a recipe we like so much that we cook it, or a variation of it, every night. I make a large pot of onions, sweet potatoes, courgettes, parsnip, peppers, chillies, garlic, whatever's on the shelves at Tescos and after night one the rest is put in tupperware containers and fridged / frozen to be eaten with rice or pasta or couscous with some lamb or steak done in barbecue-like sauce for the carnivorous.
Mary had put some root ginger in the trolley for winter warmth and it bore a striking resemblance to a young Joseph Merrick. Appropriately, 10 finger chillies. Its always risky going into double figures but the weather demanded extremes. And while we were out, the heat in the fingers would reach out and disperse into the rest of the pot.
So with the reward in place it was just a case of knocking out a few reps. I took the first one too easy and it was a handful of seconds over the 5 mins. I wasn't even wheezing. OK next one I would try harder. M had us run the length of the crags, left into Hunters Bog and left again at the end to lead back into rep 2. The path down into the Bog was running a small river and I hopped about trying to keep dry feet.
Number 2 and I got distracted. I had seen a picture halfway up the first rep of a backlit spire. I stopped to take a snap and knew I had reneged on the deal. And I could see the photo was shite. So I was now failing in 2 respects. I took another bad photo then in an effort to make up for indolence I sprinted up the next bit, but by the time I got to the top it was the same as the first, just over 5 minutes; Shameful. I resolved to blast the last rep.
I was getting a recovery at the top each time. Then we jogged round and down through the bog. It was not a night for racing down the wet slippery path. On the Radical Road the wind was unusually helpful in the first half but towards the top was in your face. There was only one other bloke there lurking about in the shadows. It was not a night for a pleasant walk round the hill, although by the second rep I happily sat on the grass at the top taking photos, catching my breath – enjoying being properly warm - waiting for Mary to appear.
Last rep and I knocked out a 4.50 but I was gasping by the top. We returned home by the front of the crags having had enough of a foot wetting through the Bog. I really enjoyed the session, or rather, enjoyed having done the session and felt better for it.
Dinner was splendid.