But anyway - last Saturday we did run; making a vague plan to head to Putney Heath and then on to wherever. We took an early-ish train to Clapham Junction, remarked on how it was a nice day (and also about how fucking cold it was), then set off. And ten minutes later I had to stop and buy some Nurofen because my right shin and ankle were yelping at me.
My ankle plays up a lot. The other day I was at Sweat Shop near Bank tube station buying some new trainers and I had a go on a running machine, so they could film me and analyse how I was going.
As I ran the woman asked if I'd ever had an injury. No I said and then thought, actually, I have. A year or so ago I'd slipped so spectacularly on a thickly iced street that the heel came off my shoe. That was an injury, wasn't it. My newly-folded ankle had even made a noise like Bird's Trifle when you put a spoon in it.
Watching a film of my feet, and my feet.
'You've probably been running to accommodate some damage' the woman said, and she played back a video of my run. Sure enough, my right foot - the one with the gammy ankle that I don't talk about because I'm the strong and silent type - was landing differently to my left; slightly out of whack, and as if its bolts needed tightening. 'You should go and see someone about that', she said, 'so they can help you run differently'. And she suggested I book in with one of those sporty people who wear grey sweatpants all year round. I'm going to do this next week because, well, I should, shouldn't I.
The good news is that the Nurofen kicked in at the edge of Putney Heath and I could actually start moving properly. The sun came out, too. But the tracks and footpaths were sodden from the week's rain and, soon enough, we were all but fell running.
And it was tremendous, tremendous fun. I ended up hopping and skipping down an old bridleway like a labrador at one point and it was the closest thing to 'playing out' I've ever done in my adult life. Halfway down, my phone rang and it was Andy (who had left me for dust) saying 'it's all gone a bit Blair Witch hasn't it. Where are you?'. Luckily we'd both followed the same tracks and he was only a couple of minute or so ahead, so we caught up, caught our breath and headed over towards Richmond Park.
The White Lodge, Richmond Park.
It's a given that the Capital drips with history but - to steal an analogy from Spalding Gray - if South London is soup then Richmond Park is purée. All kinds of English monarchs lived and hunted and drank and caroused there. Lord John Russell lived there. Even General Eisenhower lived there at one point. And there's an apocryphal story that Henry VIII stood on a mound in the park, watching and waiting for the fireworked signal that Anne Boleyn had been beheaded. Even though it's bollocks, there's a telescope on that mound now, Here's Andy having a razz on it and gazing out at some pretty spectacular views of the city.
...and the view itself (click for bigger).
It was around then that we decided to call it a day, because Andy had a mate down from Glasgow. So we walked/ ran into Richmond itself (tremendously posh, as if this is a surprise) and got the train home. We didn't know the distance at this point as Andy's 'mapping app' had packed in halfway around, and all we knew was that we'd done 'more than 4.7 miles'.
When I got home, I measured it all out on Google Maps and was pretty encouraged to see we'd done just over a half marathon.
Statue of Bernardo O'Higgins, 'liberator of Chile', in Richmond.
In the week afterwards, I ran once. Just over 5k. I should have gone out again and again but, you know, work.
Distance: 13.5 miles/ 22 km
Time: Two hours thirty, say? Taking into account the cup of tea?
Runs in the week: (Elliot) Just the one, and 5.7k/ 3.5m
Time for that: Half an hour.
Total distance (Andy): 115.3 miles/ 185.8km
Total distance (Elliot): 120.1 miles/ 192.5km