I was five strides from the front door before I realised that the baseball cap was not a good idea. It is essential to keep the drizzle off my glasses, but a liability in the warm gusting gales that were blasting in over the fields and paper factory. I ran a loop through a little hamlet called Bowston on a route that took me along quiet, rain-washed lanes alongside fields with sheep and lambs huddling snug against the stone walls for shelter. The burbling song of curlews reinforced the air of desolation. Not a person, bike, car, dog walker, cyclist or tractor did I pass.
At the paper shop, the lad behind the counter looked with some distaste at the sweaty scruffbag shoving an Observer into his rucksack, and watched with mild bemusement as I extricated my money, with some difficulty, from the zipped back pocket of my shorts. To his credit, he managed a weak smile on receiving payment.
The final leg was just half a mile or so uphill to home. It was a shock to realise that, because of work and other commitments, I have not been able to run for a whole week. No wonder I was feeling lardy and grumpy. And that's also why I run. Because if I don't, I'm not at all the pleasant, even-tempered Smileyrunner I want to be.
Why do you run?