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As (relatively) easy as Wednesday’s mile was, this morning’s was unpleasant. My legs and torso were heavy, my breathing was desperate, and it was sheer bloody-mindedness that enabled me to get as far as Leopold Street for my break-stride (still only one, though). Time was 11:03, which may suggest that I set too ambitious a stride early and burned out — so that my final time wasn’t that much worse than usual, but the experience of running was more frustrating.


The weather cooperated this morning, so I made my circuit as usual, with the same time as my last mile (10:51). The encouraging news came as I pushed my break-stride point to Henley Street — getting closer and closer to making the complete circuit without stopping. Breathing and body felt all right, which was reassuring.


Last Sunday promised cold air, rain, and icy pavements, so I gave it a miss again (making two running days in a row that I had skipped). I was not enthusiastic about runnning this morning, but since when have I been enthusiastic about running?

Sub-zero temperatures and slippery patches meant that I had to be more attentive than on a usual morning, but for most of the mile I felt no particular challenge. I wasn’t wheezing more than usual, my legs and torso didn’t feel heavy, shoulders were as loose as I needed them to be. About a third of the way into the mile, my right calf started sending warning signs of tightness, so I made sure not to ask too much of it.

In the end, I pushed my break-stride point to halfway between Aston and Henley streets (and I stopped then as much from caution for my calf as for being winded), and my time for the morning mile was 10:52.

Out of curiosity, I checked to see what route would push me to a mile and a half, and that would entail taking Magdalen Road all the way to the Cowley Road and running round to James Street and southwest on James. That seems a lot longer than only an extra half mile, and I’m not enchanted with the prospect of running on the Cowley Road, even though I usually run before 7 AM when there’s little traffic. If I need to stretch my route, I may rely on pushing further east rather than making a rounder loop with the Cowley Road.

Really Cold

Not much to say about this morning beyond ‘-1°’. I couldn’t warm up and stretch out at all — every time I tried, my muscles all contracted into as close to the fetal position as a running person can attain. Very short steps, freezing breath, and profound relief to have finished the run. 11:15, but I did push my break-stride to Aston Street (I was taking such short strides, I had to decide whether it even mattered, or was too tired even to take another baby stride).


I’m a bit surprised that I didn’t record Sunday’s run, which felt sluggish, broke only at Leopold Street, and came in at 11:04. Busy morning?

Today, everything about my body and breathing was resistant to a strong, limber run. Knees were stiff, body felt leaden, breath was rough and desperate from early on. Every time I tried to pick up the pace, to shake off the lethargy and spring free, instead I flopped back into my slow pace and wheezing. I did manage to hold off my break to Leopold Street again, and the time was 10:50, so it could have been worse.


This morning my body was very emphatically disinclined to do my twice-weekly exercise duty. Still, what makes it ‘duty’ is the obligation to do it anyway, and as it turns out the result was better than it has been since my return to the UK. After my sole stride-break at Leopold Street, I got back home in 10:58. I thought I was going much more slowly; clearly I have no idea whatsoever of my pace.

On the other hand, my calves, shins, and knees are achey since the run. In the name of a greater good, though.


First mile in four weeks. I am really not looking forward to this.

Well, it wasn’t fun, or pretty, but after 11:09 I arrived back at the front door. There was no single factor to point out in this morning’s go; I stopped twice, once at the Rusty Bicycle and once more after about half the remaining distance. I could feel the effect of a month of very little exercise and very fulsome dining. Carrying Thomas around seems not to have counteracted my sloth and gluttony, alas.

Circumlocution and Christology

Just dropping a bit of a flag here:

I’ve long been sceptical about the idea that the Johannine ego eimi Sayings constituted an allusion to the Divine Name or Divine identity; it seems to derive a lot of its fascination from readers who encounter the expression in translation (and Christian readers), rather than directly in Greek or Hebrew. That’s not to suggest a fault in scholars who manifestly read in the original, by the way, but to flag up the existence of a base of popular support among non-readers.

Anyway, as I work through the two works I take to be most relevant — Catrin Williams’s ‘I Am He’: The Interpretation of Anî Hû in Jewish and Early Christian Literature and Jason Coutts’s “My Father’s Name”: The Significance and Impetus of the Divine Name in the Fourth Gospel, I’m struck by the phenomenon of avoidance and circumlocution with respect to the Name. That is: we can easily see that in the first century, authors avoid using the Divine Name altogether — it never appears as such in the New Testament, for instance — and has become the object of circumlocution or substitution. Rather than reading ‘I am’ and pondering whether it refers to the Name, then, I wonder whether it wouldn’t be more productive to see whether ‘I am’ can be seen to function as a substitute or circumlocution for the Name, or (if it is as ‘blasphemous’ as some readers of GJohn want to propose) whether we can find signs that it too is the object of avoidance.

I haven’t thought this through yet, and haven’t finished reading Williams or Coutts, so they may cover this later on. It just strikes me as a possible trajectory for further investigation.


Wednesday, in the middle of St Stephen’s House’s Advent Retreat (with 40 Hours Devotion), I ran 10:47. I pushed my break-stride to Leopold Street, but I don’t remember anything else about it.

This morning I ran 10:34, on mildly resentful upper legs. Break-stride pushed to Aston Street.

Remarkable Recollection

10:27 on Sunday. As I ran past Henley Street, a pedestrian greeted me with ‘Morning, Son’, and I spent the next two blocks wondering how old one has to be to call a man in his sixties ‘Son.’ Quick answer: He didn’t look that old.

Pushed my single not-break-stride close to Leopold Street. There were headwinds every direction I turned. This seems profoundly unfair.