When I wake up on Sunday or Wednesday morning, my first thought involves whether there’s any way on earth that I can rationalise not running. ‘Oh, it’s raining…’ ‘Oh no, there isn’t time…’ ‘Maybe a meteor will strike me…’ Yesterday morning my left knee was complaining when I woke up, and the pavements were wet (though it wasn’t actively raining or drizzling), and Margaret and Jennifer and I were planning to make an early start for the day, so I felt the temptation to just give the mile a miss this time.
On the other hand, I am constituted by duty as a leading element, and I’m particularly acutely aware of the value of keeping healthy, so I donned my trainers and set out for the mile. The knee turned out not to bother me, and though my breathing hasn’t advanced as much as I’d like (‘Why is that man making those gasping noises when he runs, Mummy?’), I did push my not-break-stride back to the Rusty Bicycle at the corner of Magdalen and Hurst. The rest of the mile went smoothly, though nothing exceptional stood out in my experience of it. And when I hit the ‘Stop’ button at the front gate, my time was 10:29 — almost ten seconds faster than any previous mile, and fifteen seconds faster than the plateau at which I’d been stuck.
I don’t assume that I won’t fall back, but it’s an encouraging advance toward a ten-minute mile, just as the corner of Magdalen and Hurst is an agreeable milestone (almost two-thirds of the way) toward taking the whole mile without stopping.