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I prepare for the first afternoon run from the return commute. I admire people who run their commute regularly. There aren’t many, but the ones I notice look very serious about it.

A day is like a run, with peaks and troughs. I think my peak is in the mornings, the afternoon is about keeping as much of the momentum as possible. But you can’t always choose your route.

I’ve begun to notice the space around my limits. Energy limits, knee limits, other tolerance limits. It’s easy to notice when you’re at the edge, but it’s harder to determine the sequence or path that leads up to it. At what point does wakefulness turn towards tiredness? The transitions are all smooth if one pays attention but abrupt if one doesn’t.

The train from King’s Cross is cancelled so I’m on a slower one from St. Pancras. The commute feels different in running clothes. A step removed.

Out of the station and past cars parked at the side of the road, commuters. No parking tickets, it’s allowed. Some are picked up by taxis. Signpost to “The Mordens”: Steeple and Guilden. It’s a border area. A run between Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, more or less on the dividing line. An easy start, surprisingly so. Cars arc away politely, good. And then on to the byway. Straight, easy, enjoyable running until it gets a bit too warm and I can’t keep the pace. But golden fields, flowers I can’ t name, hedges, all glowing in the afternoon sun.

Whenever I picture packed trains and endless meetings, this gets me motivated all over again and I lace up my running shoes and set off without any qualms…

At any rate, that’s how I started running. Thirty-three…Still young enough though no longer a young man. The age that Jesus Christ died. The age Scott Fitzgerald started to go downhill. That age may be a kind of cross roads in life.


It gets tougher, twenty seconds per kilometer tougher, but it’s still pleasant. There’s no need to set a time. I can see the spires of Johnson Matthey’s chemical plant. On the home stretch the pollution by the A-road hits me. I should have turned off earlier to run by the solar panels to the chemical factory. And it’s uphill too. Time to try and switch off all thought, find a partial vacuum. Time stretches again. If I don’t make it to the station it won’t count. It ends at eleven kilometers on the dot and I crave cool refreshment.

Bubbles would rise through the cider, in such multitudes that others were left hanging on the side of the glass, whence one could have scooped them up with a spoon, as a net lowered into the swarming vitality of tropical seas brings up thousands of ova; and seen from outside, they would freckle the glass like a Venetian glass, and give it a look of extreme fragility by embroidering its cider-flushed surface with a thousand tiny dots.

Marcel Proust

 58:24 Moving Time

This entry was posted in: GCR

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