The wind and the hill-ows

Running in the rain can be a good thing. As long as you can pluck up the motivation to get out of the front door in the first place, then it can be refreshing. It’s perfect if you can time it to start raining a short way into your run. 

Wind, on the other hand, can be a challenge. The worst wind I ever had… ahem, I’ll rephrase that. The worst windy conditions I ever went running in was in Bournemouth several years ago. There is a path that runs alongside the beach below the cliffs from the pier all the way westwards to Sandbanks. It stretches further again eastwards as well, following the curve of the magnificent southern coast bay, but I didn’t run the full length of it that day. 

I was staying in Bournemouth on holiday and got up early to head out for a run before the sun became too hot. Running out towards the west was horrific. The wind whipped forth directly towards me, picking up sand from the beach, hurling it straight towards my eyes and stinging my exposed arms and legs. The long path to Sandbanks was hard, hard graft. 

Bob Dylan asked us how many times a man can turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see. Between the Bournemouth pier and the end of that path just as the spit extends out to sea, the answer was many times, and there was no pretending about not seeing either. The real answer, of course my friend, is blowing in the wind. And with all that sand flying about I wondered whether Bob himself had been for a similar early morning jog and returned home suitably inspired. 

The point of this Bournemouth story is that the journey west is long and tough and filled with danger. The journey east, or in my case on that day, back home, is, quite literally, a breeze. And you can see it in the other runners’ faces (it is a popular route at that time of day); going one way we were all close to tears, the other, full of smiles and nods of sympathy to our westwards travellers.

Back to the present, and I set out for a 5k, local and brisk. It was very blustery, and while the route I took was a bit of an out and back, the wind never got behind me, I felt I battled it the whole time. With the absence of the sand-blasting, this felt good training, good for the muscles. However, I’m clearly scarred from that early morning Bournemouth run a few years ago, as I cursed the wind all the way round. 

But it was a successful run, I felt good from it afterwards. I just hope the weather dies down a bit now and the next few runs will be still. 

So to finish, the only thing to say is best said by a clear expert on these matters, Bob Dylan, who appears to really get where I’m coming from. In his song Idiot Wind he muses:

“Idiot Wind blowing every time you move your mouth

Blowing down the back-roads headin’ south

Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth”

My feelings exactly, Bob. 

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