Spring fever

While out running the other morning, I could not ignore the feeling that Spring was finally in the air—at least for the moment. All the signs were there and I hoped that this meant that we would finally get some relief from the cold. Although I couldn’t ignore the chilly wind biting at my neck, it was so unusually sunny and bright outside that everything seemed to shine. The early daffodils which had looked so out of place in recent grey weeks were now carpets of vibrant, glaring yellow and almost looked unreal. It was such a contrast to the rain and floods we’ve experienced lately. It didn’t seem possible that a couple of degrees in temperature could work so quickly to reduce the tide level of the usual puddles on the trails. I was unaccustomed to running on less swampy ground and I realised that I was running in areas that had not been intentionally trodden on since the autumn. I am always amazed at how running conditions can be affected by just a tiny change in the weather and a winter weary slog can quickly transform into a springy trot. But clearly, I was not the only one who ventured outside and had caught a bit of spring fever.

Normally when I go for a run I pass by several familiar all-weather dog-walkers and spy the same couple of runners who are doing their regular workout. However, when Spring is in the air, we’ve all got company as it seems that everybody is outside. The parks and trails quickly become busier as they fill with more runners, walkers and cyclists. Which means that running becomes a little like a game of dodge and swerve played against many different opponents with a diverse range of abilities. This time I was up against people walking excited dogs and puppies, parents walking toddlers with sticks and the most dangerous and difficult sort to contend with—children learning to ride new bikes. After a near-miss with a parent who was attempting to navigate a pushchair whilst holding back both a child and dog on tangled reins, I nearly ran into a hedge. I also had a slight collision with a little dog that ran straight towards me who lost our game of ‘chicken’ but perhaps it didn’t know we were playing…

Of course, the improvement in weather that often marks the beginning of Spring can only mean one thing…Time to sign up for some new events! And this is easily done because when the sun is shining, we readily convince ourselves that it will last and can already imagine enjoying some never ending sunny days ahead. However, if we are honest, a small part of us will know that we are deluded. Spring may equate to beautiful sunny days with bright blue skies and warm breezes somewhere else but in the UK it just means we get a slightly warmer winter, sometimes with less rain.

It is no different in my family as we have also caught a bit of Spring fever and logic has once again taken a back seat to enthusiasm. For example, there has been a lot of talk about signing up for various duathlons, triathlons, half-marathons and some ‘fun’ events. One of my children announced that they were doing a triathlon but then remembered that they don’t actually like the pool-bound swimming leg of it. Now they have decided they want to do an aquathon! Another child lobbied us relentlessly until we allowed him to sign up for a last-minute duathlon that takes place ‘a couple of hours’ away. Despite some rushed training, his head is still in a Spring fever haze because now is also talking about wanting to run a Half-Marathon with me when he reaches the minimum age requirement. Which is odd because he actually prefers cycling…

Of course, being aware of Spring fever madness doesn’t make you any more immune to it and I am just as susceptible as my children. I have come to the conclusion that there is no point in trying to resist it because even considering the brutal reality of training and participating or the likely weather you will encounter on the day doesn’t seem to help. I have already signed up for a Cancer Research UK’s Pretty Muddy event despite the fact that I cannot bear being wet and cold. I am looking at summer half-marathons, cycling sportives and also considering doing a triathlon although I share the dislike of the swimming part with my child. Maybe we should do it together?? I have no resistance to Spring fever so I think I might as well embrace it and sign up for these ridiculous events. Because although it is sunny and Spring-like for the moment I also know that this weather will not last. But at least in the following months I will be joined on the trails and pavements by others who have signed up for things in a moment of Spring madness. Maybe we can spur each other on in the rain?

And for the first recipe of Spring it has got to be Spring chicken with lemony veg. It is another easy family recipe that makes a great sauce and if you mop it up with your favourite bread, it makes a great post workout meal. Just don’t expect your children to leave you any leftovers.

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