How can it be that we're barely into October and the clocks haven't even gone back, yet I find myself having to put on my fluorescent vest before I go out on a run this evening? It was only just gone seven by the time I got out of the door, but it was already properly dark. It had been raining as I drove home from work a few minutes before, so as well as my bright yellow vest, I was wrapped up in full-length running leggings, a long-sleeved thermal top, a hat and a pair of gloves. This is pretty much the running gear that I will be using in the middle of December, and I'm not quite sure that I'm ready to give up on the fairer seasons and move straight into deepest, darkest winter just yet.
It was a fantastic run too. The rain had just stopped as I stepped out of the door, so the world was clean and fresh smelling, my legs were feeling fresh and I barely bumped into a soul as I negotiated my way around sleeping geese nestled up on the path against the river Trent. I was sealed in behind my headphones as usual, and my iPod managed to kick up a selection of tunes that really seemed to suit my mood, including "Mr. Brightside", "The Queen is Dead" and the Nirvana version of "The Man Who Sold the World". If there's a better way to put the frustrations of another day in the office behind you, then I'm not sure I know what it is (although I will be having a nice cool glass of refreshing beer in a minute....).
You know what the absolute highlight of my run was though? It was the dawning realisation, about ten minutes in and as my body began to throw off heat, that my running top smelt really strongly of goulash. This is not in the least bit surprising, really, given that the top has been hanging in the kitchen where for much of the last twenty-four hours I have been stewing up a huge pot of the same. 800g of beef; 800g of finely chopped onion; three or four heaped tablespoons of sweet paprika, some garlic, a splash of vinegar, some water and a lot of pleasing simmering and stirring.
My running tops have certainly smelt of worse things, that's for sure.
If winter heralds in the arrival of hearty stews for supper, then perhaps it's not so bad after all.