Being on the western edge of Europe hasn’t saved Ireland from the recent wintry conditions. Whilst here in the low-lying capital it hasn’t been too bad, the Dublin approaches and indeed the rest of the country has been quite badly affected. Away to the south the Dublin mountains have been picturesquely white for the last week or so.

I’ve missed a couple of morning runs this week, reckoning that a few miles less will damage my running less than a broken ankle, bashed knee or split head would. The icy conditions just aren’t worth it. However this morning (Sunday) there was a new, inviting fall of snow on the ground. I needed to get out there and therefore I hunted out my trail shoes and set off. And an interesting run it turned out to be in the unusual conditions. My iPod refused to work this morning but it was a good opportunity to let the mind drift – first of all to my becalmed Epick Novel. I came up with some good ideas, one or two of which were (oh dear) a bit racy. So onto Chapter Two later.

And underfoot I was having no problems. That is, until I checked my Garmin as it came up to 5 miles in Blackrock Park and I decelerated. Whoa, feet in the air, flat on my arse. There followed a few Bambi moments as, on all fours, I tried to scramble back to my feet before I headed again for home, nose in the air, pretending nothing had happned.

All of which put me in mind of ice skating. Do you remember when they used to show the British championships on Grandstand? Many years ago it was and my memory does play tricks. But it seemed to be a succession of girls tearily sliding across the ice on their backsides. Anyone who remained upright for three minutes was in contention for a medal. Then along came the outrageous John Curry and the slightly less camp Robin Cousins – Olympic champions both, who put British skating firmly on the map.

But it was of course Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean who popularised the sport in Britain. Who can forget, in the early hours of a day in 1984, their ‘perfect 6s’ performance of Ravel’s Bolero in Sarajevo in another Olympic-winning performance? That however proved to be the high-water mark of British skating. The sport declined as quickly as poor Sarajevo did. When next we took notice of that city it was largely rubble as the epicentre of the Balkans conflict. It is by all accounts recovering nicely – more than can be said for British ice-skating.

10.05 miles @ 10.01m/m – that’s better. Though I’m well aware that a sub-2 hour Half requires nearer 9-min miling. Perhaps I’d better get onto the track for a few sessions.

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