And breathe. It has been quite a weekend.
An almost emotional run, an exhausting all-nighter in Oxford, and a day around London’s front cover with some good friends.
I’ve done more than I was initially anticipating in two days, but here I am relaxing at the end of it, and overall I have more reasons to smile than moan. It’s been positive.
The run then. Russell Square Gardens was wet, windy, and crowded with people not looking where they were going. Aside from having no choice but to absolutely clatter this daydreaming stroller on a narrow turn, someone managed to throw their pigeon seeds at me. Perhaps I need a new place to run…
I don’t know what I would have done had I been unable to complete the 50 minutes I set out to achieve. The main thing is I did it, and by the end felt great. One key aspect I noticed, and wondered why I hadn’t realised earlier, was the importance of lapping both clockwise and anti-clockwise. I suspect one of the key reasons behind my injury was the RSI induced from constantly making banked left turns, putting immense pressure on one side. Not to mention the fact that I use my left side of my body much more than the right, it’s no wonder my ankle took on huge stress. Having realised this in good time, I immediately felt much better running in the opposite direction, where it was then, aided by my insoles, I completed my first long run in two weeks, and went on to have probably the best moment of 2017 so far.
I had initially ran 40 minutes without music to be in tune with the sensations going through my ankle. Once feeling confident enough that it would go the full distance, I tapped into another tune, and it was then that Love Machine began surging through my ears, my favourite song of all time, and true happiness hit me.
It was almost emotional. My injury had gone.
I ran that last lap with goosebumps and a wide grin, I felt as if everything was back to normal again, and that the ordeal was just about over. I was jubilant, and I knew that I had overcome a huge hurdle in training for these marathons.
Of course, there is an aching pain following my first run in a while, but that is to be expected. I’ve been able to rest it for at least one day, and the midweek runs coming up should put less use into it until the long run next weekend.
Now I would have easily spent the rest of the weekend resting, had it not already been fully booked by a tight socialising schedule.
I had my coach ticket ready for a next day return as I was going up to Oxford to celebrate my friend Matthew’s birthday. Aside from a dead Kebab Kid meal (bossman only supplying five of the promised six chicken strips) and an initial feeling of being an outcast amongst lots of unknown people in Jamal’s house, Jamal whom I had only just met, I eventually began to enjoy myself.
It was only my second trip to Oxford in the academic year, the last one being in October, but I was once again reminded of the alternative university experience that comes from Oxford, and I can imagine anywhere outside of London.
I may have been an outsider, but absolutely everyone was so easy-going, and upon being introduced, seemed genuinely happy to talk to me about how I knew Matthew, what I was studying etc. Once again, it was a breath of fresh air, knowing that outside of this intense city, there are some really welcoming people who make great company.
Both students studying Japanese and Japanese students had such a genuine feel to them. The students on Japanese courses like myself, spoke of such familiar aspects which I quickly related to, and understood the joys and terrors of the language in a way I haven’t laughed about in a while. The Japanese students themselves were incredibly chilled, and always up for a general laugh. I sat there with them explaining the differences between the ‘R’ and ‘L’ sounds, topics which always quickly turn amusing.
It’s another world, but is it one I would’ve been better off in? I still maintain my choice to go to SOAS was the best one. I get far too intense about work to make good company, so perhaps this concentrated environment actually suits me best. Visiting Oxford once in a while though is a great way to disconnect from work.
I would conclude that the night was overall an enjoyable one, but with time, my energy levels dropped and so did my mood. I knew from the very moment I saw one of the Japanese students setting up Super Smash Bros. on the Wii U at 2am that I wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
My initial plan was to return early so that I could get enough rest to meet my friends in Piccadilly tomorrow. However before I knew it, I was sitting there at 4am in Oxford with a GameCube controller in my hand trying to work out how to control Yoshi.
By the time everyone had left, I was a walking shell of my former self. I slept on the coach home, and once I arrived in my flat, ditched the clothes and went straight to sleep.
11am at Victoria was the plan. I managed to resurrect myself for 10:30am. One splash in the shower and a quick jump into the wardrobe later, my sleep deprived self stumbled back to Victoria station, late by a miraculously small margin.
We went on to have a wonderful day. I’ve missed Jason, he was as funny as ever, and we had such a laugh. Frank as well, I could empathise with him- he’s at the most stressful part of the year, but for the three of us, it shan’t last forever. Rather, the work we persist with now will pay off handsomely when exams do eventually dawn. Kana and her mother both seemed to enjoy themselves, and yesterday was a day where many nice memories were made. Each year is different when they visit though- last year I was still a Sixth Former, and next year Jason will have graduated from Plymouth University, and Frank will be beginning his undergraduate years. The characters from CGSB’s golden era are almost all gone.
As tiring as it may have been, positive days like this one really do refresh your outlook on what’s ahead. I spent a lovely time with friends who I value very much, and it is these occasions which remind me that being able to meet friends again properly will become a reality once our academic endeavours are resolved.
Just one more week, and I shall be back home in Medway for a good break. All I have to do is keep composed, take it step by step, and I will have completed my five week plan, and head into Reading Week satisfied that I am on the right tracks.