Keeping fit often feels like a losing battle, especially during Christmas time.
Each step up Lordswood Road's forty-five degree incline made me pay dearly in oxygen for every slice of dripping on toast I'd eaten, along with everything else, during the previous three days. It was a grey Monday afternoon and I had been out running up Hill Lane towards the Sports Centre in Southampton. Other than three kids having a kick about on the grass, and a thin scattering of obligatory dog walkers, it was pretty much empty. When I finally wheezed my way up to Lordswood Road's summit I was forced into realising that I wasn't as fit as I liked to believe.
It seemed like only yesterday when I was winning the Burridge cross country runs; but when I cast my mind back, yesterday was actually a balmy May evening in 2005, when I was forced into stopping in on the Humble Plumb, in Bitterne, and drink heartily from the cold water tap of the gents, during a two hour run, in preparation for the Siberian Marathon. Back then I could beat Kev Willsher, nowadays I'm getting fed up of seeing his back gradually disappear into the horizon.
Theoretically, there will be ample time for all players to keep (or get) fit, and avoid any nasty shock to the nervous system when we play again. No doubt Kev has been pounding the roads, increasing his lung capacity further, which considering his fondness for the smokes is a real two fingers up to the National Health Service. One player to benefit from the weather enforced break is Kristian Hewitt, who's not been able to play since October, after pulling up in training with a dodgy hamstring. As luck would have it, Burridge haven't played since November 6, meaning that Hewitt has only missed a single game.
Hewitt returned to training on the Thursday before Christmas, leaving the training field pretty content with his night's work. Stopping alongside Ryan Hurst, who was playing against Hewitt in a six-a-side game of young versus old, Hewitt's older team had run out 10-6 winners, and Hewitt had smashed in most of the goals. He acknowledged Hurst with a quick glance and said, “Don't worry, on days like this I'm unplayable.” He may have been teasing, but there was truth to what he said.
Thirty-nine minutes and seven seconds of discomfort was brought to an end when I ran within two hundred yards of my flat. I saw a pair of white canvass baseball boots, their laces tied together, that had been slung over a telephone wire that passed over the street, which if what I've heard is led to be believed, is a sign that either drug dealers are in town with a fresh supply, or they're marking their territory. As I regained my breath and walked home, I wondered if they had anything suitable for me. The one that's popular with cyclists, Ephedrine, sprang to mind.
Click here to see how each Burridge player did in the 2010 review.