Monday, 28 December 2009

No cure for sprouts.

My body feels polluted. It's like one of those thrillers when the hero is pumped full of drugs: you know, trifle, brandy butter, pudding, lard ganache, sprouts - yuk - Christmas cake, enough chocolate to sink the Titanic and then put every whale within 500 miles into a diabetic coma, and then combs the back alleys and dives of some godforsaken American hell hole in search of an antidote. And yes, I know it's self inflicted, but it kind of goes with the season. And there is no known antidote for sprout poisoning.

But there you go.

One thing made me ridiculously happy this Christmas; Swedish-made  Icebug running shoes with tungsten carbide studs in the soles. On Christmas Eve, London's pavements were plastered with the sort of hard, white ice that would be ace rotated 90 degrees into the vertical plain in combination with axes and crampons. I got as far as the end of the street in my normal running shoes before realising that any more Bambi on ice moments were likely to end in painful injury.

On with the Icebugs and into a whole new world of head-fucked running on ice. There's something bizarre about being able to cruise effortlessly across the sort of slipperiness that would normally have your feet heading in three directions at once and your body splitting painfully at crotch level. It takes a while to get used to and then, when you do, you start aiming for ice patches just because you can.

But perhaps the best bit are the priceless 'how on earth is he doing that' looks on the faces of tarmac-bound pedestrians and the inevitable 'if he can do that then, so can.... argghhhh...' moments that follow.

The things do have their limits, steep downhill gradients on smooth, hard water ice call for a definite cramponesque stamping motion if you're not going to slip a little on each foot plant and flat-footed foot strikes seem to work best, but mostly you just run as normal.

Absolutely brilliant. And nothing to do with sprouts at all. Even sprouts in stealth mode disguised with a gratin topping and some sort of high-cholestrol cream sauce - don't ask...

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