Whisper it gently, but I do see the first signs of spring this morning - and it's still only February. Snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, tulips, cherry blossom - stuff everywhere. There are a large number of London Marathon wanabees plodding the tarmac today. Get off the roads, lads, and into the woods. You know it makes sense.
When we arrive at Hay Wood, the carpark is soggy from overnight rain, but the sky looks clear as I trot off to the start. No real threat of rain - Wrong! Steady rain begins as I stand in the start box, and I haven't brought my visor to protect the specs. It'll pass - Wrong again. Cope with it.
Hay Wood is a smallish flat patch of woodland, frequented by us Sunday regulars for decades. It has an extensive network of wet ditches, which are always useful as line features. The paths are very muddy, the woods are runnable and the well-planned courses encourage us to run straight.
Which course - Light Green, Short Green, Green, Blue - wot, no Turquoise? I curb my ambition and settle for Green, remembering that on my last visit I used a walking stick. If I don't know what a ditch looks like, I am about to find out. Why do I keep thinking about the Cheltenham Gold Cup?
I follow the red line around most of the course. When I deviate from this plan, I lose time! Local knowledge came in useful between 9 and 10 when I head for an unmapped path to the north, saving ploughing through the green stuff.
I have to remove my fogged-up glasses frequently, trying to clean them on my soggy shirt. This proves to be very good map-memory and simplification training - look at the map, simplify the route, pick out main navigational features, remove glasses and run.
All in all, this technique proves to be successful and I only make one error of more than a minute. This, for me, is good. I find myself well up the list by the time we leave the deteriorating car park field in still pouring rain.
My apologies to the cake stall, which in the grim circumstances, I was not able to visit. I turn the tables on Robert, who beat me last week. Ian, on the Blue course, is back before either of us.
I'm not sure, however, what the difference is between this Green course and the Blue "Middle" course I ran last week.
I get very confused sometimes.