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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Night Run with Hedgehogs, Mars Bars and Snail Genocide

In my Not-Really-Following-A-Training-Plan training plan, there was a 9 mile run scheduled for last night. I’ve been getting a bit paranoid about missing runs so I thought I’d get out there and see whether the knee held up. 

I’m sure that any odd twinges I’m getting are completely normal, like a dead leg because I’ve been sitting at my desk with my legs crossed or a sore ankle because I knocked it on the doorframe this morning but I’m getting really paranoid that every little niggle spells D-O-O-M for my marathon.

So I thought bugger it. How am I going to know unless I get out there. Besides I’ve got physio tomorrow and hopefully he can wave his magic wand if I mess it up tonight and make it all better. I have a LOT of faith in my physiotherapist!


Got all ready in my running gear. Strapped my bum bag erm ... I mean running belt on, pulled up my neon pink compression socks and set off. Well, turned the Garmin on and then wandered around outside the house vaguely for 5 minutes until it picked up the satelites.

Started running. Then stopped. Because I spotted this chap. He didn’t even run away, just snuffled at me and carried on sitting on the lawn eating slugs.


And running again. It was a warm evening but even though the sky was clear and the stars were bright it was very dark. It was nice. I had a good audiobook on (preferred to music as I can still hear around the talking for other noises like mad axemen and banshees), I was setting a nice steady pace and the knee was feeling good.

Had a near miss about mile 4. I run through an industrial estate which turns into a country lane and for about ½ a mile after this there aren’t any street lights. This wouldn’t normally be a problem except for at night – like now – or when it was pitch black with no moon – like now. I was running down the hill on the pavement and could vaguely see something odd about belly button height coming towards me. Like a barely seen grey circle bobbing from side to side. I kept watching and running towards it and couldn’t quite work out what it was. It was a bit spooky, but I was more curious than anything.

Realised what it was with about 5 metres to go and leapt off the pavement! It was a cyclist coming up the hill on the pavement with no lights on. The grey circle was his front reflector which must have been picking up some light from the stars. I laughingly called out „Near miss!“ and shocked him – he hadn’t seen me either. We exchanged apologies and carried on.

Running on the new bypass on the lovely wide pavements, I became aware that it sounded as though I was running on gravel. Couldn’t quite work out why so had a closer look and realised that the pavement was absolutely covered with tiny baby snails. I felt really mean, even though the squishing was completely accidental but there was no way of avoiding them as there were so many. Maybe I should just think of it as revenge for the little buggers eating all my lettuces this year.


I wanted to experiment with different fuels so I had a couple of slices of Mars bar wrapped up in foil in my running belt. I get on fine with gels, but I wanted to try something a bit more substantial. I don’t get on with jelly babies. I can run with a pub lunch in my tummy, but I can’t really stop during the marathon for one of those. Although I wish I could.

The Mars bar slices worked fine. I didn’t feel tired at the end of my run and could have carried on a bit longer whereas usually when I’m within sight of home I feel like I need to stop whether it’s a 3 mile run or a 15 mile run. So a win for the Mars bars.

Also a win for the knee. No problems at all. A very slight tightness at one point but as that happened in both knees I think it must be something usual. Very relieved!

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