By the time I got home it was dark. But my resolve wasn’t weakened. I had had a week off running and was finally feeling a bit better. The headache was still there but I no longer felt like a lurching zombie and the thought of a run wasn’t as dreadful as it had been for a while.
Now … problem one. I’m staying in the depths of Dorset. The house is a little oasis of warmth and light but there are dark roads, lanes and trails stretching in all other directions. I felt that I should have some company. But how to persuade the others that they really should accompany me on a night run?
Tried a positive tack … Get out in the nice fresh (slightly dark) air? Meh.
Went for the calorie burning approach … Make some space for the Easter eggs tomorrow? Meh.
Go to the pub? Finally got a positive … until I said that we’d be running. However fortified by the thought of some country cider they agreed to accompany me. Hi-viz on, trainers tied, head torches doled and out we set off.
The first part of the run is a mad dash downhill down the main A30 … no pavement, no verges, just a mad rabbit-like dash of ¼ mile to try and get to the pavement at the end before ending up as some sprawled hood ornament on the bonnet of one of the farmers who has had one pint too many of the Thatchers on a bank holiday. It’s amazing what an incentive this can be. Even after a week off running I managed a 5:44 min/mile over that stretch.
Apart from the mad dash we set the pace fairly conservatively as the others felt they’d be more comfortable running at 9 – 10 min/miles. It was nice running with other people even if the puffing and panting and the flashing of the super-bright head torches behind me gave the impression I was about to be abducted by asthmatic X-files type aliens. My Dad was cycling along beside us … rallying us with cries of “Come on! Only a mile to go until the pub!” and “Watch out for the sick!”.
We finally got the pub and it was safe to say that in our bright lycra we stuck out a little bit among the Bank Holiday drinkers in their finery. It also caused a certain amount of confusion when we departed as some of the more drunker revellers tried to work out why 4 people in hi-viz neon had only one bicycle between them. Think they had been expecting some Laurel and Hardy style comedy with all of us trying to ride one bike and people falling off the back and chasing on behind.
A small challenge was set on the way back. The other 2 runners decided that they wanted to take the short route home. I wanted to go back the way we’d come as it was a nice route and we were already in our running gear. We decided to compromise. The other 2 runners would go the short way (half a mile) and I would go back the way we’d come (1 mile and a half) and we’d meet at the old Black horse and go home from there. They decided it would be a race. I pleaded illness and said I wasn’t going to race this close to the marathon. Dad suggested that if they go went around the one-way system which would make it up to three quarters of a mile then we might consider it. I told them under no circumstances was I going to race.
Waited until they got round the corner and I started sprinting …
Managed to keep the pace reasonably even but was a bit peeved when I saw head torches bobbing towards me on the final stretch … and I suspected a little bit of cheating was going on. This was confirmed when the headtorches did a U-turn as soon as they saw me coming and started sprinting towards the old Black Horse … I don’t care what anyone says … sibling rivalry doesn’t ease up when you get into your 30s …
Caught them up and we all had a nice steady trot home fortified by the pint of diet coke we’d had at the pub. I felt fine which was a relief after a week off running. Maybe not the most by-the-book run, but a test of the legs and lungs after a week off with sinusitis.
|What Do You Mean You Can Tell I've Been On a Night Run with a Head Torch?|