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In the dark

Friday, 14 June 2013

Golf was on the agenda again for today, so I rose early to squeeze in my easy 5km, and headed out soon after 5am.  Only having been out of bed for 30 minutes, I really hadn’t loosened up and, as expected, it was a very slow first few kilometres.  Gone are the days when, during my working life, my routine involved rising at 5am and hitting the road for a (frequently quick) 10-12km at 5:30am.  Age certainly slows you down and I rarely feel loose until I have run 5km, or up a significant hill, these days.

Running at night is not a problem at New York Road Runners
New Year's Midnight Run
Anyway, it was a routine 5km through the very dark streets and I didn’t press the pace.  When living in the northern hemisphere, it seemed I never saw daylight during my morning runs for three or four months every year.  I never carried a light, but did wear a reflective vest and developed the habit on the darkest streets of running down the middle of the road where the surface was most reliable, ready to move to the left or right, depending on the direction of any approaching traffic.  This generally worked well enough in the ambient light, although I did have the occasional surprise.

One morning, running along a hedged English country lane I was nearly hit head-on by a van travelling at high speed with no lights on.  I suspect criminality was involved.  On another occasion, in the US, I stumbled on  thieves breaking a car window with a hammer.  I yelled very loudly and then took off at high speed down a side street.  My worst experience, however, occurred while running for a short distance on a sealed footpath alongside a main road in England unaware that, since the last time I ran the route, the Council had installed some concrete bollards across the path at a farm entrance.  I smashed my knee at tempo running pace into one of the bollards and went down like I had been shot.  The pain was excruciating and I spent several minutes lying on the damp pavement in the pitch darkness trying to work out what had happened before limping home.

There were no such incidents this morning.  I noticed that my right Achilles tendon hasn’t been quite as stiff and sore this week, which is a good sign, but my right knee still has stiffness from the marathon and I sense fatigue still lurks deep in the muscles.