I was out for a twilight 10 miler last week – one of those midweek runs that starts fine, gets bad and then finishes well (mainly because of food/tiredness issues).
This is my usual run where you start in suburbia, run out into the countryside to catch a few hills and then turn around and head home. The good/bad/amazing phases of these runs follow a predicable pattern; a mile of feeling like the six-million dollar man, 2 miles of feeling like you’ve put diesel in a petrol car, a full stop for a tactical wee and a breather (as I swap out the batteries) then 2 or 3 miles of a slow recovery and then feeling like the six-billion dollar man as I bounce home on my forefeet and (in my head) shaved hours off my ultra marathon PB.
I just made it back to pavements and street lights as it got dark enough for a motorist to get acquitted for dangerous driving having killed me.
The last few miles are along the old railway line in Blackrock. It’s where all the best athletes do their training (Rob Heffernan, Lizzie Lee, Jan Uzik, Me………..) and where most of the dogs do their shitting.
The railway line is unlit and it was empty and just dark enough for the dog walkers to be at home and the doggers not having made it out yet. I had the place to myself.
Everything was perfect. The air was cool, my systems were all working in harmony (probably looked like a new born giraffe to a passer-by) and all I could see in the twilight were the pipistrelle bats swooping and looping around my head.
I closed my eyes and thought – if this is as good as it gets then this training cycle has been a good one.
The next run was a 20 miler in the pouring rain on Saturday morning. I was alone for that run as well but that was more because most people (and bats) were smart enough to realise that a long run in the heavy rain is only for the stupid.