Although I love where we live, living out in the sticks really curtails outdoor running once the clocks go back. I’ve moaned on here enough about the lack of paths and street lighting. So our night time running takes us to the nearest town, Dumfries.
On Thursday I suggested, however, trying to run up and down the long road to the castle next door (yes, you read that right – we live just across the field from a castle. This is Scotland; everyone has a castle next door!) I had bought one of those lights you wear on your head and was keen to try it out. It was only a Lidl one, no expense spared, but it has worked well enough for me to tend to the hens each night! So my semi silent coach and I headed to the top of the castle road. Instantly my semi silent coach appeared to have been replaced by vintage Tony Hancock, a comedy actor whose act mostly revolved around him moaning copiously. The light wasn’t bright enough, he couldn’t see the potholes (potholes?), or the edge of the road and the hi-viz vest I’d lent him was too small – he looked silly. Sigh. I tried offering him the light, but no. It wasn’t going to do and I wasn’t prepared to listen to Hancock’s Half Hour for the entire run, so I suggested we drove into town after all.
Which was actually my best idea.
When I ran the Dumfries 10k in September the route goes along the Lockerbie Road past Tesco so I suggested parking in Tesco’s car park and running the opposite way, towards the town centre. You can’t go the other way, it’s not paved or lit. With Murphy dog saddled up we set off for a 3 minute warm up walk. I had altered the intervals on my Garmin from 3:1 to 4:1 (don’t worry, it was a pre-agreed arrangement) and for most of the way I ran ahead with the dog. I could tell Tony Hancock was behind me still by the sound of wheezing and the slap of heavy feet on the path. If the sound got less audible, I knew to slow down. Stealth is not his strong point. He’d certainly never make a hunter.
We’d obviously come on a Dumfries Harrier’s club night because we met many runners, all running the circuit we’d chosen, but in the opposite direction. We got lots of cheery hellos and one or two forced ones once I done my usual shame-you-into-being-pleasant “hiya”. Our route took us from Matalan at the Peel Centre, up along Lockerbie Road to the mini roundabout, turning right, up the hill along the Moffat Road, past Little Italy and turned left onto the Edinburgh Road. We followed the river to Lover’s Walk and turned left, past the station and back onto the Lockerbie Road. It was a good route, mostly of just under 3 miles.
What surprised me the most was that even without my beat synced music I was able to maintain an almost identical pace on every run interval. I always thought pacing was my weak point, but I can’t fault the pacing I’ve been achieving this last few weeks, albeit mostly at a slower pace than I’m used.
Tony Hancock no longer had the breath to moan, thank goodness. He had done very well though and wasn’t falling too far behind despite the run intervals being a minute longer. When we finished he commented that it was a good route, a challenging one – with hills. Erm, no. Those are gentle rises, not hills. I really hope that he is up for some proper hill training later on! To out final insult to his dignity, I made Mr Hancock stretch out, in the car park, outside Matalan before allowing him to get back into the car.
I’m quite enjoying being a PT. I think I have what it takes. Pure evil.