The first couple of miles were along country roads without pavement which, as usual, bordered on an extreme sport. White vans and hot hatches competed to see who could get closest to the idiot jogger without actually accruing points or a prison sentence. You will be pleased to know that this time White Van Man took the laurels with a masterful display of speed and proximity.
Once I had run the gauntlet of the traffic I skittered down to the towpath to the canal and set off southwards.
The transition from traffic-ridden country roads to empty towpath was startling. The air was almost completely still and the only sounds were my feet hitting the ground, birds singing and the occasional splash of something unidentified making itself scarce before I got a view of whatever it was.
The canal was millpond flat, reflecting perfectly the azure blue sky with impossibly beautiful white clouds hanging weightlessly. On some sections, where the towpath ran close to the water, it was like running on the sky itself.
As I ran my mind wandered to various subjects and a number of truths struck me
- The beauty of a house's location will be directly proportional to the amount of junk in the garden
- Swans are not particularly competitive. I challenged a number of them to a race to the next tree/bridge/bend . I won every single time.
- Ditto narrowboat drivers (are they called drivers?)
- I, however, would seem to be way too competitive (see above)
- The size of the passing dog is inversely proportional to the likelihood of it attacking you.
- The beauty of the potential photograph is directly proportional to the distance you are away from your camera.
- I will never use Lucozade energy gels again.
The last couple of miles were really tough, with Team Hot Hatch making sterling efforts to even the score. When I finally stopped my legs felt as heavy as lead. I was not a well boy.
And come the big day I will have another 10 miles to run. Yikes!
But all my suffering (oh, the humanity!) was put into context when I found out about the events that had occured whilst I was out. I wished I could have done more, wished I could have said the right things to the people affected, wished I could have made more of a difference.
I know we all run our own races, but on some parts of the course it's so much easier to be running in a team.