I am still running.
The distances are getting smaller as the taper begins, but it seems that the citizens of Leicester have heard that I am almost done now and have made a concerted effort to get out and interact with me as I complete my training. Although the mileages are considerably less than a few weeks ago, the comedy per mile ratio seems to be increasing exponentially.
First off last week was an elderly Chinese guy with an unfeasibly heavy looking load of shopping, heading in the same direction as me. I ran past him fairly early in my route, which was a straight run to a point and back. He gave me a gap-toothed smile as I went past and then had the bad grace to be far closer behind me when I turned around than he had any right to be. He still had the same smile, but I think I probably looked a good deal grumpier.
I think he secretly had a moped in the shopping bags. It's the only reasonable explanation, other than me being dog-slow.
Also featuring last week was a lady out running with her dog. If you imagine Margot from The Good Life in Nike trainers and a bodywarmer you'll be about right. The dog in question was a small terrier type affair on a retractable lead, so the situation had trouble written all over it. As we ran towards each other I tried to give them some space (mainly in an effort to avoid having to run with a dog attached to my trouser leg again).
Unfortunately, as we approached each other the dog spotted something of interest on my side of the path and made a beeline for it. The lead at this point was still set at about 2m radius. I was watching the 4-legged boobytrap like a hawk, trying to pick my line to avoid disaster when I heard Margot start to issue commands in her plummy, clipped, middle class voice;
"You're on the wrong side. For goodness sake get on the correct side. You'll trip us both over, you silly boy."
As we continued towards each other I thought to myself that rather than having a conversation with the dog, maybe a shorter lead or some shorter instructions ("heel" for example) might be more expedient. I looked up at her and realised:
She was talking to me.
As we passed, I was laughing uncontrollably. I don't think it helped the situation much, but some things are just too funny to keep a straight face, even when you're knackered.
I suspect that I'll have a few weeks off after 17th April, but then I'll be running again. The laughter is just too much to give up.