Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Dark in the Park

Wow! Having launched my fundraising campaign only yesterday I have already achieved 48% of my target! Oh dear! I suspect that is is partly (maybe mostly!) due to the ‘special surprise’ I have promised to reveal if I surpass the total! No clues yet, I am afraid, except to say that I had an almost sleepless night last night, so there was clearly a lot on my mind. I only know that I got some sleep because I was awoken by a nightmare. Might it be related to the terror of having to go through what I have promised? Of course if might!

Anyway, after going to bed at 11:30 pm and getting up at 5:00 am after listening to most of the BBC World Service overnight, here I am determined to go out for a run this morning. I haven’t been able to run for a few days due to illness – not serious, but a very queasy tummy followed by a further three days of a head cold that has messed with my blood sugar levels and having to raise my insulin doses by 50%. It looks like the worst is over though and am now having to reduce the insulin as I woke (from the nightmare!) to my first night hypo for absolutely ages. Such is the life of a Type 1 diabetic!

Right then, it’s nearly two hours after my breakfast injection, so after a bit of stretching amd a few sips of water, I’m off! It’s still dark, maybe just starting with a dim glimmer of light, but I still have to guide my way by the street lamps. This makes it difficult to spot all the little bumps and troughs in the pavement, causing occasional overstretching as the ground is not where you expect it to be, and juddering when it appears too soon – a bit like when you are walking down a flight of steps and miscalculate in your mind’s eye where the last step is. The first little section of the run involves negotiating a couple of busy roads – busy even at this time of the morning. Thankfully, as I approach the main road the lights are still at red so I quickly weave across and head down the steep path into the park.

Here. I am almost immediately impeded by a couple of spaniels who stupidly refuse to step aside as I run directly towards them. ‘Sorry’, says their owner, as though that makes things right, rather than hanging his head in guilt at the lack of control he has over his charges. Well, they do say dogs are like their owners (or vice versa!). Now on the level  with the river on my left I run into the semi-darkness of the large park. Well, I say ‘river’, but this is a tidal estuary and the tide is currently out, so mostly I can see black seaweed atop even blacker mud, speckled on the far bank by a scattering of white, sleeping swans. Needless to say, I do not see the solitary black swan that I know frequents this area!

The tarmac path that runs through here was laid about eight years ago, and by now what was once smooth and unblemished has developed little ridges and tears where the roots of the adjacent trees have begun to expand and push up from below as they reach out to the water of the river, no doubt. Still, it’s a very nice and well-kept place. The many dog walkers are assiduous in clearing up after their yapping companions, so I fear no danger of encountering abandoned, perhaps still moist, dog’s eggs beneath my feet in the half-gloom.

As I turn to move away from the river I can see the sky above the far side of the park, now streaked blue, red and orange as the slumbering Sun begins to breach the broad horizon. I’ve started to perspire now, although curiously the fingers of my left hand are still cold. My breathing is good, despite my recent cold, although my legs are already beginning to tire only a mile in, and I begin to run through the various routes that might curtail my planned excursion. In the end I decide to attempt the full distance and suffer the consequences. After being a runner for 30 years I no longer fear distance, but I do fear injury that may preclude the possibility of running. Ever since my femur broke at mile 23 of the 2004 Stockholm Marathon I have been prone to small soft tissue injuries in the right leg, and as I run now I feel the little twinges that often presage such an injury.

So, I slow my pace and favour the leg. I don’t want to end my training on the day it resumes and this morning is not about times but getting out here and doing whatever I can to get back on track. After all, I only have less than nine weeks to go and need to build time on my feet before I can even contemplate a decent pace. On the return stretch now, I am aware intuitively of my drop in pace and it’s really just a case of getting back in one piece. I won’t be running tomorrow, so that will give my legs an opportunity to repair the little micro-fractures and micro-tears that inevitably occur with every run, especially on unseasoned legs!

Out of the park I have to wait at the lights as the largely unmoving stream of commuter traffic slides glacially down the road. Poor souls, it will take them twice as long to cover the distance I have just covered on foot! The final half mile is spent negotiating crowds of schoolchildren  - how slow they walk these days! – and finally home. I glance at my Garmin and of course I’m disappointed at the time, I usually am. Even after all these years I still like to beat my previous recent record for the route! But at least I did it and, although tired, I am invigorated and pleased after so long sedentary to have a run to record!

Time:             33 mins 46 secs
Distance        3.21 miles
Pace              10:31 per mile
BG before      8.2
BG after         10.8

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