👻Night Trail running 👻

Tonight, after far too long without any actual running (almost exactly a month) I ran!! I pulled my big girl pants up and actually ran.

I did have a comfort blanket with me in the form of Annette (the bitch) but even so, I stepped right outside of my comfort bubble and ran a trail run, yep, that’s right … She who can be heard shouting oh so loudly “we are called Redway Runners for a reason” when asked to run across a 5 foot stretch of grass, actually voluntarily ran across grass, and gravel paths, and through woods. Not only that, it was dark, and raining, and fucking cold. So fucking cold in fact, that waiting at the start Annette and I actually huddled around the front wheel of the coffee van because the engine was running and some heat was escaping out of the wheel arch.

If I’m honest, I went into this run with a considerable amount of trepidation, I’m not great in the dark, especially near trees, my imagination tends to run away with me and I end up scaring the shit out of myself. Annette decided to drop down from her planned 12k and do the smaller 6k distance with me, fantastic!! Now I can’t fucking walk and I’m actually going to have to put some effort in, AND I can’t let her know that I’m a wimp in trees in the dark because she thinks I’m bonkers enough, so I’m just going to have to suck it up.

A couple of other redways were chatting about the route, one of them said “ok, along the road, turn right, up the hilly bit, over the bridge, more hilly bits, a little downhill then a small hilly bit, round the lake then up the hill home” in my head I’m thinking that’s a fuck load of hilly bits !! But as I didn’t know them I just said “sounds great” or something like that, at least, I hope my brain translated my thoughts into polite conversation before it left my mouth.

We set off, it’s pretty much pitch black, and within about 100 yards Annette and I are almost last, (I’m educating her on back of the pack running, and endurance running) but secretly I’m hoping I can get this shit finished in less than an hour.

I had forgotten how fast she is, but it only took a couple of super whiney “my pace not yours” comments for her to get the hint and slow down! By the time we reached the first corner (probably 800 meters in) the person in front was quite a way ahead, and only a couple of people were behind us. Annette and I just chatted, I have no clue what about but it was an easy conversation so we probably talked bollocks, that’s one good thing about her, she can talk some absolute crap for 45 minutes without it being boring or repetitive!

I managed to get half way up the first hill before I give up and ask to walk! Surprisingly Annette said yes, so I walked up the rest of the hill, silently pissed off with myself that I had had to walk already. It felt like we were running really fast, like 5k Pb fast, but a quick sneaky peak at my watch soon brought me down to earth with a bump, we were actually running depressingly slowly.

All the statues and features at Stowe were lit up, they were stunning, especially the church type building up the hill, the lights were on and they showed off the internal architecture beautifully, the route was well sign posted and hazards were highlighted with glow sticks, but actually the natural beauty of the place was not spoilt at all by any of this and despite the fact that my lungs were hanging onto my throat for grim death and I was “blowing out my arse” I was beginning to feel comfortable and was (dare I say it) beginning to enjoy it.

I’m pretty sure I managed to get to at least 2 miles before I started moaning, (don’t listen to Annette she exaggerates!) And every time I asked her if we were nearly there she said “yes, nearly” biggest load of bullshit going that was, we weren’t nearly there at all, and there was another hill to climb too. I walked a total of 7 times I think, which is pretty shit, and I was pretty pissed off with myself for walking so often, but it was hard work, listening to Annette waffling, while running in the cold and dark and wet, up a hill on uneven ground.

We got to mile 3 and we were overtaken by the person who was going to finish first in the 12k run, the bastard wasn’t even out of breath, I did consider tripping him up but that (whilst it would have been well deserved AND pretty fucking funny) wouldn’t have been very sporting, so I just said “well done” through gritted teeth as he sailed by.

As we got to were we left the mud and rejoined the “road” a group of marshals said “well done, you’re nearly at the finish” and sure enough less than 50yards away I saw a little sign that said finish, with an arrow pointing to it. It never occurred to me (in my completely exhausted state) that we had run under a fuck off big blue inflatable finish line at the start, or that there was no sign of people, or medals, or the coffee truck, all I saw was a sign that said “finish” with an arrow.

I was beyond gutted that this teeny little sign wasn’t actually the finish

We carried on running and I carried on moaning (that the finish wasn’t the fucking finish) around a corner and there it was, fucking miles away, but it was there, i looked at my watch, 4 minutes, if I can run that in 4 minutes I’ll get in under the hour.

My watch was quite a bit out, because I did that final bit in about 15 seconds apparently!!!

The lady at the finish asked if we had enjoyed it, and I must confess, I think I actually did. Not the running bit obviously, but time to just talk bollocks with a friend, time to moan about my particularly twatty day at work, a chance to try something new in a safe, Non-pressured environment.

As is typical of me, I wasn’t happy with my run, it was too slow (can’t believe how slow I have got and how far away my sub 40 parkrun is) but I always look for positives and today’s positives are

The most consistently paced running I have done in months (all down to Annette, I’m sure)

I got round in under an hour, and I ran almost all of it

Biggest positive of all, I enjoyed myself. I might even be encouraged to do it again (but if I do, I’m wearing two layers, a hat and some gloves)