more night running

  • Sunday, January 23, 2011
  • 0
We convene again, eight sons of Kent and one Zimbabwean. we shiver in the dark and the cold. it is mobilise or freeze so we mobilise. the goal, ten miles of cross country running followed by a pint. we run 100 yards down the lane and then turn and literally plunge straight down into the valley. this sets the tone, for the next two hours we are either going up at steep angles or going down, running and slithering in a rough zigzag formation through the sucking mud. We need to be adroit, low branches whip back at our faces and on one sharp descent the rusting hulk of a wheelbarrow looms at us in our lights.  We run on, crossing windswept, rocky fields. We run down a sunken lane and are startled by a large deer.  on one long incline I  drop back, turn my head torch off and savor the absolute blackness and quiet, all I can hear is the wind in the branches like a marching army and my metronomic foot beat. Jerry is our general, he amazes me with his route finding in the dark, he is unerring, alien, instinctive and sure although he is still wearing his ghastly union jack shorts. around mile seven i get hungry, i am consoled by the thought of the steak in my fridge, I will eat it when i get home. this has turned out to be one of the toughest runs I've ever done with it's endless hills, mud and miles of stiles, it ends with a climb up a bitch of a hill and we stagger into the blacksmith arms. i have a cold fosters and we debrief and share our thoughts. I get home at 23h45. my wife has eaten my steak.

helium runner

  • Tuesday, January 11, 2011
  • 0
Sunday. A glacial blue sky and sharply defined edges. a day made for running. i run late and i run west toward the setting sun, the sky in front of me sheets of red and orange behind the trees. i pick up the pace because i know it will make a dramatic photo but before i can i am embraced by the trees. i zigzag downhill and around a pond but by the time i get to open ground the sun has dipped below the horizon and the sky has turned a dirty pink. disappointed i push on aware that it will  soon be dark, the ground beneath my five fingers is soft and my feet are fleet and light, i am the helium runner dancing over roots and mud. the sky quickly turns to inkwash, the trees become  sasquatch statues and the path no more than an idea. i turn for the road and run another two miles, passing the pond on the way home i alarm the ducks floating in the darkness.
7.2 in 55:07

  • Tuesday, January 04, 2011
  • 2
the last time i ran up this hill we were racing a rival club, two tribes at war bravehearting towards the summit with primal grunting and sharp splayed elbows. today we approach the hill with less intensity, it is the clubs annual new year run, a light hearted jape through the woodland and 'burbs. before setting off we gather in a loose circle to invoke the running gods, compare new kit and be briefed by richard. i run with jerry in his neon yellow jacket and union jack shorts, a clothing combination that almost saps my will to live. i tough it out and we make the turn into the boggy woods. someone sidles up to my left and asks for my opinion on  mud, as the resident african i am often asked for my views on any number of the splendid things that define britain, today it is the mud and why the brits seem to love running in it. the answer: because there is no alternative, in this country the running certainties are death, taxes and mud. i wish that juan, the clubs other foreign runner is around to field these questions on occasion but he is, as usual, in bed. another figure sidles up to my right to have a discussion about my vibram five fingers and footstrike, why can i run fast down muddy hills in shoes with no grip? answer: because i have big balls/ it is possible with good technique/ it's all about focus and where you place your feet. besides, it is a blast and it gives people a much needed laugh when you fall over. after this we all run in companionable silence,we meander through the mud choosing the route on a whim. gradually however the pack begins to stretch out and the pace increases noticeably as some yahoo scents home, the pack disintegrates as we hurdle two railway bridges and hurtle up dog poo alley, we are urged on by the yahoo's maniacal grin as he tells us we need to run at least another mile "because richard said we were running six and we've only done five" we finally burst free of the trees and run downhill to the finish. richard is there looking cool and relaxed, he hands me a chocolate toffee and i catch a lift home with jerry