I’m a city girl really, pounding pavements and the odd meander into the local ‘country parks’ is multi terrain enough for me. I felt brave this week as the running club forced my feet into the local green belt as we ventured across a nearby field and I couldn’t believe how hard running across a recently ploughed patch of soil could be. Respect to all trail runners! Worse however was to discover the bramble hedgerow had sneakily spread itself across the ground acting like trip wire and it was almost me that unceremoniously went ‘arse over tit’ as we like to say in Nottingham into a nettle patch. I made a ladylike retrieval of the stumble (you can run your way out of one) only to be whipped across the back of the leg by another bramble creating an impressive welt which stung like hell and bled down towards my socks ! Dried blood, nettle rash and dirty calves, I returned looking so hard core, the marines would have signed me up on sight.
Once you’re off that treadmill, a runners hazards are many, that was just the vegetation drawing blood. What about the dangers of UK wildlife? I’ve blogged before about my wariness of dogs…keep going, never look them in the eye! and what about poor Taupo, the runners friend, who I clashed with a couple of weeks ago, we never did compare bruises. At a race last year a dog broke free of its family to run with dad in the event. Ever enthusiastic as dogs can be, he joined in by zig zagging across the path in front of me and Ellie, it was beyond frustrating when we were for once chasing a time. Thank god the ‘dad’ dropped out to call his family to confirm the dog was with him.
Cats are sneaky too, they can watch you approach for a while and feign nonchalant disinterest. When they have you fooled, then they’ll shoot across your path like a furry streak of lightening. You have to hope they’re not black cats……that could risk your running form for a season if you’re superstitious.
Wildfowl are my least favourite, the swans who own the tow paths, the geese who own the riverbank. The pecking is nothing compared to the poop avoidance. In my final preparation for next weeks half marathon, I was training 10 miles at my proposed race pace ( 8.5 minute miles for me ) This took me to Nottingham Embankment where next weeks race starts and finishes. The river path that will become the last 1.5 miles was totally covered in goose droppings. Actually droppings sound small and neat. These are huge sloppy great piles of shit that it’s hard to believe birds have dropped. I truely hope the council has a jet wash planned before we run. Now I know I’m a bit precious about my running shoes, but I just can’t run straight through all that. I should be filmed while running because I bet when I hit that stretch I suddenly look like a Latin dancer. Forget my regular running form, I’m avoiding that poop by doing an Argentine tango! It will be an epic end to the race if they haven’t cleaned it up a bit, especially as it’s where most of the spectators wait.
In other wildlife traumas runners will all know that flying insects only fly on two levels, eye level and mouth level. I can’t bear the ‘spitters’ who run. It’s usually blokes who ‘hawk’ something up and out during a race and think nothing of who might be right behind them. If that hit my running shoes I’d be arrested for ‘run rage’. But even the most ladylike of us have had to spit a fly out that whizzes straight into your mouth and tickles you tonsils without stopping at your teeth or without ever ‘near missing’ and bouncing off your lips, no they always go all the way in at top speed.
Same with your eyes, its hard to run and blink out a fly or keep going while you try to pull the top eyelid over the bottom one which your parents always convinced you is the ultimate way to eradicate a foreign object. On a recent run where Ellie had a fly incident, which she successfully removed just by slowing the pace a little, we were surprised when I caught one too, but just short of my own front door. I blinked and battled as my eyes ran and I couldn’t see. No point stopping, almost home. Ellie had a quick look as we opened the door and I was worried by her grossed out, trying not to look grossed out face and her calming words of “you might want to whizz straight up and wash your eye” I was upstairs to my ‘super mirror’ in a blink. You know the ones, the mirror that’s next to the normal mirror but the one that has scary magnifying powers that ‘enhance’ your pores and wrinkles to level you wish you hadn’t bothered looking. That gave me a very fine view indeed of the small caterpillar wriggling on my eyeball. The ones I think that hang by fine threads from trees waiting to be migrated by something …… not my eyeball. It was still wriggling on the tissue when I took it out!
Seriously, all creatures great and small need to stay out my way when running. What do the Kenyan elites have to put up with, Wildebeest?eeeeeewwwwww.
Categories: Ladies of a Certain Age Running (LCA)