OK, so this is what happened. I skipped the club run to go on my own longer route, the one that flirted with quieter, unlit roads. I’m feeling quite strong at the moment and keen to carry this momentum on so went with the longer route and with lights packed I headed off. The first section of about 7km runs alongside a busy A road. There is a wide, quiet pavement alongside which is really nice to run down and as this part is well lit and largely downhill it is a pleasant, confidence building start. The path was covered with leaves and I was a little concerned about my footing, particularly when I clipped a fallen branch and stumbled slightly around the 6k mark. A little further on I was closing in on the section that would be unpaved and unlit and began to think about how I would tackle that when BANG! I slammed my head into a low hanging branch that turned out to be quite substantial. I paused to assess the damage which amounted to a lump on my forehead and a cut cheek but strangely not much blood. I had enough wits about me to eventually pause my Garmin and then consider what I should do next. I was pretty much at the furthest point from home having run virtually in a straight line so heading straight back wasn’t an obviously easy option. What were the other choices; I live near a hospital, did I need A&E? Nothing was hurting that much and there wasn’t much blood so I figured that would be an overreaction. I walked a few paces, no problem. I ran a few paces, no problem. If I continued for the next few kilometres I wouldn’t be getting any further from my house and there would be several opportunities to turn home should I need to. Restarting the Garmin I headed towards the next section which would take me through the unlit/unpaved area and while this section turned out to be fine it really was an unnecessary risk so I was glad it was only for a couple of hundred metres. Following this was a kilometre section alongside another busy A road but this time with a wide grass verge. I’ve run this area before in summer and it is quite pleasant but this evening, given the earlier events, it was quite stressful as I was constantly trying to look up and down at the same time. By the time I got back onto nice, clear suburban pavements I was about 9k in and the first of several opportunities to turn towards home appeared so I quickly assessed how I felt. Head felt fine, concentration was good and my legs felt they had the juice to finish the run so I continued on. Back on the clear pavements the run was much more enjoyable and I was able to see it through to the end. The biggest problem with where I live is that it is at a high point in the area and therefore most runs always finish uphill and this route in particular spent the last 3-4k trudging upwards and at points this reduced me to walking.
Lessons learnt? No matter how good the route is and how good the street lighting is it’s just too stressful after dark when there is so much going on underfoot (and at head height). I’ll stick to my usual suburban routes. Positives? Distance was up a good chunk, pace was good throughout (apart from that mid-section) and recovery was well progressed by the following lunchtime. I’ve just got to go to work with a battered face now. Apologies for the photo.
Distance covered 18.5km
I’ve decided to drop the Wednesday yoga for good now. Too many evenings out of the house and I think I need a day of complete rest each week.
I’ll decide on Thursday evening about a run, I’m thinking some hill work with my son might be in order but with England on the telly I might just stay in and watch that. I’m going to keep Friday clear this week and then it will be back to my home parkrun on Saturday where it will be interesting to see if there is any positive impact from this training.