I was slow out of bed today. But my legs felt better from having skipped a mid-week 5-mile run.
Got to The Knapp – a working woodland just by Kilmacolm – about 10am. After messing about with my increasingly unreliable Everytrail app, I flipped it to Ipod and began my run.
As usual, I find the first 15 mins awful. My leg hurt and my brain comes up with reasons to give up “Why are you doing this. You had too much to drink last night. Come back tomorrow. It’s too hot out here. You can’t keep this up. The strain on your body, never mind your heart, is too much”
Then the angel on my shoulder, or devil, depending on your take on things, pokes at me “Well, you’re out of shape wee man. What are you going to do about it? Are you beaten already?”
“Keep going” is the answer. For as long as you can.
At between 10am and 11am on a Saturday, I passed loads of dog walkers, who were mostly brilliant. Yes, there’s some puppy-dodging required, but nothing major.
On lap 4, I felt brilliant. I was bounding. Sprinting up my hills. Actively seeking things to vault over. Actually thinking I might just stay out and do this all day. On lap 7 I knew that lap 4 had been a brief honeymoon and I was experiencing the 7-mile itch. I barely had the energy to dodge any more charging mutts.
Round about 11.30am the woodland exploded with dog walkers and it really started to interrupt my running. One dog, young but big enough, kept jumping up. Playful snapping turned a bit sour when he lunged at my shorts and snapped at my pocket, cutting loose my headphones.
I firmly believe that if you can’t control your dog, it should not be off the leash.
However, there’s something infectious about the type of people who love being in the great outdoors with their (well-trained) dogs. And finding a happy wet Labrador at your side is a fine and simple pleasure.
I reckon the best thing for me is to get on the Knapp earlier, and away by 10am.
That way, I’ll still get the benefit of a few wet noses, but not too many.