Couch to 5K
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Steven Spielberg would have been so proud of me last night!!

I want you to picture the scene

A man arrives home from work after a long and very exhausting drive, knowing he has promised himself a run that night, he pulls on his running gear - full length tights and long sleeved top because it’s quite cool now –“I’m Going to be out for bit longer, about an hour and a half” he says…. “Be careful it’s getting darker out there” the reply drifts off as he sticks a podcast on.

At 7pm he steps out onto his usual 5 minute warm up – then hits the pavements & catches himself thinking it’s not too bad & still quite light. You see him dropping down onto the towpath – still pretty light & easy to see where he is going.

Next comes the long straight, even the overhanging trees & the tall undergrowth don’t put him off. When he gets under the first of 2 bridges, the canal starts to cut through the wood – not too much difference, he can still see the path.

By the 2nd bridge, the wood gets denser, a lot darker as he looks to the left into the pitch black & cannot see anything other than the shadows. Maybe that is where these panthers are lurking, he remembers hearing something about finding panthers when you are out running.

Then eyes forward focussing on the run – at the 3rd beep that 3km done – “Come on FatLad! 12 more minutes before a walk”… head down, ploughing on as it gets ever darker .… fourth beep that 4k sorted, then the fifth & he is at 5k so time to ease off.

A brief opening in the trees gives some much needed light to retie the shoe lace and start a quick walk – 3 minutes is all he allows. Turning on his heels heading back into the darkness.

5.5k done – and a feint glimmer of light comes from behind him. A quick glance over his shoulder but he can’t see anything….

6k done - something is definitely following him….

6.5k done & Just the vague silhouette of the bridge in front, he pauses and turns to look, clearly a light coming from way back. Under the bridge and carries on through the darkness….

7.5k - The light now getting brighter & stronger, a brilliant blueish white light – getting closer, but in total silence….

8k – what ever this thing is, it’s right behind him now & he cannot get away from it, he sees the long skinny legs of his shadow starting to pound into the tarmac of the towpath – he is reminded of the scene in Close Encounters where the aliens descend the entry ramp – long skinny shadows from the bright lights behind….

8.25k – they’re not going to get me – they’re never going to beat me – “Come on FatLat run faster”….

8.5k – they are right on him, his energy is zapped & it’s too late, It’s all over, the lights were so bright but he realises that it’s pointless putting it off – turns to face them, arms held wide in surrender….

……. 4 frikkin mountain bikers, their helmet torches & handlebar torches all set to full beam, as they trundled past – no wonder he could out run them – but he carried on following them using their lights for the last 0.5k …..

And the morale of this run ….. get yourself your own head torch – it’s getting dark out there!!

Happy Running!

16 Replies

That is more Stephen King there! I was gripped!


You should have been there, a whole lot scarier than any Stephen King novel.... was proper action movie stuff!


I was gripped too...what an epic. Glad the panther didn't have you for tea, and yes get yourself a headtorch before you fall in!!!! Love the tags.....


Was a bit of an epic run, first time in a school night that i had run for a whole hour....... doing the same route with an extra 2.5km on Sunday, so will look out for that panther again!!


I was terrified just reading it - but then I do have to record anything scary on tv and watch it later in daylight!!


luckily I don't have sky, but if I did I know that I would still be firmly planted on the couch watching everything that I have missed during the week.


What a gloriously funny post. BRILLIANT! Still laughing 10 minutes after reading it. I love your posts!


Thanks Beek - I've been a bit hit and miss with the blogging recently, although even more hit and miss with the running lately. Hope yours are still going well ...

Hopefully will get out there again on Sunday morning


Me too, still a bit in limbo after graduating - not sure how to proceed. I'm just going out there and doing as much as I can and will sort out a plan once I am nearer the 5K.


I found that just gradually increasing the duration (rather than aiming for a distance) really worked for me. Have you tried tagging on just 1 minute extra per run ....

over 3 weeks you will have added 9 extra mins from today, by the end of October that will be 15 mins more than today, and by the end of December you could well be looking at running the hour... now that isn't something to aim for.

this has eventually got me to running 40+5+40 - I still allow myself a walking break at the half way mark - but tomorrow I am planning on 80 mins of running.


You always make it seem so sensibly obvious! I will go out in the morning and go as far as possible then add a minute a day on in the future. I now know how to set my phone so it should be straightforward. Thank you for the tip! Good luck with the 80 minutes tomorrow. I wonder how far you'll get?


Oh wow, I would have been so scared of the lights getting ever closer.

I remember once going out alone for a short walk in the dark through a forest beside a loch and getting spooked when I saw lights approaching about 2 feet off the ground. The lights would approach on the path, then go to one side or the other. Repeatedly. Then the low level lights were joined by two lights at head height. Who knew you could get dog collars with LEDs? Not me!


you know it was less scary in the pitch black - especially when you're not expecting to get lit up like that - the wierdest thing was that it took them so long to get past me!.....


Scary stuff! I don't know what you do for a living, but have you ever considered a career as a script writer? I think you'd do well :D

PS - it sounds like a good run too - but perhaps a head torch is a good idea!


thanks Annie - never really thought about it before, just sticking to the usual day job stuck behind a laptop in the office takes up so much of my time.....

but yes - it was a good run, although I was aiming for 10k but I think I outran myself.


Fantastic writing and sounds like a great run. It's a good job you didn't come across the zombie runners. That would of taken the story in a totally different direction. Hehe.

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