I thought the weather looked positive this morning, so I was really looking forward to completing Week 7 Run 3. I'd managed it with the water fairies and pixies a couple of days ago, and the blue sky above heralded the promise of a great run.
The warm up exercises on the Runner's World website promised that I would "be able to go almost two and a half minutes longer before I tired out". Excellent, I thought as I flexed my knees toward my chest swinging my arms around with gay abandon. Fortunately there was no-one in the house to witness my leg flexor stretch which required me to stand on one leg and shoot the other out at an angle of about 80 degrees (who are they kidding). This didn't seem to take into account my vestibular problems, which mean I am dizzy and wobbly on terra firma at the best of times, but take one leg away and stick it out in front of me, and just watch me topple and fall.
Having picked myself up, I decided that the next stretches would be done while holding onto the bannister at the bottom of the stairs, so that while dizziness might attempt to destabilise me, I would remain upright.
I chose my alternative route today, as it had been dry here yesterday (as far as I can remember), the grassy paths would have dried out nicely, and it would be good to go down past the duckpond and then see the golfers, rather than visit my troll and wood pixies. Setting off, with Laura in the sunshine was fine and we were soon into Stockwood Park admiring the deserted stretch of grass ahead of. My walk took me across the relatively short grass, and I realised the place was really empty, but that the grass was really wet. My socks started soaking up the wet as I broke into my jog. It was then that I wondered if everyone else knew something that I didn't. Although it was later in the morning, there was not one dog walker in sight, and even the ducks had disappeared. Could this be an omen?
A few more minutes of running established that it was, as I slipped and slid down the bank rather closer to the pond than I would like to have been. My beautiful runners were now no longer pink, and my rear end was matching. If the dogs, their walkers and the ducks had known about it, why had no one told me. At least there was no one around to see me disgraced, bottom down in the mud, so I quickly got myself back up again (for the second time this morning), and carried on on my way, hoping that the rest of my route would be relatively dry.
5 minutes further along, by the golf course, it became apparent that the reason no one had come this way was that there was even more mud for much of the pathway. I'd run too far to turn back, but unfortunately for me mud is about as friendly to my vertigo as standing on one leg. My duff ear tells my brain that the floor is moving uncontrollably, and I wibbled and wobbled my way through the mud, until eventually I found an alternative route along a ridge.
If the trolls and the pixie hadn't managed to put me off on previous runs, the mud was certainly doing it's best. I was now nearly half way round the circular route - it wasn't worth retreating, and besides I would only have to go back through the mud. Laura had no idea what I was going through, and continued as usual to instruct to keep going. So, with the world beginning to spin around me, I did my best to continue (pretty slowly). So much for Runner's World's empty promise.
I have never previously appreciated the hill I have to climb, but today this was a bonus, as it would mean drier land ahead. After a brief rest on hands and knees (waiting for the spinning to slow down) I ascended the hill, and then somehow managed to complete the rest of my run, covered in mud and feeling sorry for myself.
This was a tough one, a muddy one, a lie down when you get home one, but at least I completed it.