So anyway, my favourite run home along the canal is no longer an option because it dark when I leave work. A few runs along Kirkstall Road and I'm beginning to think maybe I need to find an alternative.
I know, I'll get one of them head torches thats been in so many threads recently. It'll be just like running in daylight! But will old chimp revisit the threads to see which are the good ones? What do you think?
So armed with my Petzl Micro (should have guessed really shouldnt I?) I head for Leeds/Liverpool canal then strap it on. Fantastic! can hardly see a bloody thing! So I twiddle a bit and eventually get a beam of light that will do.....just.
Running along the canal I manage to run at what in polite circles is called "conversation pace". I'm pretty familiar with the surface so I know theres no potholes or anything to worry about. Realise fairly quickly that running along the canal without the benefits of a view is a pretty pointless and decide that I'll probably not bother again.
I got past a marina and went up onto a road that runs parallel to the canal for a mile or so. Its no normal road though. There are locked gates at either end which obviously means no traffic. To be honest, even on a sunny Summer morning it seems a bit spooky. I'm sure people familiar with this bit of the canal in Leeds will know what I mean.
I started to run along the road when I was aware af someone on the canalside which by now was 2-3 yards to my left. I was hoping they were running in the opposite direction because it was bible black and to be honest I didnt like the idea of someone running in the same direction. Unfortunately as I carried on running, I was aware of someone running behind me. I felt unsettled to say the least. As I looked around the shortcomings of the head torch became apparent. All I could see was shadows, so I slowed down, the person behind me slowed down. I stopped, the person behind me stopped.
Okay, so what do I do now? First thing I did was switch off the torch. I couldnt see who behind me, the best thing to do was to make sure they couldnt see me. I then went into the bushes that separated the road from the canal and waited. I was aware there was someone or something there then there was a sudden crash through undergrowth but fortunately whatever that was was on the other side of the canal. Now I'm a big guy and can look after myself but I was terrified by now because I knew that what was ever behind me was on my side of the canal.
What to do? After a couple of minutes of waiting I decided to make a run for it. I started slowly, nothing. Speeded up a bit and there they were again, the footsteps. By now I was beside myself and just ran as fast as I could. After all there was slim possibility that I could outrun whoever it was but the footsteps just kept getting faster and faster which was when it hit me. What I'd thought were footsteps behind me was my bloody bumbag bouncing up and down!!!
I felt ridiculous and terrified at the same time.I laughed in what could only be described in a manic manner and ran home "with some effort". It took at least 3 guinnesses before I had the nerve to tell Mrs Chimp. She thought it was hilarious as did everyone else I told. People can be so cruel!
Of course you as fellow runners will be more understanding..........