my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

Running with a sense of foreboding

Last night I squeezed in a quick half hour run in the diminishing light of a Spring evening. As I began, I felt a deep sense of foreboding, like an inner warning that this wasn’t a good time for going for a run. I’m not sure what it was that gave me that feeling, perhaps the huge graveyard I ran past, perhaps the knowledge that I had no idea when the light would fade completely, or just the knowledge that I was effectively running against the clock, of dusk light and of the expectations of my family for when they expected me home ready for tea!

This was an important run for me tonight. It was effectively my fitness test to see whether or not I should really compete in the 16.5 mile race I’ve entered on Sunday 31st March in Ely. This is a change to my original plan, which had been to run in a local 10k race in Nottingham on Monday 1st April, but that got vetoed by my better half as it clashed with a free weekend of seeing her folks down in Ely, hence the location of my new race.

The reason it was a fitness test is because I’ve been laid low and off from work from Tuesday to Thursday with a virus that made my head feel like it was going to explode any moment. It was what I imagine a severe migraine might feel like, and it was all I could do to lie down and stay deathly still to avoid any head movements. Each time I failed and my head did move, it felt like someone had just attacked my skull violently with a sledgehammer (I don’t imagine how else someone might attack you with a sledgehammer, other than violently mind you!)

I ran for just over half an hour, covering 4.5 miles and a few hills – a feat indeed in Ely, where hills are few and far between.

This morning I felt fine, which was a massive relief and gives me the encouragement and reassurance both myself and my family needed to permit me to do the run on Sunday.

During the run itself, I felt so happy to be outside again and light on my feet. It didn’t feel like an effort at all, which is a sign of how my fitness has improved over the last year or so. The ground by the river seemed firm enough too, meaning I’ll probably run in my Saucony Fiya minimalist running shoes tomorrow.

The run took me along a part of the Great Ouse upstream of where the run is on Sunday, and while it was beautiful to run alongside the gently meandering river what really made my run was above me, rather than below, or by the side of me. The sky was a multitude of pinks and oranges and with Ely Cathedral in the foreground, it was one of those rare times that I wish I’d been a budding photographer with an awesome camera to do justice to the view my eyes beheld.

As it was, I had to snatch glimpses of this view to ensure I didn’t turn a foot on the bumpy ground by the river’s edge. 4.5 miles went quickly and it wasn’t long before I was on the home straight, slightly sad that the run was coming to an end.

I’m sure that isn’t how I’ll be feeling around 11:00am on Sunday morning after running 16.5 miles from Ely to Cambridge. I got back to the in-law’s home and my sense of foreboding had been misplaced. Unless missing a turning and adding approximately half a mile to my run counts as qualifying the sense of foreboding!

I was eager and curious to see what, if any, Strava segments I’d completed during the run in unfamiliar Strava territory and was rather disappointed to see none set up! I therefore created three segments and was delighted to see that I held the course record for all of them! Only two or three people seemed to have ever run this route before, which suggests one of two things: 1). The awesomeness of Strava hasn’t yet found it’s way to Elian people, or 2) People who run in Ely and use Strava don’t want to create segments of their routes, and don’t run the same route very often! Anyway, looking forward to seeing more people in Ely challenge my times and I’m looking forward to setting some more segments for the run tomorrow morning.

My run can be seen on Strava here:

Incidentally, Sunday’s race will be the longest distance I’ve ever run, flying in the face of one of my previous posts, in which I maintain that I like to know I can do the distance before I run the race. The furthest I’ve run so far is 15.5 and I’m sure I’ll have enough in the tank to make it to 16.5.

What I’m really looking forward to is seeing some familiar faces at the finish line, as my Father-in-law and Brother-in-law have kindly said they’ll take me to the start line, and see me at the finish line.

Next blog post: Why jelly babies wrecked my pre-race night of preparation, and a review of the race. For those looking to the future, a forthcoming blog post will discuss the power and influence of blogs and how this seems to have worked out nicely for me!

run easy and light,



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