Day 133 – Darkness Into Light

Posted: May 24, 2012 in May, Races
Tags: , , ,

For once the title of this post isn’t some glib or esoteric reference to something that happens to be passing through my mind at the time I’m crafting the post, and has only the slightest connection to the content of said  post. It’s just the name of the run I did this morning.

This was a 5km walk/run in aid of Pieta House, a charity who provides treatment for for people who self harm or have ideas of suicide. It was scheduled to kick off at 4am, with the idea that people would start walking in darkness and finish as it was getting bright. The event was mostly a gentle, friendly stroll with the option of running it for those who like the idea of getting out of bed at 2:30 and then going for a run a little bit later.

That isn’t a typo or a misprint by the way. This morning I did indeed get up at 2:30. In the AM. As in, night time. As in, not even a particularly late night, night time. I managed to get a few hours sleep before dragging myself out of bed at this ungodly hour, made myself an enormous pot of coffee, before hopping in the car and heading for Mountmellick. Driving through Portarlington on the way there the few people I did pass were all staggering home from pubs, or Port’s one ‘nite-club’, which was yet another reminder tht this was a stupid time to be getting up for athletic endeavours.

When I got over to Mountmellick and hopped out of the car I was greeted by some very crisp night air. I popped down to collect my rather natty Darkness Into Light t-shirt, and then returned to my car as I tried to figure out the logistics of bag, gear and running while on my own. It didn’t take too long to figure out that there was no logistics involved, it was just wear whatever I was running in and leave everything else in the car. Thankfully it was only another twenty minutes or so til the start time as I really didn’t fancy standing around for too long in racing attire in what was low single digit temperatures.

As this is Ireland of course the twenty minutes became almost an hour. Just as everyone was lining up to go off the announcer said that walkers would go off first, with runners going forty five minutes later. The twenty or so that were running all looked at each other with incredulity and all said, almost as one, “fuck that”. We decided that we’d just start with the walkers and then leg it. It wasn’t a timed race, it wasn’t even a race really, so we were all just going to walk to the gate and then start running. Thankfully someone saw some degree of sense and said runners would start only ten minutes after the walkers (though surely it would have made more sense to start the runners first as we were only going to have to run through the crowd of walkers, on the road, lit only by street lamps). Regardless, they started, and then we started not long afterwards.

I’d hoped to put in some sort of a quick (for me) time, though any sort of time would be a PB as I’d never done a 5k before. I didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts as after roughly ten yards I had to stop top dig a stone out of my shoe. Once I’d dispensed of that I went tearing after everyone else, and spent the next kilometre or so picking my way past all the walkers. It was quite a surreal experience actually, running through a town in the middle of the night while crowds of people are out walking. I enjoyed the experience for roughly another kilometre until a stitch hit me like I was being stabbed between the ribs. I hardly ever get stitches, and it took me a minute or two to figure out why it was happening now. Then it dawned on me. I’d gotten out of bed, drank a pile of coffee, and then drank some more coffe on the way over and at no stage did I drink any water. I had got out of bed and was attempting to run at a quick pace without drinking any water. I’m officially a moron.

Thankfully it was only a 5k I was running, so after berating myself for a stretch I tried to forget about it and just run. I know at this stage I can run a decent distance but I still really struggle with maintaining a decent pace for short distances. I was still thinking about how rubbish and slow I was when I realised I was just about finished, so I managed to forget about that and do what I (almost) always do. Push hard for the finish and look good for the cameras. I’d hoped to finish in under 23 minutes and just about managed it, doing a 22:31. After that I took a few pictures, made a mental note to never run without drinking any water, and headed for home. All before 5am.


  1. bgddyjim says:

    You drank plenty of water, you just happened to filter it through a bunch of ground up coffee beans first. Coffee is hardly a diuretic (as is widely advertised – only 3% moreso than water 84% vs 81%) and does not cause side stitches – at least I’ve never found any research that comes close to linking the two.

    Good job getting out there to run that early for a charity. I can make it to the office that early, but to go out running? That takes some chops.

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