To get the negative stuff out the way in the first line, I can't do either of the two races I was signed up for this month and I'm gutted. A miscommunication with my friend about transport for one and a trip to see my brother on the weekend of the other has left me at a bit of a loose end.

But, onwards and upwards - I've been doing a lot of good running over the last couple of weeks. At this time of year, running after work means running in the dark; luckily, there are a lot of small country roads around where I live, so I can often find roads where cars are pretty uncommon. I'm starting to enjoy running in the dark a lot more now (not that I ever disliked it) - I think this is maybe because I've had so many good times involving some aspect of wandering around in the dark, but that's a more philosophical discussion best reserved for the inside of my head at around mile 10.

Instead of racing yesterday, I plotted out and ran a course of about 28km around the local area. Any kind of run around home is going to include a fair number of hills and this one was no different - apparently it included two category 5s and a category 4 - but I had a really good run of it. I think it took me just shy of three hours, which was pretty much what I was aiming for and apart from one climb towards the end that absolutely destroyed me, I managed to keep a pretty even 12km/h pace. Ooh, I've also found out how far I can run without needing to tape up my nipples too. Well, I've got a pretty good idea, at least - it's definitely less than 28km.

Overall, though, I feel like I'm getting stronger and better each time out. I've started paying a bit more attention to my diet (but not going crazy) and I feel like I've got more energy for it, but we'll see how that works out. I think I'm also getting a better handle on fuelling around and during longer runs, which is nice if only in that it seems to be offsetting any major toilet issues afterwards.

Right, next weekend I'll be running around Bristol (instead of racing), so I'll be trying to persuade my brother that we might be able to go for a 10+ miler...

- Ben

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