Category Archives: Dogs

“It’s 106 miles to Paris, we got a full tank of gas, a Garmin, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses”.

Imagine it’s dark. Like proper dark. Not a sort of half-dark wishy washy sort of dark, but a real deep black sort of dark. Imagine you had a pot of black paint, and then left it in a dark cupboard. In a bag. At night.

That sort of dark.

So imagine it’s that dark and you’re going for a run. What item of clothing or accessory would you feel would be least useful in such a situation? That’s right. A pair of sunglasses. However, as I pounded for 10km along unlit, utterly dark rural French roads tonight I was indeed wearing a pair of underpowered prescription sunglasses. If you haven’t been following the blog so far, and I don’t blame you if you haven’t, yesterday’s post shows how a series of unfortunate occurences led me to be stuck in the world’s 5th largest economy without a pair of glasses for six days.

I’d never run in the dark before. I’d certainly never ran in an enhanced extra-dark where natural darkness was accentuated artificially by beachwear. To offset the fact I was in a world of dark I brought a headtorch. It’s not a great headtorch, and occasionally flickers when it bounces up and down. I figured I better supplement it with a bit of high visibility clothing. All I had was a fluorescent yellow jacket – the type you wear on the side of the road when your car breaks down. It was slightly big, and by the time I’d put it, the flickering head torch, my black cap, sunglasses and shorts on, quite frankly I looked absolutely fucking ridiculous.

Still, run every day, that’s the Janathon promise, so out I went. It was actually a quiet and peaceful run, all things considered. For me at least. I think the woman I passed letting her dog out for a wee may take a while to recover. Old, frail, and partially blinded by my flickering headtorch, I think all she could see was a ghostly fluorescent apparition with shoulders as wide as a truck and two dark pools when the eyes should have been. She certainly went back into her house quicker than she came out.

I’m hoping I achive local legend status and the French equivalent of the X-Files team come out to try to trap me.

I’ll be like a slightly crapper version of the Chupacabra. A mysterious figure that sweeps past in the night, wheezing, puffing and hunting for prey with its adaptive night vision. Be good children of France! Sleep well tonight! For he walks among you!

Until Thursday.

Start Time
Jan 7, 2012 6:38 PM
10.00 km
Avg Speed
5:44 min/km
Max Speed
4:25 min/km
932 kcal
106 m / 168 m
61 m ↑ / 50 m ↓

Dogs vs Crotch

I have only one pair of shorts I feel comfortable running in.

My other, lesser, shorts leave my “naughty area” complaining repeatedly during the run about poor working conditions. My Good Shorts have always been my Good Shorts. I’ve had them for as long as I can remember.

(The things those shorts must’ve seen! Makes the naughty area boggle at the thought.)

Even though my Good Shorts look like they were assembled by slave labour in Indonesia they’ve always been surprisingly robust. They have one minor design flaw, however, and that is the stitching in the…. marital…. area has never been strong.

(At this moment I encourage you all to back-slap me, and congratulate me on having a monster no Indonesian short manufacturer could tame).

Normally the additional ventilation down below isn’t an issue. Careful underwear selection renders any potential court cases unlikely, and I’m always careful to run in a posture akin to that of a man on a Penny Farthing.

However, one thing strikes fear into my heart.


I have a dog, and I consider myself canine friendly. However, in rural France one keeps a dog for one of two reasons:

1) To bark, and frighten away potential burglars.

2) To run out of an open gate and bite any passers by, allowing you to be rude to them after the event and blame the person for antagonising your dear, defenceless hellhound.

I have been bitten more than once by French guard dogs. One notable incident involved a dog running out of a house as I ran past and biting me on the hand. As I desperately fought off the dog and shouted for assistance it’s owner bounded up smiling.

“Your dog ****ing bit me!” I said.

“Carry a stick next time!” the man said.

“Why?” I said.

“If you throw it he’ll run after it, and if he doesn’t you can hit him with it!”.

Being British I simply let the blood pour from my hand and apologised profusely for not thinking of that, and promised I’d carry a stick next time. But it does highlight an ongoing danger for any runner in rural France.

(“So, how does this relate to your Good Shorts?” I hear you cry).

Well, I’ll tell you.

Today was the first run of Janathon. 11km on a hilly course, with the rain falling and my thighs protesting and wishing they were buried in a tin of Xmas Quality Street.

Normally very little happens on my runs. However, today, to my surprise a dog leapt into my path from a house I didn’t consider one of the usual danger spots. This friendly 24 foot, red eyed, slavering little darling looked annoyed that I should choose to propel myself any faster than crawling pace so I stopped. One of the best things about being British in France is the perpetual joy of speaking to animals in my native tongue. This tends to annoy the owners as they realise the cat/dog/tortoise responds as effectively to posture and tone as they do the actual words being spoken.

So, I’m there.


Eyeing the beast.

Talking to it in a strong cockney accent (not sure why I did that, I’m Welsh) and trying to establish some sort of rapport.

Oh no. He wasn’t having any of it. He was a sniffer and a growler. Not a hand sniffer either. Yes, I’m not going to spell it out for you, but like a Hellfire missile closing on an unsuspecting tank he headed RIGHT INTO THE DANGER ZONE. It was then that the Indonesian stitching began to be a concern. I’m not saying another layer of fabric would be the difference between testicular safety and a new career as a body double for the Oscar statue, but it felt like it at the time.

So what happened next? In a moment of clarity, only brought to me by impending groinal maulage I realised I had a mint in my pocket. Like Indiana Jones carefully swapping the bag of sand for the golden statue I distracted the dog, dropped the mint and ran like Scooby Doo. I swear you could hear the conga roll as I picked up speed.

11km later and the first run of Janathon was done. 30 to go.

My groin and I are ready for the challenges ahead.

Start Time
Jan 1, 2012 11:39 AM
11.00 km
Avg Speed
5:54 min/km
Max Speed
4:32 min/km
1030 kcal
102 m / 195 m
152 m ↑ / 162 m ↓