Settling ourselves at a leisurely chatting pace, we mused on a variety of topics as we ran the first two miles of our route: how far away the marathon is now, how mad we must have been to sign up for it, how much petrol costs these days, how to avoid chocolate and cheese... you know, normal topics of conversation.
Passing an accident at the traffic lights, we commented briefly on how awful it looked, and continued past. When not a mile later, we passed yet another traffic accident at the next set of lights.
'That's odd' I speculated, 'Two very similar traffic accidents so close together.'
Paula just looked at me, then nudged my arm sharply. I looked at her quizzically.
'You were swinging your arms across your body.' she answered. 'I was correcting your form.'
I immediately adjusted my arms. However, I was still stewing over the traffic accidents; I just couldn't shake this strange feeling that it had something to do with...
I had chanced a look in Paula's direction as I asked the question, and I could see from the look on her face that I wasn't the only one to have thought this.
The look she carried with her when she answered me, was loaded with such weightiness and solemnity, I wondered how she had the power to continue running.
'It has to be.' she stated, 'Two traffic accidents in the space of less than a mile... I don't see how it couldn't be the squirrels.'
She's right of course. I don't know how they did it, but I know it was them; who else could it have been?
We continued on our run by putting the squirrels out of our minds; we had to as, with a little under 10 miles still left to run, we'd never have completed it if we'd carried the weight of our new-found knowledge.
Thankfully, there were many exciting happenings along our route to help us forget about the war waged on Manchester by the squirrels.
At mile 5, we came across the most excited and energetic workmen I have ever met; their elation at seeing two women running, chased us up the road: 'Go on Girls!' they cheered, 'Keep it up! Don't stop! Run girls, run! You're looking great!' Pulling pom poms from behind their backs, they broke into a full chant and dance routine ending with a Pyramid stunt: 'Paula and Maggie are number one; We know they can run, run, run! Go Maggie, Go Paula... Run! Run! Run!' Amazing!
At mile 10, we passed a runner with a camelbak, compression socks, and a face full of seriousness, putting us to shame; Just after that we passed a friend from running club; at 10.5 miles our good friend Charlotte gave us a tumultuous toot on her car horn - provoking an over-enthusiastic response from us! - And at 11 miles, a car, completely at random, gave us another encouraging hoot.
So the end of our run left us feeling refreshed, revitalised and re-energised. But more so, we had experienced the true spirit of humans; the camaraderie and compulsion to stick together and encourage each other that makes us great...
Squirrels: You don't stand a chance!
Distance: 12 miles
Weather: cloudy and mild
See my run here.
Days 1-7 Janathon: 34.2 miles (Woop Woop!!)