Sunday, 11 September 2016

Lesson Learned

Last winter I spent every weekend, and quite a few weekdays, training for an event that because of a knee injury, I had to withdraw from. It was like a pro cyclist planning his whole season round the Tour de France, and then crashing out on his last training ride.

For a pro cyclist it would be livelihood-threatening. For me, it was merely disappointing; I really wanted to do my first competitive ultra-marathon. And one day, I will manage it - but that day won't be any time in the next few months.

Partly because of the disappointment earlier in the year, partly because it's just damned hard to get enough miles in when you're away from home as much I am to contemplate ultra-events, and partly because - if I'm honest - I seem to have lost the urge to do unusual things (at least in the UK), I've resolved to train less, and compete more. What's the point of training on your own for hours on end?

And so it was that I entered and ran the Gawsworth 10k today, after no more than a few pootles round central London, and one run longer than 10k since I finished my summer cycling. Unbelievably, given that it's the shortest event I've entered since I was at school, I had the old butterflies just before our local MP set us off at the start. Which were justified, as the 45 mins and 58 seconds of half-road, half cross-country slogging, hurt. It's not a fast course, so my time was enough to place me 36th out of 215, and 14th of the over 45s.

Most importantly, however, I loved it. It helped that the weather was perfect - sunny, and a not-too-warm 16c. In the queue for the loo before the start, I ended up talking to a 78 year old, who must have been the oldest runner out, but who, bless him, came in only 27 mins after me. He looked comfortably 10 years younger than his age, and had a real twinkle in his eye - if that's what running and competing does for you, well...

...I need some of that twinkle. Macclesfield Half Marathon online entry form, here I come....

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