4am – that time already…? Scoff a quick breakfast and out the door. Today’s race is my first ten miler this season. I’ve not felt well for the past ten days but I’ve been improving leaps and bounds this year, and I have high hopes for this morning. My PB over 10 miles is 27.37 and I’ve set a target of 24.30 for today. I’ve been visualising this one for days.
I arrive at race HQ and there is patchy fog splattered over the course. Sign on, get my number and prepare with a thorough warm up. My guts are gurgling, partly nerves and partly the tail end of my illness.
Let’s go racing…
The air is still and damp, the sun hasn’t burned the fog away yet. I’m off at 6.19 and after a steady climb up to the railway turn I start to apply the power. I feel like I’m working hard but at the halfway point I know I’m not quite hitting the mark. I work hard over the return leg, really hard. At times I’m hitting 35mph on the flat but whenever I check the clock I can see that I’m slipping further away from my goal.
I cross the line in 25.43. I set a good new PB. I win the handicap race. I’m really pissed off, really. Back at race HQ I chuck my shoes on the floor and stomp around in a right huff. Post race shoulda woulda coulda’s are exchanged, there have been some great performances today*. I go home, still grumpy (stupid arse).
My darling Carole is pleased for me – her words “you can never be disappointed with as PB”. Good point.
Hard Gardening – Good Training
Legs still aching from the race I dig over a patch of the garden, about 15 square metres, in readiness to receive some turf. My close friend Curly comes round to help, accompanied by his beautiful and charming wife and young son, Lou and Freddie. We chug round to the garden centre in Curly’s beat up old Land Rover to pick up the grass carpet. Several buckets of sweat later, the deed is done. Satisfying – but somehow not sufficient. We cap the digging off by knocking up a raised bed into which we’ll plant some salad veg, yum.
After the digging, we enjoyed a cold beer. I reflected on the day. OK, so I missed my target for the race, but it was a very ambitious goal and I’ve not been well. I managed to knock 2 minutes off my PB and I won the handicap – that’s a first. I shared a race with some great colleagues who put in some sterling performances. Spent the afternoon with family and good friends indulging in some hard labour. I set the bar too high this morning but I think I recovered well. It’s been a really good day.
* Those great race times:
George = 21.50, Mark McL = 22.57 (PB), Andrew G = 24.17 (PB), Ivor = 24.34 (PB), Snoop = 25.43 (PB), Chris L = 25.44, Carole = 27.44, Marky Mark = 29.11 (PB), Rob R-E = 30.56 (including a 2m55s late start penalty)