Today's 'training' run isn't until 11am so thankfully, as it's my birthday and I've moved a year closer to drawing my pension, there's time for a proper lie-in.
We've just got up when my father rings; he's at the race start. Where are we? He's a touch early, which for someone who normally finds being on time quite a challenge is somewhat amazing.
We're at Underwood, which is just the other side of Eastwood. Which is so local it would have been rude not to have entered. In fact it's almost close enough to have ran there. L recommends the run because she says it's very pretty route, which is code for bloody hilly. I know, I've checked. I plotted the profile against my bike route through Ilkeston and they’re very similar e.g. it's so un-flat that I'd hate to bike around it.
Oddly after the unsettling experience of deciding to part with £81 on new 'fast' trainers, I decide not to wear them. It is the convention, as with horses and other wayward beings, to break them in first. Of course you could say that as this is just a 'training' run, it could be good breaking in territory but... well I don't.
Before the start, we have a problem with Doggo, it's a touch warm today, so leaving him in the car in the middle of the housing estate where we've parked does not appeal. So we strap him to a lamppost by my father. Naturally he goes mental as we walk up to the start but he's just overreacting.
The pace from the start is quite quick, possibly because it's downhill but as this is just a 'training' run, everyone else can run as fast as they like. I'm not bothered. I'm not being sucked in.
We have to run back past where Doggo is tethered, which is a tad inconvenient. I try and run on the far side of the road, hoping he won't see me. I'm trying not to look at him but out of the corner of my eye, I'm sure I can see him looking at me, out of the corner of this eye, pretending not to notice, pretending not to be bothered, either than or he's got his eye on what that child next to him is eating.
The watch says 7.13 for 2k, blimey that's a bit rapid but I'm not being sucked in. It's just because it's downhill and what goes down must come back up. Yep here we go, a big long hill.
I'm good at hills though and I metronome my way past about six runners. Ha, that was easy. Still not sucked in though.
Downhills are not so much my thing, I'm fine with them, but my knees and ankles are less keen. This is another reason why I stuck with my excruciatingly 'slow' but very well cushioned trainers. Unfortunately some of the other runners do seem to like the downhills, particularly a long legged bloke who bounds down them seemingly in two or three strides. Hmmm, if this wasn't a 'training' run...
33.16 after 8km, which is err... quicker than last week. Freaky. This is supposed to be a slow course and of course I'm wearing 'slow' trainers.
I yo-yo with the Mr Longlegs for a bit, uphill me in front, downhill him in front. His long stride means he keeps avoiding my attempts to trip him up. Still not sucked in but clearly he needs to be dealt with, so on a long hill near the end, I burn him off. All good training.
I casually jog home well inside the top 20 out of 115 entrants in a time of just over 42 minutes which is a surprisingly good time for a hilly training run in 'slow' trainers; perhaps I should have allowed myself to be sucked in, just a little bit, after all.
A chap who lives locally to us crosses the line and between gasps for air, asks me how I've done. Hmmm, I'm not sure what the etiquette is in these cases. Well obviously I've beaten him but should I let him know I've trounced him or is that bad form and should I ask him what his time was. This is all unknown ground for me. So I give it to him straight. He turns his back on me and starts talking to someone else. Guess I'm off his Christmas card list then.
I rescue the dog from his lamppost and we cheer L in, who does another good time and she'll be pleased to know, what she says is the most important thing, is that they're loads behind her.
Back home, a friend of mine pushes a card through the door and then legs it without knocking. I rush outside to see him, to thank him, but his car doesn't stop as I run down the street after him. He'd make a good bus driver.
In house present delivery suffers a dose of the Terminal 5's, Son's arrives at 4.30pm, Daughter's at 6pm, possibly temporarily lost in the black hole. L's was bang on midnight last night; I like a punctual girl.
In the evening, possibly against her better judgement, L's promised to indulge me, as it's my birthday. So it's beer, curry and an evening in a short skirt. Her, that is, not me. We wanted to try a new Indian Restaurant in Nottingham tonight but apparently they close at 8.00 on a Sunday. How inconsiderate. Don't they realise that it’s my birthday and I’ve been put through the hell of Underwood. Oh well, instead we trek over to Derby to the normally reliable Flowerpot for beer. It’s not quite up to scratch tonight, although this is partly because they sneak a couple of 5%-ers on the bar without telling me.
We return to Nottingham, to our local Indian for the curry part, where it's student night. £8.50 all in but for some reason they don't offer it to us.
30 Units, it was birthday week.