Sunday, 15 June 2008

Racing The Misanthropes

This morning I put my retirement plans temporarily on ice, having achieved a sub-40 10k, what else in life is there to achieve? Sub-39? I don't think so.

We head over to West Park Leisure Centre for the Long Eaton 5. The fan club (my father) is already there in place, and telephoning us to find out where us tardy souls are, as we drive along the A52.

Doggo is abandoned in the car park as usual, inside the car that is, and we head to the start. L heads to her usual position amongst the 'pack' while I linger with the miserable misanthropes (I do like that word) near the front. At the back they're probably chatting merrily between themselves, at the front no one even dare make eye contact.

The starter assures us that there's nothing to worry about on the course, no nasty surprises in store. Then almost as soon as they start the race I fall down a pothole large enough to lose a collie down. If that's not a 'nasty surprise', I don't know what is. In fact, the first quarter of a mile is a nightmare, full of the nastiest of nasty surprises, as we run through the park. It's better once we get on the public roads; there we only have to contend with the holes that the council have neglected to fill in. These are mainly the ones left purely to get the backs of cyclists up and I'm well used to dodging them.

I realise early on that my rough target of sub-32 minutes isn't on. Probably due to under training in the last two weeks due to the dodgy knee I picked up after coming off second best in my argument with the floor of the squash court.

I also can't say I enjoyed the route that much either, Long Eaton isn't that scenic and the route was seemingly all uphill but my main beef is that the mile markers are too far apart. Yes, I know they're placed every mile, but I'd rather they'd placed them every kilometre. That always seems to make the race go faster, although obviously it makes for more markers, but it is what I'm used to.

My first mile is an eye watering 5.56, which is good in a 'I'm going to die' sort of way. It's seemingly water off a collie's back to the misanthropes and they just speed up whilst I slow down settling into 6.30 ish pace. This takes me to the finish in a time of 32.15, which I'm pleased-ish with until I realise that I did last years Notts 5 in 32.08. How did that happen?

I fetch Doggo from the car, who's very pleased to see me and he hurtles me back to finish, where we sit on the grass and wait for L. Doggo sits on top of me, just in case I try and run off without him again. Mind you he forgets this strategy when L comes in and he sets off in pursuit of her, desperate to join in, towing me along the grass on my backside in the process. He has never been able to get over his excitement at races.

Just ahead of L was a lithe young lass with legs up to her armpits, who a chap, having already finished the race, was talking in. It wasn't just me who was looking at her legs, honest, everyone else was too. It was probably her first race, runners legs but no muscles. Anyhow, he was really geeing her up, telling her how good she looked, how well she was doing, how proud of her he was etc etc etc. I've tried all this with L but I think she just thought I was taking the mickey.

The chap tells her he's going to get some water ready for her for when she crosses the finish and runs off to get some. L would say he's only buttering her up for one thing. Yep, I can imagine what his post-race plans are.

When L crosses the line, she gets a goodie bag full of chocolate. How can that be fair? Where's mine? Luckily she's sure to hand it all over to me.

Something that is in favour of the event is that Marston's sponsor it and there was free beer afterwards. Hurrah. Almost worth staying out of retirement for.

We head home for lunch and a relaxing afternoon. I wonder how that chap got on with the leggy girl, I wonder if she made him wait until she'd finished 'sleeping with the enemy'. No not all those misanthropes who beat me in practically all the age categories, even the ones I'm not ancient enough to qualify for. L's been reading the book 'Sleeping With The Enemy' which she says is much better than the film.

I would actually have won the over 70's category, that is had I been 30 years older. So I need to stay fit and unretired for a very long time.

In the evening L has invited her parents around for Sunday Dinner. Which I feel is a thinly disguised ruse to keep us out of the curry house post-race but I'm ok with that. As L says, what's wrong with a post-race flat Yorkshire pudding. Hmmm, seemingly, a lot because she bottles out of doing them.

She wears her 'new' top again which I've been corrected about because it isn't new at all but an old one jazzed up or rather down, as I'm told broke fashionistas have to do. I thought it looked familiar but I didn't want to push it, don't want to fall in to a 'wrong time, wrong girl' sort of situation. I look forward to whatever she jazzes down next.

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