Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Sprint Finish?

Daughter catches me completely off guard this morning by wishing me a good morning at 7.15am and seemingly, she even means it. She must have gotten out of the wrong side of her bed, or rather the right side.

It's the final chance for L to claim her prize of the poshest of posh meals out in a restaurant of her choice in the 'Red T-shirt Challenge' but it doesn't seem likely that she will get Son to rise to the challenge (and out of his bed) to become a red t-shirted helper at the College inductions.

We do have one child in the house of elevated status though because Daughter has now become a school Prefect. Although we don't yet know what her new role with entail. In my day, Prefect's were like Gestapo and were employed to poke you in the ribs, if you stepped out of line in the dinner queue and to make sure everyone stayed out in the rain when the weather turned inclement during break time. They didn't seem to perform any other duties and abuse of power was widespread. I'm just bitter though because I wasn't made one because I wasn't fearsome enough. Perhaps this is why Daughter got the 'gig', you wouldn't want her telling you off.

A heart-warming tale from Scandinavia for anyone who's had trouble getting home after a heavy night out. This could happen to any of us. After a few too many, a 78-year-old Swede found he did not have enough money for the ferry home. His solution was to steal a dinghy and row the 5km across the Oresund Strait from Denmark back to his home in Sweden. Not surprisingly, he didn't make it and the coastguard found him asleep in his drifting boat.

This evening, race 3. The scene of, after careful perusal of my stats, what appears to be my fastest ever run. I'm not hopeful of a repeat. I’m feeling only three quarters fit, it's my knee that’s still holding me back. If I hop round, I’ll be deadly.

I am feeling a little inspired by an article I read today in Runners World magazine about a chap who took up running after a heart operation for Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome, which causes your heart to beat far too fast. He said 'I don't know what I'm capable of and the fun is finding out'. Reckless talk if ever there was. I shall see what I can do and apparently, there were only three 'girlies' ahead of me at the last race, which is almost cause of celebration. I'll have to see if I can chip another one off.

It’s a hot evening, too hot for Doggo, so he is left at home, which he isn't happy about. My darling L looks perkier than last week and has subsequently reduced her intake of performance enhancing substances. Which she may live to regret.

At the start, I try to take it gentle but it's not easy with all these people trying to beat me. The route itself isn't pleasant, two laps of a grit path that isn't easy to run on. I try and run along the grassy edges but then you have to deal with a few potholes. Not ideal but better.

For some reason it seems harder in the dry this year, where's the rain when you want it. To help me, if 'help' is the right word, I've programmed my watch with a target time but I don't think I've done it right. When I press the 'lap button' to record my splits at the mile markers, it keeps beeping back at me to tell me how I'm doing. Which it says is badly. I know that, I can see I'm down on where I want to be but I'm sure it's exaggerating.

The marshals too are no help, saying things like 'well done' and 'you're doing well'. What do they know? The technology on my wrist says otherwise.

Some bright spark gives the girl in front of me one of the 'you're doing well' shouts but then follows it with the caveat 'but you're only second'. Evil person. How the girl restrained herself, I'm not sure.

The info though is interesting, and means I might be on to only have two girls in front of me, although I doubt the accuracy of the statement. My fears are kind of confirmed when I catch up another girl, but I'm sure there's others ahead of her. I only catch her up because she's stopped to tie her shoelace. Her stop and my lead on her are both brief as she quickly sprints past me again, clearly just to ram home the point.

Someone calls out my name, which is unsettling because I didn't expect any supporters but kind of welcome. When they do it again later, I manage a weak wave in acknowledgement, kind of realising who it was.

Inside the last half a mile, an ancient chap pulls level with me, seemingly spoiling for a duel. He looks in a worse state than I do but despite that, I can see he is winding up for a sprint finish. Don't bother mate, I feel like telling him, I'm not. Victory is yours. He duly wipes the floor with me.

I'm 47th in 26.00, 49 seconds slower than last year and it was truly horrible. As I lie on the grass 'chilling', I must look a right state because the St Johns Ambulance folks run over to check I'm ok. I unconvincingly wave them away.

L's been talking down her time and I almost believed her but she comes in minutes ahead of where she 'predicted'. We head home and again infringe the Tuesday AF rule with two glasses of wine.

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