Considering that previously I have declared that I don’t really do races, I seem to have got a bit of a taste for them this year (and it’s not just my Mutley-like love of a medal). This weekend, while 37,500 people were pounding the streets of London Village, I ran the Bolton 10k, despite very nearly weaselling out of it.
Ginge had to work, so his usual cheerleading/photography duties were gamely taken up by Mum, who stood out in the rain and missed The Archers omnibus to support me, a sacrifice that was very much appreciated.
My preparation was much the same as normal, turned up, collected my race number, went to the loo, had the internal conversation where I persuade myself that I really don’t need the loo, skulk around trying to spot people that I think I might finish in front of (basically anyone who has a zimmer frame or is dressed as a pantomime horse). One day I intend to have a proper routine, stretching and bouncing and the like, but until then I will remain content with simple things like being proud of not falling into the indoor long jump pit…
I watched other people warm up and was rewarded with the sight of chap in tiny running shorts who was doing a remarkable accurate impression of the tennis playing bum scratching lady from the 80s Athena poster. That image will be seared on my retinas for a very long time to come.
I left Mum finding out the life story and medical history of a chap who was there to support his son, and shuffled my way to the back of the pack.
Since signing up, I’ve been very much aware that this was not going to be a day for a personal best. The course is hilly (well it has a monster of a hill that you run up twice) whereas I prefer my races to be coastal (by coastal, I simply mean flat). On the day, dark looming clouds turned into spells of bucketing rain and the trail sections of the course became muddy and puddled under foot (although all those towpath miles must have come in useful). There was also a bit of a bottleneck as the course dipped down an uneven set of steps and then went across a narrow (single-file) bridge, but I can’t really blame that for my shortcomings. For that I have to look at the fact that my pre-race regime had involved a week mostly knitting in pubs.
Despite the rain and the mud and the less than brilliant performance, I really enjoyed the race and was glad that I didn’t weasel. I might even try and get some running in before the next one.