Turning back time



Friends ask why I have written less this year than I managed a year ago. Some of the explanation is that I have given more time to running that any stage in my life since I gave up proper, competitive running 24 years ago. For the first three years after I began running again, I found myself scarcely able to run two full weeks in a row without injuring myself. I suffered recurring achilles and calf injuries, and my body felt tired and broken. Then, as I have explained before, I began broke this cycle around 9 months ago, with the result that I have found myself running further and faster than at any time since my teens. Most days I run in the morning before work; on a good day I manage a full hour.

In July this year, I ran my adult PBs for 400 metres (66 seconds), 1500 metres (5:18.4), and 5k (19:53). In the last two weeks, I’ve tried at longer distances, including a 10k in 42:30 and on Sunday a half marathon in 1 hr 39. On the plus side, my times this year at 400, 800 and 1500 put me in the top 200 runners of my age in Britain. Less pleasingly, there appear to have been only 60 runners of my age who are known have run 1500 metres slower than I have, 50 at 800 metres, and 40 at 400 metres…

Sunday’s race was the Richmond half marathon, run in an autumn sunshine, my feet trying to fix on a Thames towpath disturbed by yesterday’s rain. I feel that my body held together, maintaining a more or less constant speed. Only one mile was difficult, the last one, through which I ran desperately willing the finishing line to come closer. Whoever had designed the course had paid little thought to the mile markers which were a disturbingly-wide spread of distances apart, sometimes a kilometre, sometimes a mile and a half. (Either that or I was running some miles in under 5 minutes and some in over 10). And so when I came to the last mile marker I could not be sure that it was nearly the end, nor was it easy to readjust when I realised that indeed it wasn’t. Still, my time at the finish was a pleasing two minutes faster than my previous pb for the distance – run 10 years ago.

One response »

  1. “Friends ask why I have written less this year than I managed a year ago.” Enemies might ask why you still write so much.

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