Being a runner can get pretty lonely, all those miles of training, just you and the sound of your breathing for company. You do hill sprints, tempo runs, slow long runs, core training all stepping stones towards taking on your challenge whatever that is.
Then the race weekend approaches, the excitement builds tinged with a dash of nervousness. You feel strong, the training has gone well, you feel ready to take on your challenge and beat it. You put on your best running top, debate whether to where tights or shorts, pull on your trusty running shoes and take your place at the start line.
Then the running gods make you their bitch.
You are soon puffing and panting, gasping for breath, thighs burning. This wasn’t the plan, in your head you were like a mountain goat, you were ready to glide up the hills, ticking off the miles. But alas it’s not that easy, it never is.
But that’s why we love it, why we drive 100 miles to run through mud and streams, to change after races balancing on a t-shirt next to the car boot. The slog and exertion of the past 75 minutes is quickly forgotten in the exhilaration of finishing. You talk with your fellow racers about how hard it was, how you lost your shoe in the mud and narrowly avoided an impressive wipe out into a large pile of brambles.
This was my Saturday, a 10k on the Gower peninsula, to say it was wet and muddy was an understatement. But it was a lot of fun, a tough tough course more resembling a stream at times and some humongous hills. My little brother and I taking on the worst that the Welsh hills and weather could throw at us. I did it in 1 hour 14 minutes, a pretty good time in the conditions. The winner did it in 58 minutes, that might give you an idea that this wasn’t your ordinary flat 10k in the park!
And you know what? We’re already planning the next race, amazing how quickly you forget the pain.
P.S. For the record the running god is most definitely a woman. No man could look at your efforts with such disdain, a shrug on the shoulders and asking you ‘is that all you’ve got?’.