Mad dogs, Englishmen, and Runners!

Today was hot. The temperature peaked at 32degrees celsius. For once even our house was uncomfortably hot. Usually the stone keeps it cool.

Today was the perfect day to be a swimmer. Not a runner.

But I am a runner. And tonight I had a race.

Of course, I could have followed my son’s advice, “It’s too hot to run, mum. Lie here with book.”

But I am a runner. And tonight I raced.

It was my first short race (8k) since September or October. I have been feeling ambivalent about my training recently. Just last week I met with my coach to re-evaluate where I am at, what I am doing and most importantly, how I am feeling.

We decided I needed the race practice but I was not to wear a watch.

I like races. We all know each other and there is a lot of banter before hand, and inter-club rivalry. I had not done the lead-in series to this race because of work commitments so a fair amount of the warm-up involved catching up with others.

It was hot. I doused my head, neck and shoulders with water, drenched my cap and cooled my wrists under cold water.

Time to go. My plan was to run by feel.

I felt strong and by the first kilometre was neck and neck with a club mate, who doesn’t like me to beat him. But I left him looking at my arse on the first hill and he never caught me again. I passed another woman and that put me in fourth overall but the next woman was only about 100m ahead. I felt I might be able to catch her.

I didn’t. I pushed through to the end, having a tussle with another man in the last couple of ks and eventually we crossed the line together. I finished fourth overall woman – no age groups here – in 34 minutes even.

When I came home my husband and kids asked me where I placed. “Why didn’t you win,” they teased me. And then my husband asked me if I was happy with my result. The perfect question to ask anyone.

I replied, “Yes.”

Not just because I didn’t barf at the end though it was an option! Or that I did a PB even if only because I had never raced that distance. I was pleased because after all the months of struggling with speed work and feeling I was not improving, I could still pull out the stops on a stinking hot night.

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