Unaccustomed As I Am

I’ve been in an unusual position for me recently: the front. Well, sort of. At the race on Sunday, the organisers had laid out starting pens. We were asked to segregate ourselves with the quicker towards the front and the slower towards the rear. I was going for my sub-45 so I went to the front of the 40:00-45:00 pen. There weren’t that many people in front of me. I looked behind and there was a wall of people starting at 50:00-55:00. I thought “That can’t possibly be right. There must be more people in front of me than this” I’d been at the front of a start pen before, in Edinburgh and that didn’t end well.We all moved forward for the start and when the gun went I was overtaken by a few runners but I wasn’t swamped. The race leaders were still in sight at the 2k marker and I haven’t been in that situation before. They were gone by 3k after some twists and turns and dips and climbs but it was exhilarating to have been so close to the leaders for so long. I finished in 51st place. Had I known I was that far up the order, I would have pushed just a little harder to stay ahead of the last guy.

Then yesterday evening I had a night of fartlek fun at the C&C Tuesday night training. I was in with the speedy boys (and girl) for the first time and I wasn’t completely left for dead. Yes, I was coming in at the back of the group but I wasn’t hopelessly off the pace and I would have been off the front of the slower group. I’ve noticed that I’ve been moving up the pace groups as time has gone on but this is the first time I’ve been playing with the big boys.

There is more to my step up in performance than my nice new shoes. (Sorry, inov-8.) That I’ve been working hard on becoming fitter, running with Coach B more regularly, I’m doing more core work and Helen Hall’s efficient running programme have all played their part too. It’s left me wondering how much faster I can go. If I’m another five minutes quicker at the same race next year, I’ll be knocking on the door of the top 20 and that’s where the serious people hang out. I am inspired to do well by my friends and clubmates all of whom are putting in excellent performances and setting PBs too. I just can’t just sit back when everybody else is doing so well. I feel left out.

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