Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Truth Will Out: What Really Happened at the 2012 TenTenTen

Right, everybody – how are you all doing? Cracking Christmas? Good end to 2012? Well here’s to a rockin’, healthy and prosperous 2013!

I know you’re all waiting with baited breath for my next instalment. It’s taking a while, partly because I’m busy and partly because it will address a subject to which I wish to do thorough justice. For now, here’s a confession…

…back in September, I reported exhaustively on my racing debut at the TenTenTen. By that I mean that reading the post must have been exhausting!

Without asking you to read it again, here’s how I covered the hilly climb second time round:
“…got to top of grass bank. Realised overtaking people up the grass bank had not been wise. Wished briefly that Dawn had not been in that particular spot, at the bottom of the hill she’d been warning me about since April. Wished that I had not felt obliged to step things up a notch as a consequence of that. Headed into woods. Felt a stitch. Slowed down. Was overtaken by far more than the four people I’d passed up the grass bank. Struggled for five, long minutes…”

Technically, that is completely accurate. Where I may have been uncharacteristically economical with the detail, however, is with the “slowed down” bit…
…a more accurate description of events would have been followed by the words “to walking pace”.
See, I never felt compelled to share this because I still clocked a decent debut time (50’49”). I’d go on to improve on that significantly in Weston-super-Mare in December, coming in at 47’02”. But then not only was Squintani fitter and now no longer a first-time novice: more importantly, the Weston sands were flat. That hill was most definitely not and I tackled it with far too much gusto. So yes, for a minute or so (though it felt far longer) I dropped down to walking pace. After that, I “felt my brothers lift me and carry me on as I made my way down the woods. Headed out of Forge Dam and back towards Rustlings Road. Found my rhythm, my pace again. Knew the end was in sight and kept going. Was no longer struggling as I ran into Endcliffe Park. Started to lengthen stride. Felt good.” And, shortly after, crossed the finishing line. 50’49”. Smiles all around. No questions asked.

So why am I coming out now?

Simple: because those nice people at Sheffield TenTenTen have shared a video by those equally nice people at Sheffield running store Accelerate. I watched it in the hope it might feature my sprint finish or my post-race elation. And does it?
Does it heck! All of 12” in, this 3’13” video shows a forlorn figure in a glo-yellow shirt (just to make sure nobody can miss him in his darkest hour) raise his hand to dry his forehead as enthusiastic runners pass him in the woods. They couldn’t have picked a more depressing sight if they’d tried. Or maybe they did, I don’t know.

The 2013 TenTenTen takes place on October 13 and I’ve already registered. I’ll be back. It’s a long way to go for a 10k but for me it’s where it all began and I want to return. And I want to tackle that hill again: sure it’s tough, but it makes the race. Will I tackle it any slower this time round? No. Will I have it in me to keep going through the woods this time round? You bet.

So, there you have it: truth will out, always. And indeed it has. Unfailing, unfaltering, undisputable.

That’s all I’ve got this time, folk. I’ll get back to my article on whether people you’ve never met face-to-face but with whom you interact on Social Media can be considered friends. It’s already proving a far more enjoyable post to write.

Oh go on then, a few numbers while I’m here. Having begun on October 12, my runstreak is up to 90 days, during which I’ve run 623mi at an average of 6.92mi/day. I closed the books on 2012 having run 1.770,78km or 1,100.36mi, depending on your preference (I’m doing as Mazymizer told me, as per usual, and converting to imperial this year). I’ve run at least 80km/week since week commencing November 19, peaking at 65mi last week (31/12/2012 - 06/01/2013). That’s an exception, not a benchmark, by the way. So, in short, it’s all good. Not bad for a fat lad from Sheffield who had to stop running halfway through his first 10k just because he’d run too fast past his Auntie Dawn!

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