"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own"   Sri Chinmoy

ENTHUSIASM 2 Mile Virtual Race - November 7th, 2020

With the changing seasons and unchanging demands of work and training and all the other things life throws at us, I was feeling pretty tired before this one! After a week of swimming and cycling and only one jog session (where I felt very sluggish) I decided I would need a long and easy warmup, so I got out of the door at 7.25 and tool the long way round to Horizon 38. Normally this would be 2.5 miles roughly speaking but with the bridge construction on Gypsy Patch Lane it was nearer 3.5. I arrived to see Suswara warming up on the loop ahead of me so at least I knew I wasn't late for the start. On the plus side, it was great to have something I might be late for - "having to be somewhere at a certain time" is a forgotten situation in lockdown most of the time.

We were both feeling a bit worn out and complaining of a lack of va-va-voom. Then we looked up the name of this week's race and found it was enthusiasm! Nice bit of irony there. We did our  best to summon up some of the divine quality of the week with our pre-race poem and brief silence - it seemed to work as when we hit the first bend we were running at around 5.40 pace! It was all perfectly legal too, with Lockdown 2.0 in England allowing people to meet with one other from another household to exercise. I guess that's mainly so that people - especially women - can run together safely in the dark. A sensible decision and one that does allow us to have some semblance of a shared sporting endeavour - in other words a race.

That initial surge of enthusiasm-fuelled-speed was of course a bit on the optimistic side. The wind was from the south east and so it drove us on down the straight past Serco to hit the second bend with the pace still under 6 mins per mile, but it only took one leg into the headwind to put paid to that. By the time I hit half way I was on 5.58 but in the last lap things were falling apart especially on the headwind sections. It felt as if I was accelarating in the final few hundred metres but that can be an illusion/delusion - in fact I think I was just holding on to the same pace as most of the second mile. Finally the Garmin beeped and I staggered to a halt, only to hear it buzz a few seconds later. I had reset the watch earlier in the week and it had started behaving differently, now giving me a 5 second beep countdown before the buzz at the end of 2.00 miles. Anyway the final time of 12.09 would probably have been no more than 1 or 2 seconds different if I had known that the beep was not the end.

All through the run I'd had the sensation of being on the limit of my capacity but then being able to summon up a slightly harder effort for a few seconds at a time. Sometimes you look for more and there is nothing there at all, so maybe that sensation of having a reserve tank means I'm coming back to better fitness. Suswara and I have both done every race in the series now, so we look well set to qualify for the 10-race Grand Prix and then our times will go towards the Great Britain effort. Our top GB contributor right now is Laurence Duffy who is in the next agegroup up and still beating us by the best part of a minute - now that's inspiring! I'm motiviated to try and clear my mind more and prepare a bit better to see if I can get back to the times I was running a few weeks ago - perhaps I'll try to shed a couple of lockdown pounds and do some midweek intervals?

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