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

Kalamata 2 Mile Race - Greece - January 2017

Only a couple of days since the one miler where I broke 6 minutes by a surprising (to me) margin, I was back out on the seafront at Kalamata warming up in just-above-zero temperatures for the classic 2 miler. Having narrowly missed out with 12.03 the week before, I was confident that I was in shape to break 12 this time. Because I knew it was "on" I was slightly nervous and irritable in the morning until meditation/invocation settled things down and then the meditative 20 minutes of warmup got me to the startline in good shape. It's hard to say why 12 minutes for a 2 miler mattered so much to me, but for some reason it did - it was something I hadn't achieved since my major illness back in 2012 and which I was determined to achieve before age got the better of me and pushed it out of reach.

From the start I felt better than in the 1 miler - only mild pain in the quads (that previous race had clearly run the soreness out) and everything else feeling under control. I went off in the third row on the narrow course so I was definitely aiming to hang with the top half dozen guys for as long as I could. Abhinaba was soon off into the distance and Sadanand, running lightly and up on his toes, was not far behind. After that the youthful Carlos and then a handful of other runners including myself, a fast Russian named Vladimir and Pratul. We changed positions a few times but as we came to the turn - it had seemed like forever getting there - I was lying 4th and hearing Anugata call out 5.52 for the split. I couldn't have hoped for better - so long as I didn't blow up it was in the bag.

Of course that "not blowing up" is something we can't really control - all I can do in a 2 miler is try to keep the effort right on the limit without going into the red and adjust the rhythm of my breathing to stop myself getting a stitch. The way back was long, so long, but when the clock finally came into view it was around 11.30. A final push and I finished in 11.47, another race way beyond my expectations and I was happy & grateful as you'd expect. There was very little left and even the warm down jog was a struggle but I'd achieved one of my targets for the year on the 2nd day!

Some soreness in my right calf afterwards reminded me not to get carried away - maybe it is still going to be stop-start on the running front! Cross training and less speedwork clearly needed.....but what a great start to the year.



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