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

Sri Chinmoy Centre 2 Mile Race - Sofia, Bulgaria - October 2017

Like many Sri Chinmoy Centres, the Sofia Centre holds a weekly 2-mile race for its members in a lovely local park. Being in town for the Songs of the Soul concert, we had time the morning after the event to join in. A jog across city to get there was fascinating - in places it was looking run down (you could say the same about Bristol) and there are a few of those grim communist-era buildings brooding over the streets, but mostly it's a warm and vibrant city that feels dynamic and optimistic. We love Sofia :)

Courses of exactly a mile are hard to find, which is why even in New York on our home turf we have to run two-and-a-bit laps at our Saturday races, but the Sofia course is 5 laps, the last one being a touch shorter than the others, with the start by a bench and the finish by a specific tree. Lucky the Sofia guys were there, it would have been hard to trace the start/finish lines without local knowledge!

The latest chapter in my tedious injury saga had seen me try physio and exercises for 3 months to strengthen my achilles, without much in the way of tangible results, then an osteopathic treatment to loosen things up which seemed to have taken some of the tightness out of my legs and reduced the pressure on the dodgy tendon. I had not been planning to test things in a race though, so I convinced myself that tempo run pace should be my limit in this one. Of course I could have just not taken part, but there's something about my peak-bagging, box-ticking mentality that makes me want to chalk up a race in as many countries as possible so I kind of had to run...

I don't remember my laps/splits exactly but I vaguely recall coming through lap 1 at 12.30 pace (2.30 for the lap, roughly) and feeling a nagging soreness coming on in the aforementioned  right achilles. So, I eased off and the remainder of the race was an exhilarating tempo run in the sofian sunshine without the satisfaction of running full pace but with the compensation of running pain-free and still enjoying the togetherness of racing with a great buch of friends, old and new.

In the end I came through in 13.36 - after so many ups and downs in my running that felt like an achievement and the jog back across town alongside the canal was great too. Farewell Bulgaria, see you again some time?

Sacred Steps Home