Self-Transcendence 2 Mile Race, New York, August 2011
So often the Self-Transcendence 2 Miler has been my chance to test myself after a layoff - so it proved this time after 2 months out with a torn calf muscle. With a green light from the physio to run further and faster now the tear had had some time to heal, I would find out just how much fitness I'd lost in two months with no more than easy jogging. I started further back than usual on a warm, dry day - the start on Gothic Drive is just a few hundred metres from my room in New York, so there had been plenty of time for a warmup with a few strides and I felt as well prepared on the day as I could be. Sundar, long-time race director and starter, read out one of Sri Chinmoy's poems and we had a few moments of meditation before the "on your marks, set, GO!". To begin with things went fine and I moved slowly up the field through the first lap, even accelarating away on the short "hill" at Chapin Parkway. There were familiar faces around me, and silence but for the slap of feet on road and the various patterns of breathing - some so unique (both the footfalls and the breathing) that I knew the names of the runners around me without looking. I have been running on this course several times a year since 94, and some of the others must remember running here back in the seventies and eighties.
As I approached half way, pushing hard to keep pace with my Aussie friend Amalendu, I heard my time called out - fity eight, fifty nine, six minutes! Faster than expected and faster than I could sustain! The energy fell away from my body a little and I saw the group around me pulling away, but when I crossed the line in 12.12 I was more than happy. No pain from my calf, foot or achilles, so all looked well for an Autumn of racing. Just hoping I take it sensibly and build myself up with some patience and wisdom (not qualities my running life is usually imbued with, but who knows - maybe it's the start of a new era!). Later I saw a photo of myself in running kit back in '93 alongside Abichal and some dignitaries at Kings College Cambridge - I've come a long way since then, but as I recall that year saw me out with injury so painful I couldn't walk straight (ITB inflammation) and yet I went on to run my first races and complete a marathon in the Spring of '94. So I'm hoping that part of history repeats itself....
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