Our gatherings in France almost always include a 2 mile race early on the Sunday morning - this time the course was in the forest between our "hotel" (Domain de Pignada) and the beach at Bayonne. We met up at quarter past seven and nipped out the back of the grounds through a gate leading straight into a large area of sandy pine forest - fresh, cool and silent, a great place to meditate and a great spot for a race. There were somewhere between 40 and 50 of us there for the weekend and between 30 and 40 showed up for the race, a pretty good turnout!
In my case I was just hoping to be able to let myself go and actually run rather than tenatively jog round - the 2-milers in New York had gone OK and a combination of Ayurvedic remedies, Ming-method stretching (I saw the book recently in Germany) and foam-rollering was having a positive effect. In other words I'd gone two whole months without injury - wahay! It was also going to be a special run as it was on the morning of my 48th birthday.
The course was undulating and on a perfect surface that was softer than a road but still firm. After a short mediation where we soaked up the stillness of our surroundings we ran down a slight slope towards the sea and the race was on. Sadanand was soon out front, Dave and Suswara close behind, Jana fastest among the girls and a resurgent Amalendu (fresh from the Peace Run) also well ahead. I started at a steady pace and by the half mile mark (a turnaround point) I'd caught Jana. Amalendu was still ahead of me and I focussed on trying to catch him, soon running at what is now my top speed. Exactly how fast that is, it's hard to say, but I'm guessing around 6.15 pace.
I couldn't catch my Australian friend but at least I tried and that kept me up at full pace right to the end. My recorded time was 11.51 but we soon realised the course was short and it was really around 12.30. So, I'm back where I was a year or two ago time-wise, uninjured for the moment, working hard on keeping it going so I can run enough to do some races this year! All in all a great race in a gorgeous place and it was lovely sharing it with so many mates from UK, France & Ireland. Oh and Australia too...
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