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

2 Mile Race - Gretz/Armanvilliers, Paris - October 2018

I'll always remember this one as that race we did in total darkness. The start line (pictured) was OK, being still in line of sight of a powerful streetlight that lit up this quiet residential street just outside Paris as far as a bend at the quiet end of the road. Once round that bend and en route to the dead end in the forest (it was the driveway of a gold course, closed at that hour) there was no light at all - the faint moon, low in the sky, was covered by clouds and oscured by trees.

We started with a short dash towards the lights of the crossroads then turned for our first foray into the inky darkness. Once adjusted I could just about make out the white line which gave me something to use as a "handrail". Sadanand was having no trouble with the course and was well out in front, Pierre just behind him, then Suswara then me then Jayasalini. Suswara and I were running below the usual flat-out 2 mile pace, in my case that was as much to spare my niggles too much stress as it was to cope with running in the dark.

Each lap (there were 3 out-and-back sections) we wound the pace up slightly but it was only on the final one that Suswara pushed the pace to the max and I went with him, finishing just 3 seconds behind him in 12.41. Pretty happy with that as I was holding back early on.

As you'd imagine racing at night is very atmospheric. It's also not ideal for a fast/short race like a 2 miler as you can't really let yourself go completely - there's always a sense of holding back just in case you take a wrong step. Following the white line was a bit risky as the surface there was bumpy and there were occasional shallow potholes, but the race went without incident and everyone finished.

That time suggests I'm still at around the 12.30 level on a fast course in daylight, so my fitness is pretty steady. I've got vague plans to challenge myself in a trail race some time this winter but that will require some sustained running through the Autumn without any breakdowns. At the same time I've got a round the year Audax challenge underway and tentative asprations to tackle a 10k swim in 2019. Then there's the climbing course I just started. One way or another I expect I'll end up with good all round fitness but not much speed in any one sport, but the varied approach could pay off. It should at least be a lot of fun.


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