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

Kalamata 2 Mile Race - Greece - December 2016

Despite a far from ideal preparation (legs still stiff and very sore from the unfamiliar experience of a 4 hour session 3 days before!) I was looking forward to this 2 miler on a perfectly flat and simple promenade course. Like the Weston Prom runs that I have done several times back home, this seafront at Kalamata could be very tough in windy conditions but fortunately the skies had cleared overhead since the thunderstorms of the night before and it was still, misty and around 8 degrees at the start.

A big crowd gathered as the night sky lightened and it was near enough daylight when Pradan started us off after a short meditative silence at around half past seven. The course was narrow in places so I cheekily stood close to the front, 4th row back, to get a clear start. I was aiming to get as close as I could to 12.00 or maybe even break that barrier but I had no idea how I would get on.

From the start I tried to stay with Suswara and Pradeep and I felt good for the first couple of minutes - it was clearly overambitious though and they began to pull away after a couple of minutes. That left Pratul ahead of me and as I'd gone off quite quick I had plenty of space and could take a nice short line without having to weave at the narrow points. I knew I was running at full speed for the distance - "on the limit" as Dayalu used to say - but when I turned after one mile at dead on 6 minutes (first time I've run a mile that fast in years!) I realised there was a chance of breaking 12.

The way back was tough and I tried to maintain the pace with varying degrees of success - I was soon breathing at 2 breaths per 3 strides or 2 per 2 - clearly going anaerobic! Perhaps I had started a little fast...? Fortunately I held on and as I saw the clock materialise in the mist ahead I had visions of 11.59 but reality had other ideas and despite a sick-making surge to the line it was 12.03.

Fortunately that was a post-2012 PB (with which I'm well pleased) and my first 6 minute mile for years (also something I'm happy about) so all in all a great start to the Christmas Trip races. Of course it can go down hill from there if too many long sessions or mountain treks take their toll but hey, I'm making progress and 12 minutes looks achievable some time soon.

Sacred Steps Home