"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own" Sri Chinmoy
4 Mile Race, Budva, Monte Negro, December 2017
Sri Chinmoy's taught us that the true fulfilment comes from always seeking progress, rather than success. With that as my outlook I can always focus on increasing my speed from my previous race - so even when injury is hampering my efforts (and that's quite a lot of the time these days!) there's a clear goal ahead of me and a source of satisfaction even if I can't race flat out.
The 4 miler came the day after our epic trail run in the snows of Lovchen and that slow but steady workout left me confident that I could aim for a 7 minute pace in the race. Quads were stiff as you'd expect and the soreness in my calf was bound to still be there but the races and the hikes and the exploratory jogs should, I hoped, have done the trick and loosened me up just enough.
The beach looked messy after recent storms and there was snow on the horizon but it was mild enough down on the seafront and it was great to run again under a clear blue Balkan sky. I set off near the back and took it easy ish to start with but began to pick things up as we passed the orthodox church (with it's sign showing no entry in swimwear) and rounded the curve of the bay. Anugata, turnaround marshal as usual, was calling out 7.15 or so. I started to push a little harder, calf sore but not sore enough to worry me. Working steadily up the field I came back to the start to hear a time of around 14 minutes dead - so it was game on for a 28 minute run and the satisfaction of having moved up from 8.25 pace a week ago to 7 minute pace.
The third mile I worked pretty hard and got level with Jwalanta and Ekalavya, which felt like progress for sure! Then the turn came for the last mile with Anugata calling my time at 20.48. OK, time to kill mysef a bit and race the last mile flat out. No alarm bells ringing from my injury so why not? Breathing rapidly and pushing myself as fast as I could I genuinely raced the last mile to squeeze past Amur and finish a couple of seconds behind Sammunati, our Olympian runner, in what I reckon was 27.17. A 6.29 final mile. Satisfaction.
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