Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Track Narcolepsy

It was off to Kettering at the weekend for another open track meeting. I have good memories of Kettering as it was home to Wicksteed Park - one of the UK's small, squalid amusement parks during my childhood. Nothing like a ride on the 10ft high rollercoaster, the 20m long log flume and some wet candy floss to get a boy dreaming of Disney World. Although the image of Nathan with his eyes closed on the pirate ship will forever be burned in my mind.

I had planned to run the 800m and 400m at the meet, however any hopes of a good time were dashed as the track was situated on the side of a hill and open to the elements. It was the sort of steppe that Genghis Khan made his own, albeit on a smaller scale and you couldn't buy scones in Mongolia at the time.

Every now and again I end up in a race where I look a bit ridiculous for entering. It's usually due to my age and the 800m field was no exception - if you drew up a venn diagram I would have been the only data point in both the male and over 15 circles. I decided to make it a good solid effort for training purposes, run the 400m and maybe even squeeze in a 200m for a full day of multipace training. I won by 12 seconds in a slow time.

By this time I had started to eye up the 200m race, purely because I figured the 400m wouldn't be that competitive, it was 3 hours away and also because the extremely strong wind was perfect for a decent time. So it turned out as I won my race in 23.5 seconds, although a tight lower hamstring at the finish reminded me of my old man's folly.

The reasonably successful day didn't quite end the way I expected as, after listening to the World Athletics Championships in the car, I woke up barely 10 minutes before my race to find out that they had moved the time forward by 9 minutes. I'd had no warm-up and sleep bogeys in my eyes so I decided to opt out of the race. The next day my hamstring told me that perhaps my bout of narcolepsy was a good thing. Maybe I should be testing myself on the polysomnogram rather than the athletics track!

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