Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Loud Whispering Contest of Parliament Hill

There's a lot of to be said for cramming all your misfortunes into one occasion. The belief being that any one life has a limited number of misfortunes (although Violet Jessop may disagree) and the path forward is cleared if you get them "out of way" early in your journey.

I have already described the background to my presence at the Southern Cross Country Champs today - mainly attributable to blind ignorance on my part. The place lived up to its reputation - being a hilly bog and a venue more appropriate for the Massey Ferguson agility trials than a foot race.

Teams were all grouped in starting pens, having first passed through a tent, presumably to get the racing chips activated. Unfortunately there were still about 50 of us in the tent when the race was started. I'm a punctual person and there was no way of anticipating the jam from the outside the tent so I was pretty pissed off at the starter's premature ejaculation.

It doesn't sit well criticising the starter, considering he is probably an unpaid volunteer - a bit like slapping your Grandma in the chops for fussing. But his actions certainly invite speculation that he was a retired ex-filing cabinet manager for a small local authority.

The problem with being at the back of the field is that there were about 900 runners and the first section of the course is a steep up hill, leading to a bottleneck at the top so you are stuck behind a wall of slower runners. It was at this point where I got stamped on with the spike ripping my shoe and cutting deep into my little toe.

The rest of the 3 lap course consisted of trying to find decent ground to run on, trying to make up places on the downhills and trying to manage my painful stitch. All great fun, but I never felt like I was able to run fast on the underfoot conditions and it just felt like a dull slog. I'd hoped, at least, for a decent training impetus but the race seemed so far removed from reality I doubt I even got that.

It's not all doom and gloom as my new club, Bedford & County AC, won the team event. Obviously with no help from me and it was a relief to know that the team's total points tally didn't have to try and swallow my abysmal 343rd place.

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