The National 12 stage road relays are a brilliant event where the best clubs in the country put their fastest 12 runners out to war. For a club to get that many athletes out, fit and healthy, at the same time is a massive challenge but it can really build team spirit.
I had some demons in me from last year, where I was 1st leg (my favourite) and I pulled a hamstring halfway through my run. I limped home in nearly last place, letting the side down big-time, although they rallied fantastically to 12th. I have been waiting a year to put that right.
Tuesday the week before the race, I am feeling great in my morning run, but because my legs are so achey from Sunday run up a mountain, I can’t read my body’s warning signs, and I pull a calf muscle. I am determined to compete at the 12 stage this year, I can’t let the team down again. I don’t want to be that guy. I have 4 days to heal. It’s a big ask with less than 3 weeks till London Marathon. Lots of stretching, resting and massage from Nina gets me to the starting line feeling pretty nervous. I think that if I can control my effort, I can put in a shift which should be strong enough for the team whilst protecting my weakness.
I had wanted to do really well here, put down a marker before marathon and blow away memories of last year’s failure, but sometimes life gives you lemons, I have to let go of those goals and focus on what I can realistically achieve today. My body will only give me so much, if I over reach I will blow it, the calf will pull again, and I will be traipsing home near the back…again.
I hand over to leg 2 in 23rd, better than last year’s 54th, but nowhere near my best of 5th place. I am so relieved to have turned in a respectable showing, and with no injury. Kent AC get up into podium position at one point but then we slide to 7th, still, a top 10 position is very good at this level.
Quick warm down and then I have to jump straight in car to get home and cut up a tree (3 trees actually) that has fallen over the track on our land. The holiday already feels a million miles away.
|whole body aching after mountain run yest|
|calf pull am. very easy jog pm|
|calf eases off towards the end. Fly home|
|Let calf rest after lots of travelling yesterday|
|v slow run, but calf feeling looser|
|Saturday||National 12 stage relays. 5.4 miles – 27.42min. 12 miles total||REST|
|just happy to get through it with calf in one piece|
|Could run, but body aching in weird places, decide to let dust settle!|