There’s been so much going on that I’ve regularly forgotten my resolve to post another chapter to this blog. Apologies, if you’ve been waiting on my every word!
There used to be a saying that “Life is a bitch, and then you die”. Well, some of my last six weeks have been evidence of the “bitch” part. Back in May, I got the news that I may be losing my sight. Not quickly, it seems, though no one can tell me how “slowly”. I’ve had estimates that range from between two and twenty years. I’m taking up the twenty year option, of course. I wrote a bit more about this on my other blog here, so I’ll not repeat myself. Suffice it to say that, for the moment, I’m fine.
Very fine, running-wise, in fact. I had the luxury of quite a late start to the outdoor track season. It squeezes my build-up to the World Masters in Lyon, France, into a slightly shorter space than my original plan, but I’ve overcome this by changing my training/racing routine. I’ve had the chance to enter several small open meetings locally, and put in a bundle of 100 metres races – at least one meeting a week, and sometimes two races at each meeting. I’ve dropped one training session each week as a result, though my overall activity level is well up, because I’m heavily involved in a long term photographic project which requires me to walk ten to fifteen kilometres through some delightful local countryside, twice or three times a week.
The new recipe seems to suit my body well. I’m aware that I’ve been arriving at the track for races feeling much lighter on my feet than usual. I’ve also, at last, settled on quite a long, slow warm-up process, based on something I first tried at the European Indoors back in March. It certainly worked well for me then, and seems to be doing so again. My weight is more than three kilos down on this time last year. I put most of that down to the benefits of doing the local Parkrun for a while last winter, though the loss currently seems to be self-sustaining, with little conscious effort on my part. I guess many people will be envious?
What has been bad has been the great British weather. Very nearly every – yes every – race this year has been affected by winds. Not always headwinds, but when you’re trying to get a proper idea how well you’re racing, running with 0.9 metre per second tailwind can be as frustrating. Well, to be truthful, maybe not as frustrating, but a source of irritation nonetheless. I got an inkling that things were going well when, in mid May, I ran just a tenth of a second slower than my 2014 best while running into a 1.7 m/s headwind. An hour later, this time with a 0.9 m/s tailwind (well within legal limits for record purposes etc, of course), I came within one hundredth of a second of my 2014 best.
This form is holding, for now at least. I won gold over both 100 and 200 metres at the Southern Counties Masters Championships at the end of May – my first golds there for quite a few years. Just over a week later, on an evening mostly of very gusty, variable winds that gave me one quite frustrating 100 m race, I ended the evening knocking four hundredths of a second off my best 2014 time. It was a performance currently good enough to see me into second place on the 2015 UK age group rankings. It’s also my fastest 100 metres performance since 2012, so there’s life in the old dog yet. The irony was that the electronic wind gauge reading for that race was 0.0. Flat calm.
More in a while.