Although I’m not massively competitive with my running, I do like to push and make better times, it’s all part of the refusing to accept I’m getting older and should be doing more genteel exercise as befits a personage of my advanced years.
I can’t be doing with the faffing of one of those giant GPS watch/monitor/television screen that most runners have, for a start, they are bigger than my arm and then there’s all the buttons and beepy things. I’ve all on to remember to wear my steam-powered watch and when I do, to remember to start it. Remembering to press the ‘stop’ at the end is a rare bonus, though I can’t see the tiny numbers of the screen without my glasses and I can’t be carrying those as well. So I stick to mental arithmetic.
Usually race distances are in kilometres, I guess we feel we’ve achieved more with 10km as opposed to 6.2miles. So setting off at my usual sedate pace on the Harewood Eight Mile Trail Race, I reckoned I’d be lucky to do anything faster than a 12-minute mile, which is around seven minutes a kilometre. Doing the sums in my head as I run keeps me on my toes, so when I passed the ‘1’ marker at 7.30 minutes, I knew it couldn’t be a mile, I can’t run that fast, so I assumed it was a kilometre.
Chuntering about the very cheek of changing to metric and making a mental note to have it out with the organisers at the end, I did more calculations and came to the very grumpy conclusion that I was slower than the slowest-moving creature on the planet, though that didn’t explain why there were others behind me, my they must have been miffed too, I thought.
I was quite surprised to find a water station at the ‘4’ marker, though slightly concerned that, according to my inbuilt km to miles converter, I still had eight to go, though of course there would be another water station, maybe with cake. Never mind, onward and upward, thought. By this time I was doing 12-minute kms , which didn’t bode well for the half marathon we’re doing next weekend.
So convinced was I that the organisers had had a metric moment and carried out conversions without telling anyone, that I assumed that when I reached the ‘7’ mark there was another lap to do. Strange, I thought, I know this trail with the hell-of-a-hill at the end, it’s very naughty of them to make us run it all again. I’ll be having words.
I called out to the marshal, asking if we really had only done 7km. He looked at me as if I was an idiot. I’m used to that. Err, no, he said, the finish is just around the corner, they were indeed mile markers, I was wonderfully, gloriously wrong and the organisers were right. Who knew?
Oh happy day, I even celebrated with a sprint finish, though couldn’t bring myself to storm past the lady infront,, so I yelled at her that I was on her heels, by gum that got her moving! Maybe I should look at getting one of those Garmin thingies, but then again, I do like the element of surprise in my running, and it keeps my mental arithmetic going too.
Oh and don’t ask me what time I did – I forgot to stop my watch.