|Hamish, my Heb Half Nemesis|
It was all that dratted Ewen Rennie’s fault. He posted a picture on Facebook – a picture taken at a hill running training camp somewhere near Crieff and somewhere in the region of 18 years ago when I was young, enthusiastic and loved hill running. Looking at the picture it dawned on me that I hadn’t raced in over 5 months, unheard for me apart from during a bad bout of plantar fasciitis 3 years ago and what was worse, even getting out of the door for a run was getting progressively harder.
Now I’ve noticed that there is a difference between not going running and NOT RUNNING. Not going running describes the odd day when a training run is missed due to pressures of work/ pressures of life/niggly injury/ feeling poorly/stinking hangover/just can’t be arsed and is generally followed by a week of doubly hard training fuelled by guilt and self loathing.
NOT RUNNING is what happens when not going running goes unchecked. At first it’s a day or two of missed training for no good reason, then a week or two and before you know it you are NOT RUNNING. You have to be careful as it’s a sneaky thing, it creeps up on you and is dangerously comfortable.
A year on from my Himalayan odyssey and I found myself gazing forlornly at that photo taken 18 years ago and realising now that I was most definitely NOT RUNNING. I’m not entirely sure why really, maybe the upshot of a disappointing year where I haven’t made it to the start line of many events that I intended to do and those that I did manage were mediocre attempts at best leaving me wondering if it was worth the bother. Life was at times seriously getting in the way of training. Maybe it was a post Himalaya reaction, after all racing in the Himalayas makes most other things rather dull in comparison..
After enough pointless analysing it was most definitely time to extract a digit, after all I love running….don’t I?
So what was it to be? Training wasn’t working so how about racing at the weekend. How about a 2 mile cross country race? The 5 hour round trip was a tad off putting, maybe justifiable when fit but at the moment…? How about Meall a Tarmachan? A munro so likely to be big, rough and difficult. Maybe next year. How about The Pentland Skyline? Forget it. And then I spotted it…perfect…the Aberdeen Parkrun. 5k on road, a few friendly faces to chat to and, if the weather gods played ball and kept the usual beachfront hurricane at bay (they did), it shouldn’t be too traumatic.
It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty but it wasn’t too traumatic and I didn’t feel the need to take Ewen’s name in vain once during the race. It was a slow start and I had to pick my way past rows of children, dogs and octogenarians who had started in front of me and it was over relatively quickly although I’d have been happier if it had been a minute and a half more quickly. During the race I had spotted Geoff up ahead but hadn’t spotted Hamish, my heb half nemesis until I had finished.
After a nervous moment where my “barcode” had disintegrated in my sweaty hand and wouldn’t scan it was off for coffee and birthday cake to celebrate Aberdeen Parkrun’s second birthday. A fine way to spend a morning, this running lark isn’t really so bad. I wonder whats on next weekend…?