Ruben (web), Scott (Cardigan store), Nathan (Accounts), Peter (The boss) and me went down to the Endurance Life running race in Little Haven, just down the coast from us on Saturday. Peter and Nathan ran the 10k (10.8K) and the rest of us ran the 1/2 marathon (16 miles!).
A simply run great event. Get there. Get a number. Get ready. Get a briefing. Get a timing chip. Get in the queue. Get running.
Once I tagged out it was off up the steep steps to the start of the coastal path.
Scott ahead and Ruben behind. I had been ill for two weeks so I was not sure I could do the distance or whether my body would. I took a steady tapping out climbing pace up the first steep climbs, then on the downhills loosen the hips, use the thighs and let go and just fly.
The path undulated for a few miles and once warm I started to sweat salt water. It ran in my eyes so I could not see the trail. I was also in the early part of the run descending into the pain of the task I'd set me.
I was loosing heart as I was passed by the faster boys. Then remembered it was me who had set me the task. I wanted to run this. It's always mile 5 that I hate. Where I want to give up, go home, rest, the wife to appear in the car. But it's the bit after that I love.
The part where you have to over come the doubt, not worry about how much is left, forget the other runners, relax into the exhaustion and just run your own race.
I crossed fields, skimmed styles, dabbed over the wet bits, ran as fast as my little legs would spin on the downs, tip toed the church lawn, touched the electric fence. I looked for seals on all the beaches, I held the gate open for the person I was running near, I rejoiced at over taking the bloke who lost me at the start and hated the woman who slowly disappeared out of sight on the road hill. Every red top was possibly Ruben on the scent, I descended into despair at 5 miles and got pins and needle all over and lifted spirits when my sons favourite song hit the play list, I regretted breaking early for home and I cramped the last two uphils. I wished for it to end early, I blistered, sprinted and nearly gagged to the finish.
Against me, I had come first.
And then it was done. Concrete legs, the soles of my feet bruised, near to throwing up, sweat soaked, hand shakes, give the timing chip back in return for a drink, loads of smiles, chatted to those previously silent competitors, drunk tea, clapped, got cold, waited for the rest to finish and felt the empty feeling of no regret.
I could not have gone one second faster.
I had run my own perfect race. 37th. 16 miles. 2hrs 29
Ruben my nemesis ran in.
Then Scott roared home looking, as he always does, happy.
If you run, come here next year and run.