Saturday 15 September 2018

One day one photo - 15: One day two running races

Saturday was a busy day for me. I left my house by bike and rode over to Wimbledon Park where I raced in the Surrey Road Relay Championships. Then I rode across London to Sparrows Den fields near West Wickham, and raced in the Will Bolton Cross Country Relays. Both races were roughly 4.5km and undulating, both were with my second-claim club, South London Harriers. One was on-road, one was off-road. Then I had a quick drink with my team-mates and rode home.

I slept well! As you can see from the photo, which is of our team at the Will Bolton Relays, I am not fully dressed to race. I had just arrived from Wimbledon at the time. There was only one other person as crazy as me to do the double - that was Ruth Hutton, pictured next to me. She had the good sense to drive across though, so was able to preserve her legs and do two very fast runs.

Why did I do two races in one day? I just saw it as a challenge. I have recently ramped up my run training, wanting to take it up a gear, so I thought that doing these two races would be a good challenge and also a way of making me stronger for future challenges, such as the Beachy Head marathon, which I am hoping to do next month.

The other thing is part of the mid-life crisis. I am conscious of the fact that in less than 6 months I will be 50 years old. I can hardly believe I have come this far! Things do get harder physically as you get older - you are more prone to lifestyle problems such as high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. You also need time to recover from physical efforts. About 10 or 15 years ago doing two races in a day would have been no big deal for me. But with age I had grown to feel this was possible any more. About a year ago, if I did a fast time at the 5km Park run on a Saturday I would need the whole day to recover! I was having to realise that I am no longer the athlete that I used to be. 

So with the sustained run training I have been doing this year I wanted to see if it really was still possible to do two fast 5km running races in a day with bike riding in between. And in fact, I seem to have passed the test. The time I did for the Wimbledon race was faster than what I did last year as well. So it is reassuring to think that maybe my fitness levels may not have declined as much as I thought. But I probably will sleep a lot longer, and I guess my legs will need a deeper and longer massage! 

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