Fear and Loathing on the Taff Trail

ralph-steadman-fear-and-loathing-in-las-vegas_i-g-22-2244-qc4zd00zI was somewhere around the 2k mark, on the edge of the river Taff when the lactic acid began to take hold…

I remember thinking something like “7:46 for 2k… Holy Jesus, way too fast man, you’re going to blow!”

Suddenly there was footfalls behind me and the course was full of what looked like fast runners – all huffing and puffing around me.

And a voice was screaming “Hey San Dom – keep up”

“Did you say something?”… Never mind, it’s your turn to pace me… No point mentioning the lactic acid, I thought. The poor bastard’ll feel it soon enough.

I had a pair of Nike Free 3.0’s complete with Lock Laces, a couple of Compressport calf guards with colour-co-ordinated Injini socks, 5” Nike tempo shorts, my new San Domenico club vest and a whole host of technology including a Garmin GPS watch and heart rate monitor.

… Not that I needed all this for the race you understand – but once you get locked into a serious running paraphenalia collection the tendancy is to push it as far as you can…

The only thing that worried me was the Garmin… There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of a Garmin pacing binge…

and I knew I’d get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.

2km to go…

“Are you the one with the 20:11 PB” Alistair shouted “Yes” I gasped back…
“We’ll smash that today – keep up, you’re the same age as me” he replied…
“Wait till you feel that goddam lactic acid, man” I thought…

1km to go…
and I look at my Garmin…
“Leave the timing to me – just keep up” Alistair shouts at me…

My heart feels like it’s going to burst from my chect, eyes on stalks, snot dribbling from every orifice… lungs burning, lactic acid corroding my legs like sulphuric acid

“400 metres marker, one lap round the track – think PB”
My legs take on a new life and I edge ahead… going for glory…

…Whooosh – Alistair flies past in the last few metres and I arrive a second later, scarlet faced and gasping and hit the “STOP” button on the Garmin

When my vision returns… I look down…

19:18…

Pure Gonzo :-)

Footnote: I wrote this blog a couple of years ago and have been reminded of it recently when people have commented that they can’t write about short races – and that my blogs are generally about epic 10-30 hour events… A 5k event can be as emotional and memorable as a 100-mile race through the mountains….

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