There’s two things certain about my Juneathon (and Janathon) adventures: the definition of exercise will always be stretched to breaking point and there will always be at least one post featuring the speediest runner I know personally.
One of my closest friends is a runner. Like me, he came to running late in his life. Unlike me, he is bloody quick.
This is a man who started his competitive running career at the age of 30, winning his first race (becoming Oxfordshire County Champion in the process) with a 33:16 10k. He then went on to run sub 15 minute 5ks, sub 31 10ks and won pretty much every road and cross country race Oxfordshire has to offer!
So I am always honoured when I get a call to say he’s got time to catch up and fancies going for a run with me. With me! He’ll have to hold himself back so much he’ll probably think he’s walking.
Well, it was a perfect morning today. The sun was shining, the ground was dry and there was a pleasantly cool touch to the air. Steve had plotted a multi-terrain 8-ish mile course out of Witney and into the countryside. I enjoy getting out of the town, even on a sleepy Sunday morning.
This wouldn’t be my normal Sunday long run but I knew that. I’d look to keep to 5 minute kilometres to ensure I didn’t bore my running guest. Easier said than done with my Thursday race still whispering in my quads!
I love running on my own but it’s lovely to share a run with other people sometimes. I could just about hold a conversation with the chattiest man I know and hold on to that target pace. A couple of hills tested my quads but concentrating on engaging my core and activating my glutes not only distracted me but felt great.
On our return to Witney, it was like we’d found a different town. The sleepy, almost silent town we left an hour previously was a hubbub of activity. As we wound round for the last couple of kilometres my legs were starting to get heavy. I released Steve to open up and stretch his legs. He’s the only person I love to watch glide away from me when I’m running. It always amazes me how effortless his speed is.
When he looped back to me I was suffering from a bit of a stitch but was soon back up to pace for the final downhill kilometre home.
I opened up opened my own throttle, using gravity to assist, and just about, for a split second, got up to a speed that Steve would hold for 10 kilometres. It’s ridiculously quick!
It’s now time to kick back and relax on a sunny Sunday with good food, some drink and plenty of sport on the TV to give us reason to get some shade every now and again.