WHAT: 10x1m relay
WHERE: City, London
WHEN: 17th September
My immediate reaction was to swear. I normally hold back on bad language to preserve its power but this seemed like a worthy occasion to unleash its full effect. I'd spent the best part of three months training my body to move slowly and reserve enough energy to travel for hours on end. Now, suddenly, I'd forced it round the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay as part of a team of ten and it hurt!
I had, of course, felt the wheezing burn of running a single mile before – it hurt then, too. This one had an added element of stress, though. If you were slow, you were affecting the race result of nine other runners. When I met up with my teammates, not one mentioned they wanted to try and win (good job) or that they were aiming for a time but somehow the thought of short distances panic me.
It wasn't until I was fully hydrated and fed with complementary post-race treats that I realised the race was actually fun. After all, it was hard to stay grumpy surrounded by increasingly more merry runners whilst eating salted caramel peanut butter dessert.
The route wasn't dull by any means. We were sent winding round streets, up steps, down steps and round spiralling ramps. The quick changes in direction meant you couldn't go full pelt – the perfect excuse for a slower time. If you were gunning for speed, there was plenty of support along the mile to keep you going.
There was also plenty of competition. With over 100 teams, there was the odd shoulder budge for some space in the narrower parts of the course and some competitive handrail grabbing to fling round the course faster but this just helped to distract from the pain of running too fast.
So I apologies for my outburst. Next time (because I think there will be a next time) I'll try to embrace the speed...and maybe stick my elbows out a little wider.