Tonight I ran a time tribulation. That’s like a time trial, only much worse! I had a really crap day. I was totally unproductive. My boss was in a bad mood. She then pissed me off as I was walking out the door. I left my running kit at home so I had to make my way home in peak hour traffic and then rush to the club for the time trial. I disappointed my son on the way out the door and then I forgot my Garmin watch at home! So as I hurried up to the start of the time trial, I was in a dreadful mood. On top of it all, Chrissie had to work late and so I was embarking on this time tribulation on my own. I like to run on my own, but it’s great to run with Chrissie because she helps to chat all my cares away. What a great friend!
So, I’m there. I’m sulking. And then I was running. I hate running on grass. Always have. Always will. RAC’s time trial route starts and ends on about 300m of grass. I bitch about it every week when I run with Chrissie. Tonight I had no-one to bitch to, but by the time the grass ran out and the gravel began, I was done. I’d had enough of this day and I was going home.
I moved over to the left, out of everyone’s way, stopped, turned around and began strolling back to the clubhouse. Then I stopped and stared at the gravel. I stared at the next part of the time trial route. I stared at the gravel. I stared at the car guard. I watched as the last of the back markers passed by and I stood vacillating. And then I started running again. I wasn’t happy. I was still grumpy and I was still intent on giving up. But I was catching up with some of the people that had passed me as I stood vacillating. And then I heard him. Tapping up behind me. I hate that sound. I hate the quick small footsteps of a running machine coming up behind me to just obliterate me. And this particular machine has done this to me several times. I think he seeks me out and relishes the humiliation he dishes out. Unbeknown to us before a few months ago, we’ve actually had a connection for many many years. You see his parents play bowls with my parents. He went to the same school as my brothers and he played hockey with one or both of my brothers. So technically, we’ve known each other forever. The first time I encountered Duncan was on the very first day I started my journey from the couch to Comrades. I was running down a hill outside my house and I heard the tapping coming up behind me. He was running with a CamelBak on his back so obviously he was on a pretty lengthy run. Where I live is probably on the tail end of that long run and he was running faster than my fastest run even now. And tonight that familiar tapping came up behind me. Duncan greeted me and sped past me. I was demoralised and started walking. I wasn’t even on the bloody road yet and I’d managed to give up once and walk once. Not even 500 metres into a time trial and I was in an abysmal mood. I started running again, grumbling to myself and almost took the short cut back to the club house.
And then I ran. I ran all the way except for a 50 metre downhill. I ran all the treacherous hills and I ambled along nicely on the flats. I should tell you, however, that there are no real flats in the RAC time trial. I have heard a well respected running nutrition expert – and a respectable ultra-maronther in his own right – refer to the RAC time trial as “the worst fucking time trial in the country”. I ran a great time of 33:20 for 5km, including the vacillating. That’s pretty close to my best 5km time so I’m very chuffed. My day has improved drastically. My son has forgiven me and prepared a fantastic meal of steak, egg, chips and peri-peri (the well-respected running nutrition expert would mostly approve).
Yours in the love of running and the overcoming of tribulations.