I'm just 3 days into my annual week-long end-of-season break, and already I'm itching to get back into training.
The season ended with another season best at the Alexander Stadium on Saturday evening, as I ran under 11 minutes for the 3,000m steeplechase for the first time since June 2004. At the time it didn't seem like a very big deal. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed not to run a personal best. I didn't feel particularly sharp, and I know that my hurdling wasn't as fluid as it's been all season. Some hours later though I realised what I've achieved this season. I'm not world class by any stretch of the imagination, but after seven years of struggling to get back to fitness, I'm finally running the sort of times that I did when I was 25. The only bad race I ran all season was the 400m hurdles race that I tried to squeeze between two steeplechases two weekends ago. I feel like I belong on the starting line now, and I'm really enjoying racing. And I've managed it despite the anemia, dog bite, and other little injuries, and the moving home and job. My 91st place finish at the Northern Cross Country Championships in January seems like a lifetime ago. In fact it feels like a different person. I'm glad I didn't quit that day.
Before I get too carried away, I realise that my PB in the steeplechase is quite a weak one and was ran in a race where I ran the first half way too fast. I am by no means world class. But I know that I am getting into the sort of shape that I can do myself and my talent justice, and hopefully next season I can set a personal best that is a true reflection of my ability. Right now I feel that nothing would give me greater pleasure.
This blog was never intended to be about my training. But part of the reason for me quitting work last year was to get back into my running, and hopefully those who have been following my blogs for the past year and a half (how can it be that long?), will appreciate what this means to me. I like to refer to it as 'sharing the joy'; you may have your own opinion.
So where to from here? Well I have a week off work next week, so I will be updating the website, adding some blogs for those interested in running, and making plans for the months ahead. Then I will hopefully getting my annual leave request for next year signed off, every minute of which will involve altitude training, with a view to getting the research for the book done and dusted. And that means that soon Egan's Adventures will be all about my travels again, just as it was born to be.
And best of all, I get back into training next week. First up for the new season will be a half marathon. I can't wait!