I followed the female runner at a distance. Her style was not what you might call elegant or smooth but it was effective at propelling her in a forward direction and required me to move beyond walking pace. At what point she appeared in front of me I have no recollection but I was sure I would soon be alongside and then passing her, what with her slightly awkward gait and the obviously slow pace she was setting. The distance between us however remained constant for several hundred metres until she crossed the road and made her way back along the other side. As we passed I was horrified to see that the female in question was at least 20, maybe thirty or more, years my senior. Not that I have anything against ‘old’ people running. What concerned me was that I had been unable to catch-up with the lady in question.
In my defence it was only my second run after five weeks, three courses of antibiotics and a hospital visit with a chest infection. Those five weeks were not supposed to be like that. As a school teacher I’m lucky enough to have the last part of July and all of August to do what the hell I like (wife and kids permitting of course). During this summer’s ‘big’ holiday I was going to be pushing my running to a new level – ensuring that I could consistently train at nine minute mile pace for distances of up to at least 10 miles. I’d even looked forward to running 10 miles at 6,000 feet plus while spending a couple of weeks in Tenerife.
However, this has not been the case. Five consecutive days of ‘running’ in the Canarian sun this week have seen me progress from a sort of shuffle (not, as I discovered, conducive to catching pensionable ladies) to, finally today, a sub-10 minute mile average for a three mile run. Even today’s outing though saw me in pursuit of what I judged from a distance was a sleek athlete jogging along carrying what I assumed was his shirt in the morning heat. Fortunately, to save me the indignity of celebrating (silently of course) as I passed him, he turned-off just before I drew level. It was only at this point that I realised he was also many years my senior and was, in fact, carrying a bag of shopping! While I’m regaining my fitness, it seems that my eyesight is deteriorating. I’ll blame the bright sun for now.