In the Summer of 2010, at the age of 40, I decided it was time to try to become a serious runner. I’d been running on and off, but mostly off, since I was 10 or 11. I was never fast but it would probably be fair to say that running is the one sport at which I have actually underachieved. Everything else I’ve dabbled in – football, squash, golf, tennis, badminton, cricket, pool, snooker, darts – has had nothing to do with underachievement. I am at best very average at these activities, but mostly I’m just rubbish.
And so I decided to devote a bit more effort to running and between August 2010 and July 2011 I managed to achieve a reasonable level of fitness, even run close to eight minute mile pace in very short bursts, and find some pleasure in what is essentially a slightly mad thing to want to do. It wasn’t easy and I did not really push myself as far as pace was concerned, usually preferring extra slower miles than fewer faster ones, but I felt better for it, even if my general dietary habits (eating and drinking far too much of everything) meant that my general physique remained largely unchanged.
At the time of creating this blog in August 2011, the time had come for a more determined approach to going for, and enjoying, a regular run and, maybe, just maybe, achieving what often seems like the improbable goal of running mile after mile at eight minute pace.
Like all great personal achievement tales with lashings of inspirational and motivational qualities, I actually managed what I’d set out to achieve. In March 2012 I ran a half marathon and completed the first 10 miles just under 8 minute mile pace. But like all good stories, I left room for a sequel. In fact I left far too much room – the passage of time, the increasing waistline and the failure to as yet sign-up to a midlife crisis, spurred me on to a re-launch.