This morning was the Seaford Striders annual Mince Pie Race (with Janathoner marshal Tom Roper), described as being…
… ten miles long, undulating, with one quite testing hill at around six miles. It is approximately 6 miles off road on farm tracks and bridleways, while the remaining 4 miles are on reasonably quiet roads. It is therefore not suitable for cross country spikes, however ordinary running shoes are usually fine, with a waffle sole probably being the best for traction.
So last night, I dug out my trail shoes, put them in a bag by my Garmin, race number and other paraphenalia and fell into bed.
After a restless night’s sleep*, I dragged myself out of bed, inhaled some breakfast, grabbed my stuff and jumped into my car…
…only to realise as I arrived in Peacehaven that my shoes were still in a bag by the front door.
I didn’t have time to go home to retrieve them, so I had two choices: ditch the race, or run in my driving shoes. Tempted though I was to take the hint and head home, I opted to run in my shoes… very old, well worn vivos with next to no remaining tread.
What could possibly go wrong? Granted, I’d never run more than a mile in them before (the wear and tear is from walking, not running). And any move from standard to minimalist shoes should be done gradually. And bits of the course would be stony. And other bits muddy. And other bits joined together with puddles. But apart from that, it was the obvious decision, right?
I ditched my original plan to run HARD!!!! (one of the easier decisions I have ever made), slowed to a tentative tiptoe for the muddier sections, gloried in the grassy downhill at mile five, pootled up the hill at mile six, picked my way over rocks and pebbles, and even managed a sprint for the line. True, my calves may complain tomorrow, but I’m sure I can foam roll them into submission. Tonight, I’m adding my new medal to my haul and relaxing with a glass of wine.
*Was that the alarm? No. It’s 3am. Oh. Was *that* the alarm? No. It’s 3:30am. Oh. Was **that** the alarm? No. It’s 4:45am… [Repeat until 30 mins before the alarm goes off. Fall into deep sleep.]