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ASICS 10k and that...

"A blog that loses momentum quicker than I did at Sri Chinmoy" - Andrew Georgeson


“It feels,” future second-place woman Anya Culling said, as we trudged into a pen - which in retrospect, had an elite sign tagged underneath the general A number pen just for ease, and that the two were separate entities, but my Insta story had been up for 8 hours by this point so I couldn’t take it down - “it feels like we’re going to war.”


Anya was right. We had sat and drawn on our arms beforehand; our battle cries, our mantras, filled in the little space for our names on the front of our bibs like dog tags for identification, wishing my parents had thought of a less middle-England name than Andrew. I am such an Andrew in personality and otherwise it hurts and moreover it isn’t intimidating my opponents. Jakob, or something, maybe would have done it.


But anyway, we were like the Normans the night before Hastings. Drinking, singing, praying to their gods and sharpening their axes, talking of battles gone by; thinking of love and loss, that our maker’s hand was guiding this. This is the ultimate reality, Dulce et decorum est Pro patria -


“Wait,” the peasant drafted into war on some unknown marshy land against a Saxon foe they would never really see the benefit of killing said. “You’re telling me there’s hills in this battle? HILLS. I mean, how big are these hills? Okay, Okay, so only two hills…wait what. Bends, too? How many? FIVE. I have to go around a little cone near Soho?! Next thing you’ll be telling me this isn’t on Power of Te - WHAT. Where the FUCK is William, we need to talk to him. You know what guys, never mind, this doesn’t sound like a PB War. I’m just going to take it easy. And to be honest, it sounds like we’re going to have to go and put down a few rebellions next week, and a few of them sound more like a PB battle I can full send it at. I’ll save myself for then.”


So we continued to prepare for our war across the rolling hills of our mile-high capital, cracking cans of water for some reason that I still can’t work out other than the race being in London.


The one thing I think about really heavily sponsored races is that it’s weird people still sponsor these things for distances people universally dislike.


Imagine attaching your name to someone’s worst fears. A living nightmare. The metal in your throat. The goosebumps on your neck.


Your deep-seated insecurity when around southern, overly-confident men in their 20s from like Bath, who people laugh at despite their lack of humour or general personality or jokes in the notes section on their phone which prove I̶ ̶a̶m̶ they are funny, just quit shy: sponsored by Waitrose. The Chokey from Mathilda: sponsored by Ryman’s Stationary. The Boggarts from Harry Potter: sponsored by George by Asda.


So on a similar note, the year’s biggest free advert for Nike Vaporflys - the Asics London 10k - was underway.


Problem is with a lot of central London running is that despite literal satellites orbiting this world of ours; stealing our information, tracking our every movement, you still can’t get a dot of GSP at the start line.


800 metres go past, I look down at my watch: 4.40k pace. Right. Okay. We’re doing this, aren’t we? Running ‘to feel’. When the only ‘feel’ running provides is often ‘bad’, it can be a tricky one. Fifty British Sterling for this.



The benefit to running up and down in straight lines to prove you have lots of personality is you see your friends a lot. Rhys and Nick smacking it, Dan and Catherine on content, your boss from work. You get to shout vague platitudes at them every time. Looking good, Rhys. Go on, Rhys. Looking smooth, Rhys. Nice one, Rhys. Sounding more and more like Wheezy from Toy Story before he gets the new voice box, if he’d skulled ten Guinness the night before.


The problem with running and up and down in straight lines to prove you have lots of personality is you see your friends who can pace themselves better than you can a lot. Sam’s definitely closing in, you start to worry about her seven K in. Definitely-not-a-runner Teebz, wearing a beer vest for his first race in a move critics are calling Le Flex, is there or thereabouts.


And, of course, Anya has already passed you on Embankment. Come on AG, she says. You politely decline. The rest of the race from there is a bit of a blur from there but you distinctly remember hearing Anya’s name being called out over the PA on the home straight that she was second woman, and that she will have presumably have had enough time to sign that contract with a pre-workout brand before you even cross the line.


So PBs and flat whites on tap, sipping away like a cult who have made a pact to catch the next comet around Victoria station. But most importantly it was Rachel’s birthday and she made 42 cupcakes, which is about as many Ks as my faulty GPS was claiming I had ran by the end of the race.



Exitlude


So the battle was won but the war not over; as Natalie and Pat were among the people to go again in midweek, running a silly quick times around Battersea Motorspeedway, while I headed down to Wimbledon to race the Hercules 3k races. I’m fairly sure Hercules just sacked it off 2k into his journey through Hedes too as it was A Bit Warm.


And, finally, we made it to Saturday. The third race of the week for me. Anecdotes, hamstrings and serotonin all running quite low as I swallowed a Maurten, not even chewing at this point, just smacking it whole like a snake eating a rabbit, as chewing seemed an excessive waste of energy.


Anya, Marcus and Vigi all set out on the sub-35 train, driven by our wonderful leader Nick. We learn a lot from the big man, but today the lesson was about what not to post on social media as half the race decided to jump on his initial four-person pacing job, March of the Penguins style, after an Instagram story the evening before.


Luckily for me, I was only catching said train for around three or four stops before falling off at a pretty dramatic rate, so got to watch the cluster of penguins plug away in the harsh conditions from about the same distance as David Attenborough doing voice-overs on his documentaries.


Most of the train got closer than I, who was, to keep the Attenborough theme up, like a baby elephant you watch trying to cross the desert before deciding ‘yeah, that one’s not gonna make it.’ Clippity Culling’s hot-streak continues as she smacked through the 35 minute barrier and made it to the waterhole on the other side.


So three races; 0 PBs, and 23k run. All excellent training for that marathon I’ve got coming up in October.


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