Segment

August 16th 2016

Today I’m struggling to walk. I played five-a-side tonight and some bastard kicked me in the leg, and I’m not altogether convinced that it wasn’t on purpose. I think he was frustrated because my team had scored more goals than his team. Such is life. I just hobbled downstairs to put some savlon on my bruise, and I had to hop one legged to get down. My Dad’s emergency first aid kit contains solely savlon and vitamin C tablets.

The man has yet to discover an ailment that cannot be healed by a combination of Savlon and Vitamic C. If my house set on fire my Dad would run out holding savlon because it’d soothe our burns and Vitamin C because it’d stop us coughing.

I hate to give him any form of credit for this, but my leg does feel better since I’ve savlonned it. Which is good, because I need my leg. I’ve been running through various injuries and pains this week, but tonight’s one could’ve put me out of action if I didn’t get the savlon on in time.

My running habit has evolved and developed since starting my new job, and the social aspect of it has brought out a side of me that I didn’t know I had. Competitiveness. Everyone likes to win, but it’s never been overly important to me because I could accept that there were some things that people were better than me at.

Because I now run with the aid of the Strava running app, I can compete in ‘segments’ which are basically little races between two GPS locations that Strava picks up and compares your time with other people who have ran that specific segment. Today I was encouraged to have my first proper crack at a segment.

This specific one was 450 metres long, a straight path between one gate and another. Nobody else did it with me, but I was pushed to run it as fast as I could. It took me 92 seconds. I wasn’t sure if that was good, but when I checked the app later it was the 11th fastest out of 158 people who have attempted that segment. I was happy with that.

I wouldn’t say that things like that have ever been important to me before, but when I looked at the times around me in the leaderboard, I mentally ticked off the ones that I could’ve bettered that would’ve put me in the top 1o. “Well, I did slow up a bit towards the end.” “Well, I wasn’t great going over that hill.”

At the track on Thursday it became very important to me to win at least one of the races. There were six races. 3x300m, and 3x400m. And they most definitely aren’t races. It’s practice, according to Arthur, the 66 year old instructor who can run 5k in 18 minutes. For the first four races I practiced, and came second in each one. Not pushing myself. I calculated that the guy who’d won all four so far was tiring more rapidly than I was, and I thought I’d be able to take him for pace if I really went for it. So on the fifth race I went for it on the last 100 metres and tried to sprint past him. “It’s like that is it?” he said, and sprinted off to take the fifth win.

It had fatigued him though, and I told him that was all part of my plan, to tire him out and take him on the last race. And I did that. He was knackered and I beat him by eight seconds over 400m to take my first track day race win (even though they definitely are not races) 

And I was really quite happy that I’d won one. Because I’m not used to that. I’ve never excelled at sport so I’ve never had that competitive edge required for it. I only really get competitive when I play golf, and that’s because I am actually reasonably good and usually have a chance of winning – but don’t. But maybe now I’ve found something I’m at least not fucking awful at, this competitivity that has crept out of me will spur me on a bit.

Until tomorrow, if this Savlon works, that is.

Jacn

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