After about three weeks of just slightly more than zilch running I had a very gentle run up and down the hills and mud of the clubs Festive Forest at Blairadam which was postponed from December on the 26th February, it gave my duff Achilles tendon a good stretch without aggravating it, I went to the club training last week and gave a gentle effort to the sessions, my tendon was still tight, I ran cautiously but giving it a wee test, it feels loads better but I don’t want to undo any healing by battering out at the Smokies 10 also I wasn’t sure of my fitness since I’ve also had a wee chesty cough which I thought was perfect timing, if I wasn’t running due to a wee injury I might as well not be running with a wee illness at the same time, two birds with one stone so to speak.
I set off happy that what ever happened during the race it would still be better than last years painful plod with a bad back slightly spaced out on painkillers. I kept a short easy stride so as not to stress my tendon but felt I was working with a slightly higher leg turnover then my usual. I then got an image in my head of William Sichel with his easy, economical and very effective style. That’s it, I thought, I’ll do William. So I focussed on my form, keeping my posture upright and relaxed, an easy short stride with minimal movement. I didn’t push the effort but concentrated on the cadence. I’ve used this technique of adopting the style of a top runner before, many years ago while running The Two Bridges I had the long loping legs of Liz McColgan, I didn’t bother with her humfy shoulders though. It was working well until I caught my shuffle butt reflection in a bus shelter at Bo’ness and that spoiled my delusion! There are no bus shelters on the Smokies 10 route so it worked beautifully, a good steady 10 miles without stressing myself, doubt I could keep it up for another 990 miles though!
Afterwards the tea, rolls and cakes were in abundance and the goody bag was of its usual high standard, a wee bottle of wine, t-shirt, shower gel, cereal bar, crisps and a bottle of water always good value with an entry fee of around £12. I also had the bonus of a technical t-shirt as a spot prize. Pauline said that this was her 20th Smokies, I have missed a few so I think it was my 17th. A visit to Arbroath isn’t complete until we’ve stopped at the fish shop to buy Smokies for tea, a great day out.
I hope Mr Sichel doesn’t have a patent on his style, I think I’ll do a William again.