JUST when I was about to retire from running and take up darts, I ran a personal best.
It was a parkrun 5km PB, and it was extra special because it’s taken me a year and three weeks (yes, a year and three weeks) to do it!
You can understand why I was on the verge of retirement. For weeks and weeks, I have been training hard – intervals, speed, tempo, threshold, small hills, bigger hills, long runs, strength conditioning, reducing chocolate intake, reducing cake intake. You name it, I’ve done it. All in an attempt to get my fitness back.
But the fitness just wouldn’t come. Off to parkrun I went, only to return home disappointed at my slowness. All the effort I’ve been putting in and I was struggling to get under 21 minutes for a 5km parkrun.
Cue the chuntering. ‘WHY aren’t I running better?’ I asked Chris. ‘Why am I so unfit?’
I mean, it was so unfair. I was working as hard as I possibly could. No sessions had been missed. I was pushing myself in training. I’d run round the track so many times I got dizzy.
‘Why am I so unfit? Why? Why? Why?’
Chris took a deep breath. ‘It’ll come,’ he said. ‘It’ll come.’
But it wasn’t coming. It wasn’t coming at all.
After the frustration, the doubt set in. Perhaps I would never get back to my best. Perhaps I was too old. Perhaps I needed another sport.
‘Maybe I should take up darts.’ I thought it was a good idea. I’ve always fancied playing darts. I love watching it on telly. ‘Perhaps I could be a world darts champion?’
I was actually rather taken with the whole idea. Then, on the day I was popping to Argos to buy myself a dart board, I only went and ran a personal best. And not just a small personal best either. I knocked off 27 seconds, running 20:09 on an off-road, uphill (ish) course.
It felt good. When I crossed the line and looked at my watch. What a feeling! All that hard work had paid off. FINALLY!
‘I told you it would come,’ Chris said.
‘It’s about time.’ I must have set a world record for the slowest return to fitness ever. But that doesn’t matter, because I got there eventually. And that meant one thing.
To celebrate we went out for a curry and bought a big chocolate cake. I forgot all about the dart board.