23 February 2007

Last Friday of the Month

Whatever damage, physical or psychological, the Sussex Beacon Half might have done to me, I had to run the Last Friday 5K in Hyde Park. Several weeks ago, I'd received a letter from a Canadian trade mark lawyer friend, Sylvie, who was going to be in London for a conference: she asked if I might be available to meet for tea or coffee: I counter-proposed that we do the race.
I should make it clear that I know Sylvie from participating in the International Trademarks Asssociation's annual 5K race, so my suggestion was not as outlandish as it might seem. I invited colleagues and other running partners, and ended up with a group of five, two of whom then dropped out with different ailments leaving Andrew H as the third and last member of the group. At least the balance between clients or contacts and the home team - two to one - was appropriate for a firm-funded client entertaining exercise.
We took a cab to Hyde Park Corner rather than turn up worn out by a sprint from the office (my usual opening mistake), and I showed Sylvie the map of the route that had come with our numbers. We didn't hear the announcements at the start (we were in the B race - expected time 21 minutes or more - and not anxious to start that from the front) so when the route carried on past the designated lamp post where it always turns left, towards Speakers' Corner, I was unprepared.
Sylvie began by threatening to disappear into the distance, but faded before we reached Speakers' Corner. At Lancaster Gate, where the route took a ninety-degree left turn, Andrew and I looked for her; she was a couple of hundred yards behind, and cheerily returned my wave. After that, Andrew faded a bit too, although while I waited at the finish line he managed to get past me and creep up from behind. He reckoned he was some 300 yards adrift. Sylvie appeared a couple of minutes later, acknowledged the two of us but failed to spot the finish line, stopping twenty yards beyond it when she encountered another stationary competitor who was able to confirm for her that she had indeed finished.
I forgot my watch (which has taken to sounding unasked-for alarms at odd times, and therefore requires banishment beyond earshot) so I had no indication of my time, but however long it took me it felt like a well-paced run, and I didn't aggravate my knee injury. (It tutned out the time was 22:29.)

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