05 October 2012


Contemplating taking a rare holiday somewhere warm before the winter set in, we were inspired by seeing Kirani James win Grenada's first Oympic medal. Truly. He made a great impression when at the end of one of his races he asked Oscar Pistorius to swap bibs with him - clearly feeling honoured to have been in the Blade Runner's first, historic, Olympic race. The people of his country are justifiably proud of him too - this is the terminal at Maurice Bishop International Airport (whose runway largely prompted the US invasion):
OK, I'll tell you it says "Welcome to Kirani Country".
On the way into the capital, St Georges, we passed along the newly-renamed Kirani James Boulevard. He is a superstar, and deservedly so.

I thought that, just possibly, I might find it in me to get over all my niggling injuries and do some serious running. Of course, it was a big effort to drag myself out of bed to run here:
Morne Rouge beach
 But I forced myself, nearly every morning and most evenings too, also making a tremendous effort to take a dip afterwards.

Beaches are of course perfect for barefoot running, and I could get straight onto Morne Rouge from the hotel so didn't even need to wear anything on my feet to get to the running track. The middle one of those three strips of sand was ideal: the strip being washed by the waves was a bit too sticky and the really dry and soft strip was more of a workout than my leg muscles could cope with. It was not the idea to inflict another injury on myself!

I thought that my footprints might give some interesting and useful information about my form. Looking at the photos, I'm not convinced - perhaps I am landing more heavily on my left side than the right, but apart from that I don't know what to take from them. Maybe an expert will be able to interpret them.

 I also put in a bit of hill work (not much of that on a beach, usually) and went over to the famous Grand Anse beach which the guide books say is 2 miles long. Perhaps they got that from US military intelligence, which was notoriously lacking in 1983, when Grand Anse was used for some of the landings, or perhaps it's just that Garmin can't be relied upon too much - though the laps seem pretty consistent.

Funnily enough, no-one I saw while out running (and everyone in Grenada greets everyone they see) tried to draw any sort of comparison between me and their man. I planned to tell them I was aiming to peak in time for Rio - or alternatively that there are about six age groups between him and me.

Naturally, they are particularly proud of him in his home town, Gouyave. The main road is called - yes, you've guessed - Kirani James Street. The signs have a rather improvised feel to them.
The running, and the soft surface, and my new Travel Stick massage stick, all served to loosen things up, and any niggling pains were dealt with most effectively by the application of a preparation made from Grenada's most famous product, and sold under the predictable but neat trade name NUT MED, which really works. 

Unfortunately, a week of decent mileage has made me think that I might be able to get round the Abingdon Marathon, which up to then had seemed utterly hopeless. It might however be another story in the English autumn. I will essay a long run or two over the weekend and review the situation then.

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