The storm before the calm





None of these are the right words. It’s classic pre-race jitters, and the right word just slipped from my mind. Stasis? Paralysis? No. It won’t come to me.

Behind me in the office is a bag with enough running gear for a small athletic club, and possibly enough sugar to kill a racehorse. In a side pocket is a pharmacy. The contents will be checked and re-checked numerous times before the day is out.

Concentrating on work today will be a tricky task. Sleep tonight will be a slippery luxury to catch.

Until I am standing there on the start line with a few hundred souls, ready to go at 10am tomorrow morning, that storm will continue to blow through my head.

Between now and then are a myriad possibilities. A raging house fire at 2am that will see me up all night; something more banal, like a relapse into the viral infection that swept the nation over Christmas, or something totally avoidable, like forgetting some small but vital piece of kit, like your runners…

Yes, if there’s one thing pre-race jitters brings on in spades, it’s a large order of apocalypse blended with a dollop of hyperbole.

In the end, after fitful sleep, I will finally make it to Donadea and with any luck (and some of that warehouse of sugar), manage to do 50 kilometres within the cut-off. It will be the longest I have ever run. Before that, the bed-bound body will float belly-up on a river of treacle and ooze downstream only to drift for aeons in the Doldrums of Delirium before washing up on a miasmic shore of gel wrappers and banana skins before ultimately sinking into deep, deep dreams where my legs turn into rubber chickens and then fall off. That would be about normal for a pre-race hallucination.

Lethargy? Torpor? Nope. Still not right…

Even if I don’t make it tomorrow, that’s okay. We’ll give it a right good go, anyway.

Be sure of one thing: if you’re going to wear a fire station mop head as a wig for the laugh, make sure it’s a new one…

8 thoughts on “The storm before the calm

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