Since I took part in the Amsterdam Marathon last October (finishing in 5 hours and 7 minutes) I have only taken part in one other "competitive" run that hasn't been part of a triathlon. This was a cross country jaunt of 7.4km around my village on Boxing Day. Yes, that's right, Boxing Day. The day after Christmas Day. When you least feel like running through muddy fields in the cold. And as you can probably guess by now there aren't many days where I feel particularly motivated to run through muddy fields in the cold. Even when it's warm, with a cooling breeze and the fields aren't muddy I don't like running through them. But I was new to the village and thought it was expected of me.
Like the true professional I planned to have no more than a couple of glasses of wine with dinner. I probably did have a couple of glasses of wine with dinner but there is a possibility that they were book ended with several beers, a few more glasses of wine and some spirits.
Remarkably I felt OK to run on Boxing Day. The course was an "out and back" which means you race to a certain point and then back again. As a result you will pass those who have already reached the halfway point as they are heading back to the finish. Already heading back were a couple of 10 year old girls who were probably a good 1km ahead of me. Jokingly I said to an older gentleman who was running beside me: "I think I might have had a bit more to drink then they did yesterday." Rather than rolling about the floor, holding his sides in hysterical laughter, which was the reaction I was expecting he snapped: "Well that wasn't very sensible was it?!" Fortunately I didn't suffer any ill effects (well, no more than normal) during the race and finished in just over 45 minutes. Here I am checking the time to make sure I haven't missed Boxing Day pub opening times.
Obviously consuming vast amounts of alcohol the day before any form of exercise isn't, to quote my friend, "very sensible." It's certainly not the way I would prepare the day before a race normally. However I am taking part in this race again this Boxing Day so will be the first event where I will be able to directly compare my performance (running not comedy) over two successive years. I am taking it a little bit more seriously this time and as part of my training have entered a couple of 10ks mid November and at the start of December. That way at least I will have a certain level of fitness to counteract the glut of festivities that are bound to occur between the 2nd and 26th December. So will I be staying off the Christmas Day Booze? Well as Oscar Wilde once said: "I can resist everything except temptation."