I will measure out my Christmas in selection boxes and tins of biscuits. Yes, after a year of eating sensibly I’ll be treating myself with great gusto – and there’ll be none of this false politeness of “Oh, I couldn’t” and “Oh, go on, then”.
However, for my next race in my Christmas racing season, and my last race of the year, I’m not feeling quite as gung-ho.
The Aware Christmas Run is on in Dublin this Saturday morning. It comes in 5K and 10K flavours – last year I did the shorter race and this year I’ll do the longer one. But this week my legs have felt tired and heavy.
Last Saturday’s personal best run at the Donore Harriers Jingle Bells 5K has something to do with it. I gave that 5K a good hard effort and was well rewarded, but I still have that race in my legs.
On top of that, post-marathon I’ve been trying to get back into a substantive running routine. During November I eased my way back into double-digit and twentysomething weekly mileage, and now in December I’m aiming to run at least 30 miles every week. Races apart, my running has been deliberately slow and light – such is my effort to guarantee relaxing runs that I don’t even wear a watch.
But last Saturday’s 5K was a great opportunity to blast around a course and savour the feeling of battle fever in my veins. And I’m sure that, come Saturday morning or even Friday night, I’ll have my game face on again.
For one thing, Saturday’s race is in the Phoenix Park again – this time, on what is now the usual race circuit in the north-west corner, with the Furze Road as its epicentre. God, I love running in the Phoenix Park.
Also, at last year’s Aware Christmas Run I had a great day. Despite squally crosswinds I got in a good hard run for a time of 21:28. The event was as well-organised as any club race – a 5K and 10K on the same morning and course but with both races staged smoothly, without the congestion or confusion of some other double-event races.
And if you’re feeling charitable, then you’ll be glad to know that the event is in aid of Aware, an Irish organisation that supports people with depression and mental health issues.
But enough about the charity and do-goodery – let’s focus on the rock-hard running!
The course for the Aware Christmas Run is nicely challenging. It starts up Chesterfield Avenue, and if the day is windy then you’ll be exposed to some stiff gusts. You’ll get some shelter on kilometre 2 and downhill relief on kilometre 3 – but the last two kilometres are mostly uphill.
But at least you can look forward to that glorious finishing run-in on the Furze Road. Unless, of course, you’re doing the 10K, in which case you’ll have to go around again before you unleash your finishing sprint.
Far be it from me to be sandbagging before a race, but the combination of heavy legs, strong winds and a tough course means that I’d be doing very well to sneak inside my 10K PB of 41:59. A respectable show and a time in the 42 minutes would do me nicely.
And with all that hard running, I’ll be set up for a Christmas of relaxing and restoring lost calories.