I’ve always wondered what a pulled hamstring feels like. All my life I’ve been reading about footballers and athletes in particular, highly-trained creatures, succumbing to a hamstring injury which keeps them out of action often for several weeks, depending on severity. Ryan Giggs and Michael Owen are examples of world-class footballers who have spent as much time on the physio’s table as the pitch whilst accepting their eye-watering salaries.
And, in my 61st year, having played most sports under the sun, I’d never been on the end of such an injury. Until this morning.
One of my greatest pleasures is in coaching the Jersey Spartan AC Minis, children aged 8-11. This morning on (Alleluia!) a fine day we’d had a good session of hurdles and high jump. Then we split the young athletes into teams of four for a sprint relay to finish off the morning. But, if the number of children don’t divide by four, grown-ups have to be commandeered to make up the teams.
That was how I ended up anchoring Team Eight, hoping to bring us home victorious in Usain Bolt style.
The first race went fine, but we were fourth. With a few minutes to spare I ordered a re-race. This time I put my faith in my incoming runner, a commandeered parent. I set off, extended my hand behind me and ‘plop’ in went the baton, a perfect hand-off.
I was in second place but confident I could overtake the little girl in the lead. But heck, she wasn’t giving in that easily.
And then it happened. With yards to go I made my final effort then – bang – it was like I’d been shot in the leg. I staggered across the line, high-fived the victor, and wondered if recovery is possible before the Spring 10k race next Sunday 😦