Somewhere in space floats a piece I wrote many years ago. It mused away upon the subject of knowing when one has attained his/her peak. My best example was the Cuban high-jumper Javier Sotomayor. In 1993, in Salamanca, Spain, Sotomayor broke the world high-jump record, setting a new mark of 2.45m (8ft ½in for you ‘Muricans). Here he is, 27 years ago.
That record still stands. No one has seriously threatened it.
My question is, as the bar wobbled and settled, the crowd erupting, did Sotomayor know, in his heart, that he had reached the limit of his powers? Or did he believe that the next day, or the next week, he would break the record again?
Sir Roger Bannister ran 3:59.4 for the mile in 1954, breaking the mythical 4-minute mile barrier. A few months later he ran even faster, then decided to retire to concentrate on medicine. I’m sure he knew he could never again equal those times.
And so, after running a lousy 58.34 for 10k last Sunday, should I do a Bannister and pack in the running? Or at least the racing? Having just turned 67, and with a dodgy knee, I’m not going to improve by much. Another marathon is way out of my reach, and I’m beginning to think a half-marathon might be as well.
I’ve had a good 16 years at it, having started aged 50. I was never a natural runner but I like to think I at least attained ‘respectability’ as regards race times. Three marathon finishes, maybe 20 half-marathons, innumerable shorter races. I’ve loved race days, pinning on a number, chatting with like-minded souls before, during and after races.
Taking up running certainly saved me from sliding into an unhealthy, overweight mid-life. Time to pack it in though. Just go out for enjoyable little spins with the Jersey Joggers. Forget racing.
Nope. I’m not finishing on a lousy 58.34. These new babies, £120 worth, will soon have me flying again 👍 😃