The greedy runner


I have been greedy. Not food greedy. Although that isn’t strictly true. I blame my wife; she didn’t need to make a cake today. I mean running greedy. Time greedy. Seven days of running before today had featured, by day and in order: a nine mile cross country race; 16 miles at a fair pace; five easy miles; a tough intervals session involving two eight-minute repeats and a seemingly endless succession of one-minute sprints; 10 miles at near-6.30 pace; merciful rest; then – on day seven – 15 miles blighted by wind, rain and tiredness. What would day eight bring? A personal best parkrun, I decided. That would mean anything below 16.43.

I set off around not-as-flat-as-you-think-when-you’re-running-flat-out Dulwich Park at near-17 minute pace. A mile in, I felt the tiniest of niggles in my left hip flexor. I slowed, not dramatically, not suddenly, not spectacularly, just inexorably. Each mile was longer than the last. I finished in 17.15, some 31 seconds adrift of my best. I had no right to be disappointed. Instead, I was left to rue my running greed.

There is a reason why greed is one of the seven deadly sins.

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