Running column: Fear of missing out has a lot to answer for, says Mark Armstrong
Run Anglia editor Mark Armstrong ran Run Norwich 2019... but perhaps he shouldn't have
Perish the thought, but If I could only run one event each year it would be Run Norwich.
Sunday once again demonstrated that for a 10K race, Run Norwich really does set the standard in terms of a mass participation event.
It does so much good for our fine city and very little excites me more than the walk towards the start line as you feel that crackle of excitement from the thousands of runners and spectators all ready to play their part.
Each year it feels like it recruits more and more people looking to get active and do something positive, which is what a lot of the Norfolk running scene is all about.
However, this year, in the days leading up to the event, I hadn't been feeling quite right.
Thankfully, the soreness around my knee had alleviated to a level where it wasn't concerning me much any more but I felt lethargic.
I put it down to needing a bit of a break from the normal (rather intense) daily routine that I've created over the past few months as I try to balance family, work and training demands.
To use one of Neil Featherby's analogies though I just needed to go to my energy bank one more time before taking a break and steadily building my sessions back up again for an event later this year.
I didn't know how much cash I still had in there… but I found out on Sunday that my account was overdrawn!
I decided to start what I thought was at a fairly conservative seven-minute mile pace for the first three miles before looking to maintain or quicken slightly for the remainder of the race.
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Whilst I managed to hit that pace for the first three miles I knew it had taken more out of me than it should have in normal circumstances.
Whatever else my body was fighting at the time it didn't also need me to be calling upon what little reserves I had to run instead of fighting an infection.
I didn't panic and decided to shelve any thoughts of perhaps setting a new 10K PB. I tried to keep a steady pace, which I just about managed, thanks in large part to the vocal crowds, particularly in the last mile when you call upon whatever help you can get!
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It never gets any easier and after talking to both winners Logan Smith and Iona Lake earlier this week, I was glad to hear that even athletes of their calibre were feeling it up through Tombland and Castle Meadow!
I crossed the finish line in 44:41 but in that moment it wasn't important to me, I was just pretty glad it was done.
Twenty-four hours after crossing the finish line I came down with a fever and a visit to the doctor's confirmed that I had a viral infection… all of which probably hadn't been helped by running 10K on a fairly demanding course.
I know I shouldn't have run but the fear of missing out has a lot to answer for.
One of the earliest interviews I did for Run Anglia was with Chris Merrylees about his experience at the Brighton Marathon when he collapsed after trying to run despite feeling unwell in the days leading up to the event.
It scared me - Chris is far fitter and a much faster runner than I could ever wish to be and I've no doubt that if my race had been much further than 10K on Sunday then I might have been in more trouble.
Sunday exposed a little naivety in my approach to running and reminded me of the fact that we've all only got one body yet there's always another race.
No race is worth making yourself ill over… even Run Norwich.