Revenge of the Bok

Early on Thursday morning we experienced tremors which gently shook our neighbourhood from its slumber, the source being a deep V8 throb which heralded the arrival of my friend Nick coming quietly down the road. We’d been wrapped up against the November cold for days, but Nick casually stepped out of his car in shorts and a t-shirt as if it were a summer’s day.

I had sought a coffee with Nick with a view to bringing some of my MBA students to hear about his approach to market entry and the challenges that he has experienced, but the reply I received was ‘no run, no coffee’ so I had to dust off my running legs and go hunting for my shoes. So far this year I had run only six times, the last time with Daren at the beginning of September, so I climbed aboard the machine last week for a couple of ten-minute miles to remind myself where to put my feet, and what kind of pain I might experience afterwards.

Despite Nick’s assurances I took no chances on the temperature, donning longs, a jacket, hat & gloves… though I came to realise that his analysis was correct. Part of the reason for this was the ferocious pace that he set from the start and I was gasping for breath before we got to the start of the mud.

Nick’s pseudonym is the Bok and if you’ve ever seen a springbok running, then you’ll know that it bounces effortlessly along. This is exactly how Nick runs. When I used to run 20 or 30 miles a week I was able to tag along despite his pace being uncomfortable. Having run less than 50 miles this year I stood no chance and he eventually backed off what he thought was already idling along rather than run the circuit alone.

Whilst my lungs were desperately searching for sufficient oxygen to move my muscles, he reminded me that I used to play a rotten trick on him. His heart rate monitor would give an audible beep to alert him to the fact that his heart was reaching its upper working limit. Despite already running at an uncomfortable pace, I would take this as a signal to push ahead a little faster. Being hyper-competitive, Nick would dig deep and go with the charge rather than let me get away.

I actually find it remarkable that I was ever fit enough to be able to keep up with him, let alone press ahead in those moments! Although it was a fun trick, I remember a personal trainer doing something similar to me in order to help me push my aerobic limits, so did I actually think that it would be good for Nick… although I completely understand why he wants to return the, er, favour! As it was I needed to pause to recover on several occasions, with Nick waiting graciously each time for his geriatric companion to catch his breath.

Though damp (Nick called it soggy, though he might have been referring to my pace), the morning was warm enough for shorts & a t-shirt and we had a super-lovely run around a very muddy circuit.

There is a slight dispute at Strava as to how far our run was and how long it took us… Nick’s Strava claimed 5.4 miles in 53 minutes, an average of 6.11mph, whilst my Strava claimed 5.8 miles in 54 minutes, an average of 6.44mph. I’m wondering if Strava factors in the frequency of runs and creates a more encouraging result for those people who had to work harder, or have not run for a while.

After showers & breakfast Nick’s V8 briefly shook the whole town as he blipped the throttle for me on exit… music to my ears!

Postscript. As I sit here writing, three days after the fact, my legs are only just vaguely starting to work as they should, rather than like unbending stilts. However the pain has been positive and I even managed to get some potential dates for a talk to my MBA students.  So thanks to the run, the deep conversation and the ear-candy, I still have a big smile on my face 🙂