After a couple of days of lying around on a sunlouger by the pool (very pleasant) and dwelling on the races ahead (not so pleasant) the wheels finally began to grind into motion. Yesterday was a busy day - by the standards of the life of luxury I've rapidly become accustomed to - at the Coral Beach Resort. We had registration in the morning, a briefing at lunchtime and then at 3pm the first race of the week, the 6K time trial.
With nothing like the dramatic scenery of the days to come, the 6K is just a chance to get warmed up, used to running in the heat - and to check out the competition. In 2009 I'd felt chuffed with my 9 minute/mile pace in the 6K, which would put me in the main pack of most of the big city races I'd done back in the UK. In Cyprus that showing put me in position 180, out of 190 runners. Ouch.
This year I was much more realistic, especially considering how far my running's gone downhill. But I hoped that with an influx of 250 Dutch PriceWaterhouseCoopers staffers, doubling the size of the race, I'd at least have more company at the back. It definitely felt like hard work; not as relaxed or controlled as I'd hoped. It is very distracting to be regularly overtaken for half an hour, but I fixed on a girl ahead and stuck with her.
With first race out of the way and my legs still mercifully free of the achey hobble that marks out Challenge runners in the hotel, I sould have had a relaxing evening but I couldn't stop fretting about the 11K hill run. It had been by far my least favourite race last time, a total shock to the system for someone used to flat road races. This time, I'm slower - but wiser.
Pace: 10:07 m/m