On Christmas Eve.

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So Christmas eve didn’t turn out to be as lonely as I expected. Found out that one of the other decathletes was staying over in Loughborough these few days as well so I invited him over for dinner.

Over the years I’ve realise that decathletes are really a special breed of men, each one with an amazing story, because to be willing to put yourself through this day after day requires you to believe in something more than just the chance of momentary glory.

Sparta’s from Estonia, he used to be a really good long jumper but like myself was drafted into the army. He didn’t have an easy time in there and as a result lost quite a bit of his athletic ability. But he decided to give his dream a shot and despite coming from a very modest background, he figured a way out to earn enough to pay the fees and expenses to come over from Estonia to study in Loughborough and become a decathlete. He’s staying in Loughborough for Christmas as flights back home to Estonia is a lot cheaper after this weekend.

He’s been here for 2 years now, and though he has made much more progress than me, he’s also beginning to lose sight of the dream. Having to work long hours as a chef to pay the bills and balance out his school work is certainly taking a toll on his training.

We had our dinner and went back to the track to take a walk around (even though it was closed).

It’s funny how the same place looked and felt so different at night when no one is around.

We talked about our different approaches to the decathlon and the 400m. Sparta’s strategy is to go at a relaxed pace along with the rest in the race until the 200m mark, where he will then kick earlier than the rest because he knows at 300m he’ll be in more pain than the rest but he can press through. He’s not afraid of pain and knows that he can press harder than the competition because as he puts it ‘the others are pussies.’

For myself I run the first 50 m hard, and then hang on for dear life. When the blood acidity hits me at 200m, I know I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and I’ll make it to the end because I’ll never quit. I proved that to myself this year at Woodford when I pulled my hamstring at 80m but kept going round to finish in 59.1s.

And I guess that just pretty much sums up our approach to life doesn’t it?

We both used to want it bad though, bad enough to rise above our circumstances to get here. I wonder how come now we’ve started to wane and not want it bad enough to rise above our limitations once again and become what we set out to be.

I’m tired I must admit.

It’s been a long while running and it hasn’t been easy going through day after day knowing that you’re still so far behind.

But at the end of the day, the question still remains.

How bad do I want it?

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