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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham News and Links for Thursday, December 14

Building character

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Spain v England: Final - FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Photo by Richard Callis/MB Media/Getty Images

good morning! I hope you’ve all enjoyed your Hannukah —-


On Sunday your hoddler-in-chief ran a race for the first time since the 2022 Marine Corps Marathon.

A few months ago I hoddled about getting back in the running groove, and that that the desire to potentially run in another marathon began burning again.

I decided to put that to the test on Sunday with a 15K (9.3 miles) as a sort of prepatory run before I begin training for a half marathon next year.

Fitzie’s official result:

Net time: 1:07.53

Pace: 7:17.00/mile

Position: 43 / 700

Honestly, I don’t think the time tells the full story.

First - there were slower runners who lined up ahead of me at the start. They should’ve known better because, by starting earlier, they create a bottleneck and make others run slower. That explains my slow first mile.

Second - Races are usually longer than they actually are. This is because a race is measured by the least amount of distance it takes to reach that distance. Your HIC actually ran 9.42 miles (7:12.00/mile pace).

Fitzie’s splits: 7:28, 7:02, 7:01, 7:15, 7:16, 7:13, 7:07, 7:09, 7:17

The final mile is where it began to pour down - it was miserable. Miles 2-3 I tried keeping pace with another runner, realised I couldn’t keep up with him and let him go.

I wanted to push myself a little bit more during this run, and I did. I’m not thrilled by my time, honestly. But, hey, it also poured during the race and that’s bound to slow anyone down. Soon as it began raining I more or less accepted my fate.

What a lot of people don’t realise about running is the camraderie that is built among runners during the race itself. I was with a small group for a large chunk of the race before catching up to another runner.

That runner and I ended up befriending each other and ran together for the final four miles. He told me he probably would’ve slowed down if it weren’t for me. I told him he had pushed me also.

After crossing the finish line two others approached me. The first had run behind me for three miles. I was kind of annoyed because I was doing all the hard work while he got the benefts of me breaking the draft. He eventually couldn’t keep up.

But after - he thanked me. And said he wouldn’t have run that hard without me. Which, of course, led me to reconsider my frustration. Yes, I was annoyed that he wouldn’t lead, but I knew he also couldn’t and I sure as heck wouldn’t slow down.

The second called for me soon as we crossed the finish line. She, too, thanked me for pushing the pace, because it pushed her. All I said was “great job” but during a good stretch of that run (miles 2-5) I either ran next to her just in front of her. And everytime I heard her footsteps come near me, I’d run a little bit harder.

These are the things you need to get through a race, especially one that’s a little bit longer, that has poor weather and one that has no crowds and is sparsed out.

It’s about building character. About getting stronger. About making friends and pushing each other.

That’s the weird thing about running and racing. In so many sports you compete against each other. For 99% of runners, we’re running against ourselves. And we rely on each other during the race. To build each other up, to push each other to heights we probably cannot achieve on our own.

I’m not thrilled with my time. I might be able to keep up that pace for 13.1 miles, but defnitely not 26.2. Still, Sunday’s run was a good result in horrific weather.

It’s a good stepping stone. Here’s to 2024.

Fitzie’s track of the day: Don’t Wanna, by HAIM

And now for your links:

The Athletic ($$): Pape Matar Sarr already making Tottenham tick

The BBC with a long read on the rise of Aitana Bonmati